5 Foods That Boost The Immune System!
We all want a healthy, strong immune system, year round. Do you seem to pick up every cold or illness that makes its rounds in your workplace? Not only is this a huge bummer, it can also be a sign that your body is at risk of more serious illnesses in the future due to a weakened immune system.
The good news is, that like so many other body systems, the immune system can respond very positively to dietary and lifestyle changes.
In addition to getting enough good quality sleep, exercising daily, limiting your time spent sitting, getting daily sunlight, and managing your stress, there are many whole foods that help improve immune function. Below are 5 of my favourite immune boosting foods!
- Fermented foods. Naturally fermented, unpasteurized foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and miso contain probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that inhabit your gut and can help stimulate the immune system. While probiotic supplements are popular, you can also get the benefits from traditional foods like those listed above - these naturally fermented foods are how cultures have been getting their daily dose of probiotics for centuries! Look for traditionally fermented foods in the refrigerated sections at your grocery store - these live foods need to be kept cool!
- This warming spice is popular in spiced winter teas but also makes a great addition to fresh green smoothies in the summer! It has anti-microbial properties that can help protect you from infections, especially if eaten before an infection occurs. As a bonus, it’s also effective for relieving nausea! Add a chunk of fresh ginger to smoothies, or slice it and steep it in freshly boiled water for 10 minutes for a powerful tea.
- Garlic is a very powerful food. It can increase your immune function, it has antimicrobial and antiviral effects, and it can shorten the duration of a cold or flu. 2 or 3 cloves a day is an effective way to improve your immune system. It is recommended that you crush the cloves and allow them to be exposed to air for 10 minutes before cooking to increase the effects.
- Not only are berries high in vitamin C, a well known vitamin for immune function, they also contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that have antimicrobial properties and can help reduce free-radical damage in the body. Adding ½ - 1 cup of berries to your diet every day is a delicious way to improve your immune system function.
- Oysters are an amazing source of zinc - a mineral that is crucial for good immune function - as well as a variety of other important minerals. Do you get white spots on your finger nails? This is a common sign of zinc deficiency, and eating oysters is a great way to up your zinc intake! Zinc is an immune builder, meaning it is a necessary part of the immune system.
A healthy diet is our first defence against immune-related illnesses. Start incorporating more nutrient-dense whole foods like these into your diet to stay healthy all year round!
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Ali is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Her mission is to help you discover just how vibrant and amazing you can feel, by giving you the tools you need to make lasting changes. (Hint, it involves delicious food!) To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about