10 Foods That Fuel Your Immune System
Coughing, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue, fever, and taking sick days off work are an all too familiar battle for most households throughout the winter months. Fortunately, studies show fueling your body with foods that have immune-boosting properties may help your natural defenses crank into high gear.
If you're looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, you can look to nature’s very own ‘farmacy’ by simply visiting your local grocer or farmer’s market.
Try adding some of these foods to your next shopping trip to power up your immune system:
Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Because your body doesn't produce or store vitamin C, you need a daily dose for ongoing health. All citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, and with such a variety to choose from, it's easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal - or glass of water!
Kiwi: Kiwis are nutrient-dense and full of vitamin C. In fact, just 1 cup of kiwi provides about 273 percent of your daily recommended value. And forget the tedious peeling - that skin is fiber-rich! You can wipe its fuzz off with a cloth or paper towel and sink your teeth into one just like you would a fresh, juicy peach.
Papaya: Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. Papayas have decent amounts of potassium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
Red Bell Peppers: Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene which can help keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Broccoli: Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table.
Garlic: Garlic’s immune-boosting properties come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Even early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Soak garlic in local raw honey, and when you need a cough or sore throat remedy, blend the garlic-honey mixture with fresh lemon juice or organic apple cider vinegar, and sip.
Mushrooms: (shiitake, matsutake, reishi, chaga, etc.) have a long history of helping support the immune system. Modern science has shown that mushrooms contain substances called beta-glucans that can enhance immune system function.
Raw Almonds: When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with vitamin E and also have healthy fats.
Ginger: Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may also help decrease nausea.
Green Tea: Green tea is packed with flavonoids, particularity epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to enhance immune function. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
Which foods on this list are your favorites? Comment below!
Oh, and we can’t forget - good sleep, quality supplementation, stress reduction, exercise, and rest are all key players in staying well, too.
Wishing you and your immune system resilience in the winter months ahead!