Our immune system is what keeps our body healthy and functioning properly. The immune system consists of cells, tissues, organs, and proteins that work together to fight viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that contribute to infections and diseases. When the body comes in contact with pathogens, it releases antibodies to kill them off. Without a healthy immune system, these immune responses are weakened, making us vulnerable to illness.
Our lifestyles can play a crucial role in the health of our immune system. Things like regular exercise, quality sleep, minimizing stress, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and proper hygiene can drastically reduce one’s likelihood of illness and disease. Diet is also a key factor in staying healthy.
Below are ten foods that can greatly boost your immune system:
- Ginger: Ginger has great anti-inflammatory properties and provides a variety of health benefits.
- Blueberries: Blueberries contain rich amounts of antioxidants that help with the respiratory’s immune defense system.
- Vegetables: Vegetables such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and spinach are great sources of vitamin A, C, and E, which support healthy skin and bones and a strong immune system.
- Garlic: Garlic has been used as a natural medicine for centuries and contains antibacterial and antiviral components. It can help with respiratory infections, the common cold, and flu. Fortunately, garlic supplements are available since most people don’t want to walk around with garlicky breath.
- Green Tea: Green tea contains an amino acid known as theanine, which helps prevent illness and is great for calming anxiety. It is also a good source of antioxidants, important for immune health.
- Yogurt: The bacteria in our gut is crucial for a healthy digestive system. The flora is what breaks foods down so nutrients can be absorbed. However, antibiotics can kill all the good bacteria, which can weaken the immune system. Adding a good probiotic can increase the white blood cells that make the immune system strong enough to fight off bacteria and viruses. Yogurts that are low in sugars contain a healthy dose of probiotics your body needs.
- Turmeric: This vibrant yellow spice is often used in cooking but can also be found in alternative medicines. Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which aids in improving the body’s immune response.
- Fish: Fish that is rich in oils, such as tuna and salmon, contain a high source of omega-3 fatty acids. Long term, these fatty acids can help reduce the risk of RA (rheumatoid arthritis), an autoimmune condition when the immune system attacks a healthy part of the body by mistake.
- Almonds: This superfood is an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber.
- Dark chocolate: contains theobromine, an immune-boosting antioxidant that can help fight off molecules that the body produces as food is being broken down or when contact is made with pollutants. These molecules can damage cells, which can lead to disease. Although dark chocolate does have its benefits, it is still high in saturated fats and should be eaten in moderation.
The immune system is complex and delicate. It is important to balance a healthy diet as well as a healthy lifestyle to help maintain and boost your immune system. Hopefully, this blog has inspired you to use more immune-boosting ingredients next time you’re preparing a meal.