8 Super Foods that Boost Immunity
Food is the fuel that either keeps our body running like a fine-tuned machine, or turns our insides into a rusty bucket of parts that don’t run. Just like some foods are toxic to bodily systems and organs, other foods strengthen your body. In the wake of COVID and with flu season right around the corner, a healthy immune system is more important than ever. Here are 8 foods that are not only delicious, but are the key to a fluless flu season:
The first thing when you think of when someone refers to fruit and your immune system is probably oranges. And it’s a thing for a reason. Citrus fruits contain a lot of vitamin C, which plays a huge part in the strength of our body’s immune responses.
Blueberries, elderberries, acai berries and other dark fruits are full of flavonoids with antioxidant properties. Specifically, flavonoids play an important part in the respiratory tract’s immune defenses, which means munching on blueberries might help you avoid cold and flu seasons altogether.
Specifically, fatty fish. Fish like tuna and salmon contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids promote the production of cytokines, which are important for helping immune cells communicate properly. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, most tuna that people purchase is arguably way too toxic to eat. Canned tuna is cooked in the can, so look for BPH free cans and look for companies that harvest smaller fish that are not as toxic from mercury as the larger fish.
Sulfur has long been known for its health benefits to skin and your internal systems. Garlic is packed full of sulfur compounds. Used for thousands of years to fight wound infections, it seems that garlic protects the walls of your arteries and may help maintain a healthy blood pressure. In one study on garlic supplements and immunity, participants in the placebo group had twice as many colds as the group who took the garlic supplements. Or cook with garlic and include cooked cloves with dinner.
Kefir is a little known but easy-to-find fermented milk drink full of nutrients, probiotics and good bacteria that fight bad bacteria, reduce inflammation and increase antioxidant activity.
Chicken soup for the soul? Well, it’s for the body, too. Hot broth helps decrease inflammation, and the protein and B vitamins in foul like chicken and turkey help you form new, healthy red blood cells. Stock and broth made from poultry bones also contain other compounds that promote gut health and immunity, like chondroitin and gelatin. Be careful to read the ingredients label because some popular brands of chicken broth contain wheat and are not gluten free.
Sea creatures like oysters, mussels and crabs contain high levels of zinc. People don’t immediately think of zinc when they think of vitamins you need to stay healthy. However, without the right levels of zinc, the immune system can’t function. Don’t go overboard on the lobster dinners, though; too much zinc messes up your immune system just as much as too little.
Sweet potatoes are chocked full of beta-carotene, which is the same nutrient carrots are best known for. On top of promoting eye health, beta-carotene cleans up free radicals once the body has turned it into vitamin A.
These are all common foods and food groups that are great for your body anyway; it’s icing on the cake that they also help keep you able to fight viruses and bacteria. Even better, they’re easy to find at the grocery store, because most are staples of any healthy diet. On top of a multivitamin, a nutritional diet and an active lifestyle, upping your intake of any of these foods can keep you more able to stave off flus, colds and COVID.