The Spar Natural Team at Hillcrest Kwikspar get many questions around Foods that boost our immune systems. I guess these days of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are concerned about staying healthy and maintaining an optimal immune system. Doing so can benefit your body and boost your defenses against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.
Your immune system creates, stores, and distributes the white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses that enter your body, especially during cold and flu season. With little change in your diet and routine, you can ensure that your immune system is strong enough to protect you against the virus infection.
Eating the right foods boosts your immunity — particularly plants that are intensely flavored (herbs and spices) and/or intensely colored. These plant foods are loaded with antioxidants and other immune-boosting micronutrients like vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, Vitamin D, and Zinc, nutrients widely known for keeping infection at bay.
We have created a list of our favorites that could be worth considering that are known to to help boost your immunity.
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
Colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that protect against free radicals. Free radicals can damage DNA and other cell components. Fruits and vegetables in a wide array of colors provide the best mix of protective antioxidants to boost overall health and immunity.
Spinach made our list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Purple or Red Cabbage
Red cabbage contains ever-so-important vitamin C, which is a crucial antioxidant needed in order for our bodies to have strong immune systems. It stimulates the activity of white blood cells, forming the first line of defense for the immune system. As one of the top vitamin C foods on the planet, red cabbage is a major immune system booster.
It is rich in Beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body.
Oranges aren’t the only food packed with Vitamin C. Red bell peppers are a strong contender, and in fact, contain twice as much Vitamin C as citrus fruits.
Eating raw garlic might sound gross, but it’ll kick your immune system into gear, that’s because the main active compound in garlic, is thought to improve your immune cells’ ability to fight off colds and the flu. Plus, garlic also seems to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties that may help fight bacterial and viral infections.
Ginger is known to contain many very beneficial components with enhancing effects on respiratory ailments, health in general, and the immune system, thereby leading to a stronger resistance to infections and an enhanced response to diseases. It also has a wonderful spicy aroma that opens up your nasal passages and lungs.
Everyone knows that lemons and other citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, among many other nutrients. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health because your body doesn’t produce or store it.
The darker the berry the better so go for blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries. They not only taste great but they are also a great source of flavonols which are highly effective antioxidants that can help reduce damage to cells and boost your immune system.
Nuts are high in Vitamin E that act as a powerful antioxidant for helping the body fight off infection. Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and almonds contain a great amount of Vitamin E and also Zinc which is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders.
Herbs and Spices
Cinnamon and turmeric
Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties and helps your body fight infections, repair tissue damage, and help lower your risk of disease.
The medicinal properties in turmeric may be able to boost the immune system, even in people with immune disorders.
It is jam-packed with lauric acid, which is a natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. It is known to reduce candida, fight bacteria, and create a hostile environment for viruses. Coconut oil also boosts an already weakened immune system by improving white blood cell counts, which helps the body directly fight viruses.
Studies have shown that a daily dose of raw honey raises levels of health-promoting antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help block free radicals in the body that cause disease.
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
There are a number of ways apple cider vinegar helps boost your immune system. Firstly, as it is fermented, it contains beneficial bacteria and prebiotics that can have a positive impact on immune health. Secondly, it has antibacterial properties that can fight off the pathogens wreaking havoc in your body.
Bone broth contains a high concentration of minerals and is easy for the body to absorb, can help heal and seal the gut, and also has anti-inflammatory properties to boost immune system. It’s also considered a magical elixir that can cure leaky gut — and help with all manners of ailments from arthritis to a weak immune system. It’s better to get both the beef and the chicken broth because you’re going to be able to use them in so many things including soups. Chicken soup is one of the most exceptional treats that all of us enjoy if we do even think that we might be getting sick.
Salmon or Tuna
Vitamin B6 is vital in supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. Vitamin B6-rich foods include chicken and cold water fish such as salmon and tuna.
Zinc is present in every cell and is especially important for the development and function of immune cells. Animal sources of zinc such as chicken are better absorbed than plant ones such as legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans) and wholegrains (oat, quinoa, brown rice).
Protein is important in helping your immune system function properly and eggs are a good way to get it. They’re easy to hard-boil and peel or for some extra flavor, add salsa and other unexpected ingredients that go great with eggs.
Studies have shown that the probiotics in fermented foods help to improve the body’s immune response, according to the Mayo Clinic. It also contains zinc, Vitamin A, calcium, potassium and carbohydrates to fuel your body and help you recover.
Gut health coincides directly with the immune system. Thus, it’s important we include foods in our diet that help support the micro biome, too. These foods can range from a variety of options, including probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kimchee.
If there is any good that could come out the stage times we now live in, it is that we go back to the basic things in life. The us the basics are family and health living. See you in store soon. Team Spar Natural at Hillcrest Kwikspar