Add these ten foods to your diet right now to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of COVID!
Of course, you’ve heard of your immune system, and you know that it is important to your health and overall wellness. But how much do you know about it?
Your immune system works to root out germs and other invaders that do not belong in your body. It is your body’s first line of defense against sickness and disease. Therefore, the stronger your immune system is, the better equipped you are to fight off bacteria, pathogens, and viruses like COVID-19.
In these trying times, a healthy immune system is more important than ever. Here are ten foods that are known to boost your immune system.
- Citrus Fruits
Most people know that vitamin C is great to prevent or lessen the severity of colds. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from; it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
- Red bell peppers
While most people think of the aforementioned citrus fruits for a boost of vitamin C, you may be surprised to find that they are not the only source you will find in the produce aisle. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost three times as much vitamin C as a Florida orange. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate. The key to keeping all of its nutrients intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.
Bad breath aside, garlic can give your immune system a lift. Many ancient civilizations recognized garlic for its powerful disease-fighting properties. Current research has shown that garlic may also slow down hardening of the arteries, and there is also evidence that it helps lower blood pressure. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Ginger is another food that has long been known for its medicinal qualities. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may help with nausea as well. According to researchers, ginger may also decrease chronic pain and has been shown in some studies to lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
Spinach, like most leafy vegetables, is loaded with antioxidants. It also is packed with vitamin C, which gives it double duty as an immune-booster. Like broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients.
Yogurt is a powerful probiotic, which means it helps to balance your gut microbiome, which in turn leads to a stronger immune system. Look for yogurts that have the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.
Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that can be key to a healthy immune system.
Turmeric, the Indian spice found in curry, can also spice up your immune system. Used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries, current research shows that it is the high concentrations of curcumin — which gives turmeric its distinctive yellow color – also provide it joint health and immune system boosting properties.
- Green tea
Green tea is packed with flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants. Green tea’s immune-boosting power really resides in its high level of a particular flavonoid known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. In studies, EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function.