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Immune Boosting Herbs and Foods To Fight Colds


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.

  • All citrus fruits
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Kiwi 

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.

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. 

  • Cayenne
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric

Zinc-Rich Foods

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.

  • Meats 
  • Shellfish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Lentils

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.

  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Yogurt

Healing Liquids

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
  • Bone Broth
  • Green tea
  • Water

6 Essential Immune Boosting Herbs

By Clair Moore

For our immune systems, this means getting sunshine, plenty of rest, movement, and nutritious food, but we can also give ourselves a boost when we feel like our defenses are down-or better yet, prevent those defenses from becoming weak in the first place! Herbs can play an important role in helping to strengthen and boost our immunity.

Here are the top 6 herbs that I recommend to help keep your immune system strong and ward off colds, flu or other illnesses. Learn about why these herbs help improve your health, when and how to incorporate them to maximize their health benefits:

1. Thyme

Why:  Thyme is a fantastic respiratory antimicrobial.  The respiratory system is a key player in the immune system, and we want to make sure to keep it healthy so that pathogens can’t easily take hold. 

2. Sage

Why:   Sage gives overall support and stimulation to both the immune and respiratory systems, but it’s also one of my very favorite nervines.  This means it’s a support to the nervous system, helping take us from “fight or flight” and into “rest and digest.”

3. Garlic

Why: Yet another strong antimicrobial herb, garlic is also effective against viruses, bacteria, and fungi.  The components in garlic also stimulate liver function, aiding the body in the breakdown and clearance of waste products.

4. Staghorn Sumac

Why:  You may not have heard of sumac so you might be surprised to learn that sumac is one of these lovely plants you always see growing on the side of the highway- it looks like a big tall tree with lots of red berry cones on it. You should also be able to find it in dried form at your local health food grocer.

5. Ashwagandha

WhyAshwagandha is mostly an adaptogen– this means it helps the body with overall adrenal and endocrine support, helping us deal with stressors.  Stress comes in many forms, including rush hour traffic, a scary movie, sugar, lack of sleep, or a cough and runny nose!  Ashwagandha helps us deal with all of this, while relaxing tension and agitation at the same time.

6. Reishi

Why: Reishi mushrooms are really helpful in rebuilding chronically sick or exhausted bodies.  Reishi can help stimulate immune responses, and is a tonifying herb for our nervous systems. Additionally,  reishi helps soothe and build up weakened nerve function, and restores adrenal function. 

Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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