Our immune system helps us maintain our health, and keeps us strong, fighting off illness and infection. When our immune system encounters a pathogen, it triggers something called an immune response. Our immune system then releases antibodies, which grab onto the pathogens and kill them. By eating certain foods, we can make our immune response super strong. Here are the top foods to keep you in tip-top shape.
Did you know this old school remedy is packed with antioxidants? These nutrients can aid in fighting inflammation and even block some flu viruses according to a couple of lab studies. We’re still getting our flu vaccination, but a cup or two of elderberry juice shouldn’t hurt for added protection.
2. Acai berry
Apart from your everyday berries like raspberry and blueberry, acai contains anthocyanin, which is a health-promoting antioxidant. This fruit tastes delicious in a smoothie bowl or paired with some nut butter and granola.
3. Wheat germ
Wheat germ is filled with B vitamins, zinc, and antioxidants. This part of the wheat seed also has protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Try using it instead of flour in recipes. For instance, you can make a delicious wheat germ based cookie or pancake that the whole family can enjoy.
In some cultures, a common flu remedy is to crack a garlic clove with your back molars and suck the juice out. It’s not the tastiest of remedies, but apparently one of the most effective ones. Raw garlic fights fungi, bacteria, and viruses. And no, garlic powder does not count.
Happy hour just got a whole lot healthier. Order in some oysters for replenished zinc levels. There’s lots of zinc in oysters, which helps the body create white blood cells and heal wounds. These are just a couple of the ways that oysters boost your immune system.
6. Fermented food
From sauerkraut to probiotic yogurts and kefir, fermented food with live and active cultures can reduce the onset of a cold. Make sure to look for added vitamin D in your ingredient label, which will also boost your immune system.
7. Pomegranate juice
Years and years ago, Egyptians used pomegranate to treat infections. Today, research shows that pomegranate extract which can ward off bacteria and many viruses, most famously the flu.
Folate, amongst other things, are one of the incredible nutrients in this superfood. Folate helps your body generate new cells while repairing your DNA. It’s also high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Try to eat it only lightly cooked, or raw. Not a fan of raw spinach? Throw it in your smoothies with fresh fruit – you won’t even taste it.
The saying should go: “a head of broccoli a day keeps the doctor away.” Broccoli protects against damage thanks to high levels o Vitamin C, vitamin A, and glutathione, a potent antioxidant. Sprinkle some cheese on top or add it into a stir fry.
Miso is so versatile in different dishes, and it should definitely be a staple in your kitchen. Miso comes from fermented soybeans and arrives as a salty paste. It can be added to soup, sauces, and proteins. There are lots of valuable bacteria in its probiotics, which help pep up your immune system.
There’s a reason why your tummy always feels settled after a glass of ginger ale. But beyond carbonated beverages, it’s even more effective to grate fresh ginger into your drinks or dishes. It reduces inflammation and has lot s of other healthful benefits, including preventing illness.
12. Sunflower seeds
Nuts are a popular parfait and salad addiction, but seeds are underrated! These humble heroes are packed with vitamin E and flu-fighting antioxidants that fight off those nasty free radicals and improve your immune function.
13. Red bell pepper
Maybe for some reason, you can’t consume the sugar in fruit. In that case, slice up some raw red bell peppers, which will provide you with plenty of vitamins. If you must cook them, roasting and stir-frying retains more nutrients than boiling or steaming them. It also retains more taste, in our personal opinion.
Oily fish are high in omega-3s, or good fats. They can even potentially fight against autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease and arthritis. If you don’t like mackerel, any other oily fish will do, such as trout, sardines, or salmon.
15. Dried tart cherries
It might seem unexpected, but dried tart cherries contain a high amount of antioxidants. They also contain melatonin, which promotes a healthier sleep cycle and hence a stronger immune system. tired people get sick more – just saying! They taste fabulous as is, but you can also stir them into nut butter or a parfait.