boost your immune system

20 Superfoods To Boost Your Immune System

In this report, we will show you the best foods to eat to boost your immune system.

We will also provide other tips to help you protect your immune system and the food and beverages you need to avoid.

Changing your diet is never easy, but your immune system is vital to your health and wellbeing and to fight against deadly viruses.

So always bear this in mind when you are tempted to revert to your old eating .

We recommend that you introduce these foods into your diet gradually. It is a good idea to replace foods that do not support your immune system with these superfoods so that you help your immune system to grow stronger.

So let’s get right into it, shall we?

Before we reveal the 20 superfoods that will boost your immune system, we want you to be aware of some general guidelines regarding your diet and consumption of foods and beverages.

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Choose Whole Plant-Based Foods

Your immune system is constantly fighting against different harmful pathogens. It is an incredible system that works to protect you 24/7. You can help your immune system by providing it with the right antioxidants and nutrients from your food to be even more efficient.

This is where whole plant foods come into play. The following are rich in antioxidants and nutrients that your immune system needs to fight against infections and diseases:

  • Fruits
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables

All of these food groups contain antioxidants that assist in reducing inflammation in your body. The antioxidants fight off free radicals, which are unstable compounds that will result in inflammation if enough of them build up in your body.

You must help your immune system fight against this inflammation because chronic inflammation can result in health conditions you must avoid, such as certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.

The other good news about whole plant foods is that they contain fiber that feeds your gut microbiome. This is a collection of healthy bacteria contained in your gut.

When your gut microbiome is in good shape it will increase your immunity and prevent pathogens from getting into your digestive tract.

You need Healthy Fats.

This is another largely misunderstood area. Healthy fats are good for you. Do not subscribe to the belief that all fats are bad because they are not.

Your immune system requires healthy fats to boost its response to harmful pathogens by reducing the amount of inflammation in your body.

An example of healthy fat is olive oil. Studies show the anti-inflammatory powers of olive oil and how it decreases the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Also, the anti-inflammatory properties of healthy fats can help your immune system fight against viruses and harmful bacteria.

You need healthy fats such as omega-3 because they are very anti-inflammatory. If you have chronic inflammation, then this will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your immune system.

Go for Fermented Foods

You should choose fermented foods in your diet because they have high levels of good bacteria called probiotics. These will populate your digestive tract and protect it. Examples of fermented foods are:

  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Natto
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt

When you have a flourishing community of good gut bacteria, it helps your immune system make the important distinction between healthy and normal cells and invader organisms that will cause you harm.

There was a study of 126 children conducted over 3 months where they drank fermented milk daily. The results showed that they experienced 20% less infectious childhood diseases.

In another 28-day study with 152 participants who had rhinovirus, it was discovered that those who took a probiotic supplement, Bifidobacterium animals, induced a stronger response from their immune system and experienced lower levels of virus symptoms.

Keep away from Foods with Added Sugars

The number of food products available today that contain added sugars is amazing. There has been considerable research in this area, which concluded that the consumption of foods that have added sugars or refined carbohydrates could contribute significantly to people becoming overweight and even obese.

If you are overweight or obese, this can reduce your immune system’s effectiveness. There was an observational study with around 1,000 participants where obese people were given the flu vaccine. These people were twice as likely to contract still the flu than people who were not obese and had been given the same vaccine.

When you reduce the amount of sugar that you consume, you will help to reduce inflammation in your body, and it will help you to lose excess weight as well. This will increase your resistance to chronic problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Both of these chronic diseases will weaken your immune system. So our advice is to limit your sugar intake to less than 5% of your daily calorie intake. So, if you are on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, this would equate to limiting yourself to around 2 tablespoons of sugar.

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Keep Hydrated

It is very important to your overall health that you keep hydrated. If you are dehydrated, this can provide a number of complications that will reduce your immunity against diseases:

  • Reduce your heart and kidney function
  • Impair your focus
  • Cause headaches
  • Impair your digestive system
  • Reduce your physical performance
  • Cause mood swings

When you are hydrated, your urine will be a pale yellow color. The best liquid for hydration is as it does not contain any sugars, additives, or calories. You can drink teas and juices for hydration, but we recommend that you take these without sugar.

The rule of thumb is to drink when you are thirsty and stop drinking when you are not thirsty. Your thirst will increase if you sweat due to exercise or being in a hot climate.

As we age, we lose some of the urge to drink because the thirst signal weakens.

So you need to drink regularly even if you are not thirsty when you are older.

20 foods to boost your immune system

So now we have got that out of the way it is time to look at the 20 superfoods that you need in your diet to boost your immune system.

Blueberries really are an immune system-boosting superfood. They are something that you can eat every day and are delicious, so it should be easy for you to incorporate them into your diet. Why do blueberries work so well in boosting your immune system?

Well, the answer is that they have excellent antioxidant properties. They contain anthocyanin, a flavonoid that can bolster your immune system. A study in 2016 concluded that flavonoids play a critical role in the defense of the respiratory tract.

Research studies revealed that people with a diet rich in flavonoids were less likely to suffer from an infection of the respiratory tract, such as the common cold than those who did not have a flavonoid-rich diet. So be sure to add blueberries to your diet each day.

You may already know that vitamin C is essential for producing white blood cells and fighting off infections.

When many people get a cold or the flu, they increase their vitamin C intake. Getting more vitamin C will certainly help to boost your immune system.

Citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C. You will find the following popular citrus fruits to be a good source of vitamin C:

  • Oranges
  • Clementines
  • Grapefruits
  • Lemons
  • Tangerines
  • Limes

We do not produce vitamin C and we cannot store it so you need to consume foods that provide you with it each day. Citrus fruits are perfect for this as most of them contain high levels of vitamin C.

Few other superfoods have the mineral and vitamin power of broccoli. It is packed full of vitamins, including A, C, and E, which is great for your immune system. Not only that but broccoli has a high fiber content and has many antioxidants that help to fight inflammation.

Broccoli is one of the best superfoods to add to your diet today. To get the maximum benefit from broccoli, it is best not to cook it and eat it raw. If you do want to cook it then just do this lightly.

Most people think that citrus fruits contain the highest levels of vitamin C, but this is not the case. Ounce for ounce, the red bell pepper contains twice the amount of vitamin C than any of the citrus fruits do.

The other great thing about red bell peppers is that they provide a rich source of beta-carotene. So you have a superfood that will not only help to bolster your immune system but also keep your skin and eyes healthier as well with the beta carotene content.

You may have heard many good things about garlic, which are likely all true. It is used in cooking worldwide because it provides dishes with a little extra zing. But more important than this is that garlic is very good for your health.

Ancient civilizations used garlic to ward off infections. It can also reduce blood pressure and dramatically slow down the hardening of arteries. Garlic has a heavy concentration of allicin as well as other sulfur-based compounds, which all help your immune system.

Popeye was right on the money eating spinach every day. Not only is it another great source of vitamin C but it contains many powerful antioxidants as well as beta carotene. All of these things are very good news for your immune system.

Just as with broccoli, it is best not to cook spinach so that you retain all of the nutrients that it has to offer. If you want to cook it lightly, then this is a good way of enhancing the amount of vitamin A, and it will also allow the release of other nutrients from oxalic acid.

This is another famous superfood that has a history of helping people when they get sick. Ginger is good for its anti-inflammatory properties, and it is used a lot to help with the reduction of sore throats and other inflammatory illnesses, too.

Ginger is pretty potent, thanks to the gingerol it contains. Gingerol is related to capsaicin. By including ginger in your diet, it can help to lower your cholesterol, and it is also good for reducing chronic pain.

We are talking about yogurt that contains live and active cultures, such as Greek yogurt. Always check the label to be sure of this. What these cultures do is stimulate your immune system to help you fight off dangerous diseases.

When you are looking for yogurt, go for the plain types and avoid those that have added sugar and are pre-flavored. If you want to add some sweetness to plain yogurt, then use healthy fruits to do this, or use honey instead.

Natural yogurt is a good vitamin D source, which is essential for regulating your immune system. Not only that but vitamin D is important for boosting your immune system so that it will protect you against diseases.

Both black and green teas have high levels of flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Green tea is superior to black tea due to its higher levels of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), another powerful antioxidant.

Studies have shown that EGCG can enhance the functionality of the immune system. The reason that black tea does not have as much EGCG as green tea is because of the fermentation process that it goes through.

Green tea is not fermented but steamed, which preserves its EGCG levels. You will find that green tea is also a good source of L-theanine, an amino acid. L-theanine can improve the production of T-cell germ-fighting compounds in your immune system.

CLEAN EATING TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

Turmeric is a very popular spice that is a key ingredient in many curry dishes. But turmeric is not just a bright yellow-colored, bitter spice. For many years, turmeric has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Turmeric gets its unique coloring from the high levels of curcumin in it. There have been a number of research studies that show that curcumin can really help decrease muscle damage that is sports or exercise-induced.

There is no doubt that vitamin C is the boss when it comes to defending against viruses like the common cold. But to maintain a healthy immune system, you need vitamin E. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it demands the presence of fat to be properly absorbed.

Most nuts, including almonds, contain high levels of vitamin E and a number of healthy fats. If you consumed half a cup of almonds (around 45 shelled almonds whole), you would almost have your recommended daily vitamin E intake.

The papaya is a delicious fruit that is totally loaded with vitamin C. In fact, a single papaya will provide more than 220% of the daily recommended vitamin C intake that you need. Not only that, but the papaya fruit contains papain, which is a powerful digestive enzyme known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

You will also find good amounts of potassium in papayas, folate, and B vitamins. All of these have a beneficial effect on your overall health.

Another great immune system-boosting superfood is sunflower seeds. They are a great source of nutrients, including vitamin B6, magnesium, and phosphorous. Also, you will find that sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E as well.

You must get your daily dose of vitamin E so that it will regulate and maintain your immune system functionality.

This is another great fruit as it contains a number of essential nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, and potassium. Eat kiwis for vitamin C to boost the performance of the white blood cells that your immune system produces to fight pathogens.

The other nutrients in kiwis will help keep other parts of your body functioning correctly.

When you were a child and got sick, did your parents or grandparents encourage you to drink chicken soup? Some people believe that this was for a placebo effect to make you feel better, but there is more to it than that.

Chicken soup not only helps to improve cold symptoms, but it will protect you from becoming sick in the first place. Both chicken and turkey contain high levels of vitamin B6. You will get around 40% to 50% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin B6 from just 3 ounces of these meats.

You need vitamin B6 because it plays an important role in many of the chemical reactions that take place in your body. It is also essential for the creation of healthy new red blood cells. When you make chicken soup from boiling chicken bones, it contains chondroitin, gelatin, and other nutrients that help your immune system and enhance gut health.

Shellfish may not be at the top of your list when you are searching for superfoods that will boost your immune system. However, you will find that certain types of shellfish have a high zinc content.

Other minerals and vitamins usually command more attention than zinc, but it is vital for your body as it helps the cells in your immune system function as they should. The shellfish types that contain high levels of zinc include:

  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Lobster
  • Crab

Although zinc is very important, you do not want to exceed the daily recommended intake because this can actually prevent your immune system from functioning properly. So if you are a man, you need 11 milligrams per day; if you are a woman, you need 8 milligrams.

Not only do sweet potatoes taste good, but they are loaded with beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Beta carotene makes the skin of sweet potatoes orange in color, and it will also keep your skin healthy and protect it from harmful ultraviolet rays.

Another great source of healthy omega-3 fats is oily fish. Here, we are talking about pilchards, tuna, salmon, and other types of oily fish. In a 2014 health report, it was suggested that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids on a long-term basis reduced the risks of rheumatoid arthritis.

If you do not know what kefir is, it is a fermented drink with live bacteria cultures that benefit your health. Research into kefir strongly suggests that it can help to boost the immune system. Studies show that it can:

  • Increase antioxidant activity
  • Fight bacteria
  • Reduce inflammation

More studies are ongoing with kefir and the immune system but the results are encouraging.

Dark Chocolate

This one may surprise you. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which is an antioxidant that can help boost your immune system by protecting the cells from free radicals. As you are probably aware, dark chocolate contains saturated fat and is high in calories so be sure to eat it in moderation.

OVERVIEW

So there you have it – 20 superfoods that will help you boost your immune system, which is very important right now to provide the protection you need from the coronavirus and other diseases. It is now over to you. Add these superfoods to your diet, and you will feel the benefits quickly.   

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