Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep our immune systems strong. One of the best and easiest ways to stay healthy is through what we eat. Certain foods and nutrients have been shown to help keep your immune system strong and protect against disease. Here, we’ve gathered our list of 25 top immune-boosting foods and nutrients that will help you stay nourished and healthy all year long. Many of them are in your pantry or fridge already, so all you need to do is add them to your daily recipes or drinks. We’ve also included some of our favorite immune-boosting recipes to help get you started on your way to optimal health.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Vitamin C is vital in helping to keep our immune systems strong. Vitamin C is thought to increase our production of white blood cells, which are key to helping us fight infections. Additionally, since our bodies don’t make vitamin C, we need to get it from our food. Most fruits and vegetables will provide your daily dose of vitamin C, but note that heating can diminish nutrient density. It’s best to eat your fruits and veggies raw or steam them lightly to retain their nutritional power.
All citrus fruits
Featured Vitamin C rich recipe: drink your Vitamin C in this easy to make Turmeric Immune Booster Shot.
Super Immunity Boosting Foods
Some foods have been used for centuries to help enhance immunity and prevent illness. Garlic’s immune-supporting benefits come from its heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, alliin, and flavonoids such as quercetin. These compounds exhibit both antibacterial and antiviral activity. Mushrooms, elderberries and honey are high in antioxidants, which can help tame inflammation and protect your body from cell-damaging oxidative stress due to free radicals. Use these immunity boosters to help flavor your food and enhance your health.
Featured immune-boosting recipe: Ward off nasty colds and infections with these delicious Immune Boosting Elderberry Gummies that the entire family will love!
Healing Spices to Build Immunity
These healing spices taste great, but even better, adding them to your daily routine can help supercharge your health. Spices like turmeric and ginger can help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system, helping to key infections away. Both spices can impact cytokines, which are signaling molecules throughout the body which help inflammation and the immune system to operate as well as possible. Add cinnamon to your coffee and ginger or turmeric to your soups or chicken recipes for a flavorful health boost.
Featured Immune-Boosting Recipe with Healing Spices: Make yourself a cup of this antioxidant-rich Anti-Inflammatory Tea .
Zinc is a gatekeeper of your immune system and is involved in hundreds of reactions throughout the body. Not having enough zinc in our diets can increase our susceptibility to influenza and pneumonia. And zinc deficiency is especially common in older adults as well as those eating a plant-based diet. So make sure to get your daily dose of zinc by regularly eating these foods.
Nuts and seeds
Featured zinc-rich recipe: this powerhouse Almond and Pumpkin Seed Quinoa Breakfast Brittle is loaded with zinc.
Foods with Probiotics
Probiotic foods can help to promote balance between good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract, providing a boost to the immune system and protection against infection. The immune system is incredibly complex and 70% of it is in direct contact with the digestive tract. A portion of it is a specialized immune tissue called “Gastric Associated Lymphoid Tissue.” When you retain balance in the digestive tract through the use of probiotic foods, a large portion of the immune system has the ability to have a robust response when necessary.
Featured probiotic-rich recipe: get your daily dose of probiotics with this homemade kimchi recipe.
It’s important to stay hydrated both to avoid illness and when you are feeling under the weather. In fact, when we are fighting illness, our bodies’ fluid requirements increase. Try to up your liquid intake by sipping on some of these healing drinks.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Featured Immune Boosting Recipe: This Supercharged Collagen Bone Broth is healing goodness in a cup.
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