It’s that time of the year again, where everyone starts gearing up for winter colds & looks to prep their immune systems for battle. Honestly, 2020 has been quite the year of recognizing our immune systems & what they’re capable of in our opinion. It’s a tool that’s so good at it’s job, that in a perfect scenario, you won’t even know it’s working.
The stronger your immune system, the better off you’ll be when & if you do get sick. And let’s face it. We all make less than perfect decisions when it comes to sleep, nutrition & fitness…
So – what can we do to give our bodies the boost it will need to ward off disease & infection?
One easy & powerful way is through the foods we eat. Overall, we want to focus our efforts on a complete & well rounded lifestyle – avoiding or limiting smoking, stress, alcohol & poor sleep habits & concentrating on nutrient dense foods & exercise.
Immune boosting foods are rich in nutrients, vitamins & antioxidants & your mom’s probably been trying to get them into your diet since you could hold a fork. We’ve rounded up a top ten list of immune boosting foods to give you a leg up this season.
Did you know our bodies don’t produce or store Vitamin C? Vitamin C is known to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, and with such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add in to your daily diet.
Try adding citrus into your smoothies, salads or even juicing with an immune boosting veggie!
Broccoli is loaded with vitamins A, C & E, making it the ACE in your pocket (get it?!). Add in the fiber & antioxidants it packs to make it one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate. Try to keep the nutrients intact with this one though, preferably consuming it raw, and only steaming it if you need to cook it up a bit!
Because ginger helps fight off inflammation, it’s a go at the first signs of illness & it’s often reached for to aid in digestive ailments. Sore throat? Nausea? Give this root a try!
It’s no wonder garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world! It’s delicious & also helps your immune system. It has a germ fighting compound, allicin & has also been noted to possibly help lower cholesterol.
Spinach made our list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C — it’s also packed with tons of antioxidants & beta carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking makes it easier to absorb the vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released.
Can’t stand the sight of green leafy foods?! Throw it into a smoothie with your favorite fruits!
Vitamin C tends to get all the glory when it comes to talking about boosting our immune systems, but Vitamin E is just as important! Vitamin E is fat-soluable, meaning it needs the presence of fat to be absorbed. You can find loads of Vitamin E in nuts, which are also a great source of healthy fat.
Adults only need about 15 mg of vitamin E each day. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides around 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.
Hello antioxidants! Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant.
In studies, EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved.
Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.
Small but mighty! These seeds contain phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B & most importantly, vitamin E. We know vitamin E is a powerhouse for the immune system, & magnesium aids in restful sleep. Getting good Zzzz’s makes the immune system happy!
Try these seeds out in a homemade granola or on their own for a quick on the go snack.
RED BELL PEPPERS
If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again! Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost 3 times as much vitamin C as a Florida orange. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene.
Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help you maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Stuffed peppers, anyone?!
A summer time must have, & also loaded with potassium, vitamin A & vitamin C. It also contains lycopene, which helps reduce respiratory inflammation. Don’t skip out on the fleshy part of the watermelon! It’s closest to the rind & holds the most nutrients!
The body is designed to keep us healthy when exposed to disease. What we put into our bodies matters & makes a huge difference in the way our bodies are able to perform. Giving your body the fuel it needs to feel good & work hard is the best kind of defense!
PS! We all know that our foods aren’t as nutrient dense as they used to be! Finding supplements that fill the gaps can be helpful. Knowing which vitamins & minerals we’re deficient in can be tricky! Click here to grab your test kit now & get to swabbing! Your custom reports will have all the details you need to plan out your winter wellness routine.
We hope you found some delicious inspiration from our Top Ten Immune Boosting Foods list! Need help supplementing? Let us know in the comments below!