Foods That Boost and Improve Your Immune System
Have More Mushrooms
Mushrooms are high in selenium and B vitamins like riboflavin and niacin which are necessary for the immune system to work in top form.
Immune System Boosters
Wondering how to boost your immune system? Eat more button mushrooms. Mushrooms are high in selenium and B vitamins like riboflavin and niacin. These minerals and vitamins are necessary for the immune system to work in tip top form. Mushrooms are also high in polysaccharides, sugar-like molecules that boost immune function.
Oysters on the Menu
Oysters provide selenium, iron, vitamin C and A, zinc and high-quality protein for proper immune function.
Oysters are a nutritional powerhouse from the sea. One 3-ounce serving of Pacific oysters provides 190% of the daily value of selenium, 45% of the daily value of iron, and 20% of the daily value of vitamin C, all for just 140 calories. One 3-ounce serving of oysters contains 16 grams of high-quality protein. The seafood also provides zinc and vitamin A. These vitamins and minerals in oysters are critical for proper immune function.
Pumped About Watermelon
Watermelon gives the body vitamin A, C and B6, nutrients, and compounds like glutathione for proper immune function.
Watermelon is an immune-boosting fruit. One 2-cup serving of watermelon has 270 mg of potassium, 30% of the daily value of vitamin A, and 25% of the value of vitamin C. Calories in watermelon aren’t much at all. One 2-cup serving of watermelon has just 80 calories. Watermelon also provides vitamin B6 and glutathione. The body needs these vitamins, nutrients, and compounds like glutathione for proper immune function.
Try Some Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is rich in B vitamins, zinc, and vitamin E and helps bump up nutrition when added to foods.
Wheat Germ Nutrition
Wheat germ is the innermost part of the wheat kernel. It is the most nutrient rich part of the grain. The germ is rich in B vitamins, zinc, and vitamin E. Sprinkle wheat germ on top of yogurt or cereal or add it to a shake. Wheat germ makes an easy addition to bump up the nutrition in baked goods. Substitute wheat germ for a bit of white flour in recipes to get some extra vitamins and minerals.
Dairy Health Food
Nutrition guidelines recommend adults consume 3 servings of dairy products per day. Low-fat yogurt provides 11 grams of protein, 250 calories, and almost 400 mg of calcium per 8-ounce serving. Low-fat yogurt can also help meet your daily requirement for vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Adequate levels of vitamin D and other nutrients are necessary for robust immune function. Yogurt is rich in probiotics, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidus. These strains boost immune function and may even help reduce both the length and severity of colds. Beneficial gut flora are needed for proper digestion, detoxification, and immune function. Probiotics even help reduce eczema symptoms in babies.
Leafy Green Superfood
Spinach gets top billing as a superfood thanks to its high content of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and iron. The nutrients in spinach boost immune function and provide the body with necessary nutrients for cell division and DNA repair. Reap maximum benefits from spinach by eating it raw or lightly cooked to preserve nutrients.
A Cup of Immunity
About half the population in the United States drinks tea regularly. Antioxidants in tea called polyphenols and flavonoids are credited with boosting immune function. These compounds may also reduce the risk of heart disease. Drinking green tea favorably affects blood lipids, increasing good HDL cholesterol and decreasing LDL bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.
Orange Spuds Are Better
One medium sweet potato packs a whopping 120% of the daily value of vitamin A and 30% of the daily value of vitamin C, all for just 100 calories. These vitamins are crucial for immune function and great for your skin. Sweet potatoes are a cholesterol-free and fat-free food, so you get all the helpful, immune-boosting vitamins without the guilt. Sweet potatoes serve up a healthy portion of fiber, too.
Reach for Elderberries
Elderberrry is a shrub that has been used medicinally for centuries. Sambucus nigra, or black elderberry bush, is the version most commonly used to make syrup and lozenges. Extracts of elderberry have antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Elderberry is also high in flavonoids. People take elderberry syrup as a remedy for colds, flus, and bacterial sinus infections. The plant medicine works by reducing swelling in mucus membranes. Some studies suggest elderberry extract reduces the duration of the flu. If it works for flu infections, it may help your immune system against coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
Elderberry benefits are numerous, however, the remedy may interact with certain prescription medications. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist prior to adding any new remedy to your regimen.
Broccoli to the Rescue
Broccoli is a nutrient-packed powerhouse to support your immune system. One cup of broccoli provides as much vitamin C as an orange. The veggie is also high in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Broccoli supplies an array of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B6). Together, these vitamins and minerals help the immune system to run in top form. Another healthy compound offered up by broccoli: glutathione, the master antioxidant in the body.
Bring on the Bulbs
People have praised garlic for ages for its immune boosting properties. Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. The bulbs are rich in antioxidants that quench free radicals that play a role in Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancers, and other conditions. The antiviral properties may be helpful in reducing the severity of colds, flu or COVID-19 infections. In one study, people who took garlic supplements during cold season caught fewer colds than those who took placebo pills. If you do catch a cold, garlic can shorten the duration of it. If you do try garlic supplements, be mindful that the one you choose contains the active ingredients contained in real garlic.
Garlic and Cancer
Garlic boosts the portion of the immune system that is tasked with fighting viruses and cancer. Several studies have documented a link between garlic use and reduced rates of many different types of cancers. People who regularly consume lots of raw or cooked garlic have 30% to 35% fewer colorectal cancers than those who do not eat the allum. In one small study of people who had inoperable pancreatic, colorectal, or liver cancers, immune function was improved when participants took aged garlic extract for 6 months.
Fermented Foods and Immunity
Miso soup has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for centuries. Miso is a salty paste made from fermented soybeans. It is rich in probiotics that are beneficial for gastrointestinal health and boosting the immune system. A lack of beneficial bacteria or an imbalance of bacteria in the GI tract is associated with a variety of medical conditions including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food allergies, gastroenteritis, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), and even certain kinds of cancers. Sipping a cup of miso soup is a great way to introduce beneficial food-based probiotics into the GI tract.