Winter is almost upon us and with the uncertainty of the current Coronavirus pandemic, and the presence of other viruses such as influenza and the common cold, it has never been more important to have a strong and resilient immune system.
There are many factors which affect your immune system, such as obesity, stress, lifestyle, sleep quality, and most importantly, your diet. This article will cover foods you can add to your diet with immune boosting properties.
You can learn more about how you can boost your immune system in my new E-book : Bulletproof Immunity. Click here to get your copy!
- Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are a source of Vitamin C, which is one of the most important vitamins for the immune system, supporting the production of white blood cells and helping protect the body against infection. Vitamin C is also a vital part of the skin’s defence system, acting as an antioxidant and strengthening the skin’s barriers.
Some examples of citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes. Try replacing your morning coffee with a glass of orange juice, or sip on green tea with lemon.
Garlic is a very popular ingredient to cuisines all around the world, but few know of it’s hidden immune boosting properties. Garlic contains anti-viral compounds which support immune cell function. Not to mention it is a healthy, low calorie way to add flavour to meals!
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable, rich in vitamin C, iron, antioxidants and beta carotene, which have been found to help support the immune system by helping to fight infection. To help retain as much nutrients as possible, you should consume spinach raw or lightly cooked. Add it to smoothies, salads and on the side of meals.
Papaya is another excellent source of vitamin C, in fact, a single medium fruit contains twice the recommended daily amount. It also contains a digestive enzyme called papain, which has anti-inflammatory effects.
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds and phytochemicals which help support the immune system. It is also known to ease symptoms of illness, specifically sore throats and nausea. It is also a delicious way to add flavour to sweet and savory foods.
6. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients such as vitamin B-6 and E, magnesium and selenium. Vitamin E is vital for regulating and maintaining immune system function and studies have shown selenium may help fight viral infections. Sprinkle a teaspoon of sunflower seeds on top of your meals for an extra boost!
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables due to it’s nutritional profile. It is abundant in vitamins A, C and E, in addition to antioxidants and fiber. Like spinach, it is best to cook broccoli as little as possible to retain as many nutrients as possible.
For years, turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory to treat many conditions such as arthritis. Studies have also shown it has immune boosting and antiviral properties, as it boosts antibody responses. Add spice and colour to your meals by adding a dash turmeric.
Berries are rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin C making them an excellent healthy snack for those with a sweet tooth. Darker berries such as blueberries, blackberries and black currants are the highest in antioxidants which help fight inflammation. You can eat them on their own, in smoothies and porridge for an extra immune boost.
10. Green Tea
Green tea is packed with flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant, much of which is destroyed during the fermentation process of black tea. This particular type of antioxidant have been shown to enhance immune function. Green tea is also a source of L-theanine, an amino acid which aids in the production of germ and virus-fighting compounds.
Adding these foods to your diet is sure to benefit your overall health, however there is no one magic food and eating a balanced and varied diet is the most important thing for your health. A wholefood plant-based diets is one of the best approaches to nutrition, as it contains no processed or ‘junk’ foods, and is high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, all of which support overall health and immune function.
If you would like a personalized meal plan to boost your immunity or support for transitioning to a plant-based diet, or if you have any comments, you can contact me using the form below.
Also, don’t forget to check out my E-book – Bulletproof Immunity, which goes into more detail about how to boost the immune system, and contains a free nutrition checklist to ensure you are getting everything that you need from your diet. Click here to get your copy!