Key Foods and Vitamins to Boost Your Immune System

I thought this was good information considering the current situation we are all living through.  There seems to be an overload of information on the way to "slow" the spread or "prevent" catching a virus through physical protective gear (masks, gloves and now goggles) but very little promotion and education on what we can do to set our bodies up to do what it is naturally meant to do....fight viruses and bacterial infections and ultimately prevent a fatal outcome.  Of course there are numerous ways to build up our immune systems but these are just a few of the foods/vitamins we can include in our everyday diet to ensure our bodies stay strong!

1.  Citrus Fruits

Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health.  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.  Grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines...all delicious! 

2.  Red Bell Peppers

If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost 3 times as much vitamin C as a Florida orange! They’re also a rich source of beta carotene.  Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help you maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

3.  Broccoli

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 its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.  Research Trusted Source has shown that steaming is the best way to keep more nutrients in the food.

4. Garlic

Garlic adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health.  Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections.  Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

5.  Spinach

Spinach is not just rich in vitamin C — it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.  Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking makes it easier to absorb the vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, an antinutrient.

6.  Yogurt

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. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead. 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.

7.  Almonds

When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, this powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system.  It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats.

8.  Green Tea

Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant.  In studies, EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function.  Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.

9.  Poultry

When you’re sick and you reach for chicken soup, it’s more than just the placebo effect that makes you feel better. The soup may help lower inflammation, which could improve symptoms of a cold. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6.  Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells.  Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.

10.  Shellfish

Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc.  Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.

These are just a few of the top nutrient rich foods to fuel your body...and if you find you have a hard time getting everything you need through food alone, the top 3 vitamins to boost your immune system are Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E.  Besides food and vitamins, getting outside for your Vitamin D and staying Active is key to not only boosting our immunity but our mental health as well!  

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