Staying healthy is important. And if you’re looking to boost your immunity a boost, there are a lot of factors to consider. Because your immune system is just that: a system, it requires balance in multiple areas. But, rather than reaching a bottle of supplements, remember, food is the best medicine. Having a diet rich in antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins and minerals helps create and maintain that delicate and harmonious balance your system needs to stay healthy. Let’s take a look at some of the top immune boosting foods, shall we?
Almonds – According to a study, eating almonds can help fight off viruses and boost the immune system’s response to infections because of the polyphenol compounds in the skin.
Aloe – Aloe Vera is useful for more than just sunburns, and it’s known also as the “Miracle Plant” for a reason. With more than 75 potentially active components identified in Aloe, including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, enzymes (and more), it also provides 20 of the 22 human-required amino acids and 8 of the 8 essential amino acids. Zinc, which is essential to maintain immune function, is also an important component in aloe vera.
Avocado – Avocados have had a bad rap because of their high calorie and fat content. But it’s really heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, the type of fat promotes the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Avocados are also a superb source of vitamin E, folate, panthotehenic acid, fiber, potassium.
Chia Seeds – Chia Seeds are an ancient superfood prized by the Aztecs and Mayans for their medicinal properties. They have a bounty of nutrients, including vitamin B, C & E, zinc, flavonols, lignin and phenolic acids, and are known to boost immune system with powerful antioxidants.
Citrus – Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which protect your body from cell damage. It is also believed to increase the production of white blood cells, while also helping your body fight off infections
Coconut Water – The lauric acid content in coconut water makes it an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral.
Coffee – Coffee is chock full of polyphenol antioxidants. Studies also suggest that long-term consumption of a diet that contains polyphenol antioxidants boosts your immune system by providing protection against some cancers, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurological diseases. The caffeine content in coffee also makes it an anti-inflammatory.
Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is a good source of zinc and rich in polyphenols, making it a potent antioxidant. Cacao itself, from which chocolate is made, contains 15-20 times more antioxidants than blueberries and even green tea.
Green Tea/Matcha – Green teas are rich in catechin polyphenols, with the most powerful being epigallocatechin (EGCG). EGCG was found in one study to be up to 100 times more potent than antioxidant vitamins C and E. And matcha is more than 100 times as potent in EGCG as regular brewed green tea.
Honey – Honey has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties to help fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Not all honey is created equal as the antioxidant level varies depending on the source from which the honey is made. Buckwheat honey is known to have the highest level of antioxidants and clover honey, the lowest. (Caution: never give honey to children under 2 years of age because their immune systems are not developed enough to ward off infantile botulism, which is carried in honey spores.)
Kombucha & Yogurt – Over 70% of active immune tissue resides in the gut, so to have a healthy immune system, your gut has to be healthy too. Two of the powerhouse foods that are high in probiotics are Kombucha and Yogurt. Kombucha, which is fermented tea aids in balancing pH levels, digestion and helps destroy and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria. Yogurt has also been shown to have immune-boosting properties above being a probiotic. According to livestrong.com, studies have shown that the vitamin D content in yogurt may help “increase the body’s ability to express antibacterial proteins.”
Seaweed – Seaweed has been proven to strengthen your immune system in a number of ways. It encourages the healthy growth of intestinal flora (which are the “good bacteria”), promotes the production of white blood cells and has anti-inflammatory reaction on cells because thanks to its content of fucoidan, a polysaccharide.
Chances are you likely consume at least a couple of these immune boosting foods. And if you don’t, why not be adventurous and try something new? Stay healthy and be well.