Your immune system is your first line of defense against germs that could make you ill, so nourishing it with nutritious foods throughout the year will keep your immune system strong and help ensure you remain healthy during flu season and beyond.
Garlic, ginger and turmeric are three spices known to boost immunity. Try including them in soups or sauces or mixing them into smoothies along with disease-fighting ingredients like blueberries for optimal immune system support.
Garlic is an essential ingredient in many chefs’ kitchens and acts as a natural immune booster. Its sulfur compounds – particularly allicin – strengthen white blood cell responses against germs, making it harder for pathogens to take hold.
Poultry such as chicken contains high concentrations of vitamin B-6, an essential nutrient needed to form healthy red blood cells and support lymphatic drainage. Eggs, fortified cereal, chickpeas (traditional hummus) and bananas also offer ample amounts of this important nutrient.
Yogurt with active cultures provides an abundance of probiotics – essential components of an immune system – which are especially good for gut health. Look for unsweetened varieties and consider adding fruits such as strawberries or other low-sugar fruits to the mix for maximum benefit.
2. Vitamin B-6
No food can completely prevent illness during a pandemic, but it’s crucial to incorporate immune-enhancing foods into the diet. Washing hands and social distancing are also important steps, while healthy eating habits also play a significant role.
Turmeric, berries, kefir and oily fish all contain vitamins that support immunity and help fight infections. Hydrate your cells more easily with lemon, watermelon, cucumber or mint-infused water as a great hydratant option!
Fruit and vegetable antioxidants can provide important benefits to our immune systems. Consume an array of colorful produce like sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, broccoli and kale as a diet rich in sulforaphane antioxidants which boost and regulate your immunity system.
Kaela Ketcham from OSF HealthCare’s clinical dietitian team emphasizes how beta-carotene can support our immune systems through conversion to vitamin A.(2)
Provitamin A carotenoid supplements may improve eyesight, immune function and lung function, while helping lower the risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome and diabetes; premature aging and skin diseases.
Beta-carotene can be found in yellow, orange and red foods such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale; additional sources include berries, tomatoes, red bell peppers and citrus fruits. Zinc is another important nutrient for the immune system that can be obtained through meats, fish poultry eggs nuts seeds and dairy products; its neutralization of free radicals acts as an antioxidant protecting cells against damage.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an integral component of strengthening our immune systems. For maximum effectiveness, add foods high in vitamin E such as almonds, sunflower seeds and kale to your diet; they’re all great sources of this vital nutrient!
People may turn to orange juice when feeling under the weather for good reason: vitamin C has been proven to aid with increasing white blood cells and supporting their development. Other sources of Vitamin C include grapefruits, kiwis, strawberries, spinach and broccoli.
Green tea can provide another easy and tasty way to supplement your immune-enhancing nutrition with this essential nutrient, thanks to epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an abundant flavonoid that’s packed full of anti-inflammatories that stimulate certain immune cells. You can make a cup at home or find one enriched with this nutrient from various brands on the market.
Your immune system relies on certain key nutrients like protein, vitamin A, C and E, zinc and iron in order to function effectively and help your body fight infections. Choose whole food options rich in these vital elements in order to boost its performance and keep you protected against infections.
Protein can be found in poultry, beans and nuts such as sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts and pecans – try making your own nut butter as an energizing snack or adding them to salads and other recipes! Yogur contains probiotics which support gut health – this plays an essential role in immunity; plain, unsweetened yogurt with minimal added sugar is optimal and add berries for an additional source of vitamin C and antioxidants! Ensure to drink enough water as this enables lymph production that carries white blood cells around your body!