In 2022, it's effortless to turn to pharmaceuticals for illnesses, diseases, and any aches and pains we have. However, a fantastic diet can work just as effectively in building a solid defense against these illnesses and significantly lessening symptom severity.
Although none of these super foods we discuss can prevent or cure any illnesses, they play a huge role in strengthening our immune systems to fight against them, making infection less likely to knock you down. So let's dive in and discover the top immune system-boosting foods.
Think of any healthy diet, and broccoli comes to mind. The two have become synonymous, and for good reason. Broccoli is an incredible food for the immune system as it includes Vitamin A, C, and E. All essential vitamins for a healthy immune system.
However, many fool themselves into thinking broccoli is more beneficial than it is. This is primarily due to the way we cook it. Broccoli loses much of its nutritional value when it's cooked, so if you fry it on high heat, for example, then throw a load of salt and oil over it, you'll gain little to no benefits. Instead, eat broccoli raw or lightly steam it. This is the best way to achieve maximum nutritional goodness.
Ginger is another food that goes hand in hand with health and something we all turn to when we get sick. It's well-known that ginger can decrease inflammation and help reduce the effects of a sore throat. A slice of ginger alongside some lemon in green tea can work wonders for your throat during the flu.
Spinach is an excellent leafy green super-rich in Vitamin C, A, and antioxidants. Both of which boost the immune system and promote fighting infection. Like broccoli, eating spinach raw or cooking it as little as possible is the best way to maximize your nutritional benefit.
Although a handful of leafy green spinach leaves tossed into a salad is the best way to consume it from a health perspective, lightly cooking spinach makes it easier for our bodies to absorb Vitamin A.
This strikingly yellow spice is a superfood rich in anti-inflammatory properties. You'll already know the unmistakable color as it is commonly used in curries. Due to its high concentration of Curcumin, which gives Turmeric its distinct color, this spice can help the immune system and reduce the pain of aching muscles.
It should come as little to no surprise that green tea is fantastic for battling an infection. Green tea contains a flavonoid, epigallocatechin-gallate, an antioxidant type known as EGCG. This antioxidant has been shown to enhance our immune system.
Papaya contains many Vitamin A, C, and E, some of the main nutrients needed for a healthy, well-functioning immune system. Papaya also includes Papain, which is a digestive enzyme with anti-inflammatory effects. You might recognize this from the white liquid you can see when you cut into a raw papaya fruit.
Not only is this native Central American fruit tasty, but incorporating it as a regular part of your diet boosts your immune system. Whatsmore, papaya's nutrients are easier to absorb for humans than most other fruits and vegetables.
These delicious little nuts are packed with Vitamin C and E, crucial for a healthy immune system. High levels of Vitamin E and C contribute to the fight against infections such as cold and flu. However, almonds' powerful antioxidant properties need to be absorbed in a certain way.
For the digestive system to absorb these vitamins efficiently, fat is needed. This could be in the form of alternative almond products such as almond butter or almond milk.
It should come as no surprise that avocados are fantastic health foods. They contain that good type of fat crucial for running our bodies efficiently. However, you may not know that avocados also include a high level of Vitamin E, which plays a vital role in supporting the immune system.
Vitamin E contributes to t-cell growth. These t-cells are part of the immune system that fight against infected cells while also activating other immune system response cells.
These tiny seeds sprinkled over your breakfast granola are a terrific addition to your diet and contribute to a healthy immune system. Sunflower seeds contain all sorts of fantastic nutrients to work against fighting infection.
This includes phosphorus, magnesium, and Vitamin E, as well as selenium which is crucial for immune system function regulation. Selenium works its magic by lowering the body's oxidative stress, improving your immunity, and reducing inflammation.
Vitamin C plays a significant role in building a strong, healthy immune system. However, Vitamin C has also been shown to increase the production of white blood cells, the key to the body's fight against infection. There are various pieces of evidence, including this study, that Vitamin C helps produce T-lymphocytes, an essential type of white blood cell needed for an efficient immune system.
Any citrus foods that contain high levels of Vitamin C, anything from oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons, and even kiwi fruit, are great for Vitamin C.
While some of the foods on this list are somewhat ordinary, although all with excellent benefits, acai berries are the fancy exotic superfood we all want as part of our diet. Whether sprinkling the raw berries over breakfast or blending them into an acai bowl, they contain fantastic immune system benefits.
Not only are acai berries delicious, but they are packed full of antioxidants to help the immune system fight infection. Acai also contains anthocyanins. These Anthocyanins have all manner of health benefits, including; anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and antimicrobial properties.
Are you starting to see a trend here? Another super delicious, bright, colorful food is watermelon. Watermelon includes an antioxidant called Glutathione which is vital for the healthy functioning of the immune system and building/repairing tissue.
Watermelon is delicious no matter what, and you truly can't beat it on a hot summer's day as part of a salad. To take full advantage of the nutrients, ensure you eat the dark red flesh closest to the rind of the melon.
While we've spoken almost exclusively about fruit, vegetables, nuts, and berries, yogurt can have just as much of an impact as any superfoods on our list. Yogurt contains Probiotics, which can ease the effects of colds and flu.
Probiotics help digest food and promote other vitamins for a healthy immune system. In addition, some studies, including this one from The National Library of Medicine, have shown Probiotics to help enhance our natural antibodies.
Whenever you buy yogurt, check the labels for "live and active culture" for the most benefits. Plain non-flavoured Greek yogurt is the best bet for maximum immune system benefits.
Although here in 2022, pills and medicines are the go-to for many of us when feeling under the weather, we now know there are many incredible and delicious options for fighting infection.
While all the foods we have discussed today have excellent health benefits and will certainly contribute to developing a strong, healthy, and well-functioning immune system, they won't cure or prevent illness 100%.
However, incorporate them into your diet and find some benefits for yourself. To recap, let's check out those incredible immune system-boosting foods again:
You can implement many more amazing foods into your diet, which, alongside a healthy lifestyle with lots of exercise, can create an immune system ready to tackle and fight against anything. If you need any help regarding health or more information on these superfoods, please reach out to us today. We'd love to help.