Though no food or supplement can guarantee you won’t get sick, making some dietary changes can significantly impact how your immune system functions.
Fruits and vegetables, proteins, and antioxidants are all great additions to your diet. Here are 15 foods that can support your immune system and promote good health.
Garlic offers numerous health advantages, such as strengthening your immune system. This is due to allicin, which helps guard against infections and reduces the likelihood of colds or flu symptoms.
Unbeknownst to many, garlic is also an effective detoxifier. Its sulfur content encourages your liver to produce detoxifying enzymes which remove toxins from your system.
It is an excellent source of antioxidants, which can combat free radicals that may lead to chronic diseases like cancer. Furthermore, turmeric has strong antimicrobial properties which help prevent infection.
One of the best ways to enjoy all these advantages is by eating garlic raw. However, it may be difficult to digest raw garlic, so it’s best to consume it in moderation.
Another way to maximize the benefits of garlic is taking it in a supplemental form. There are various supplements that contain allicin, which can be an excellent way to increase your intake of this nutrient.
You can also consume one clove of garlic daily, but it should be eaten raw to get the most benefit. For an even stronger boost, steep it in raw honey for extra flavor and health benefits.
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, which protect cells from free radical damage. Furthermore, these powerful compounds possess anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
They provide an excellent source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that keeps your body healthy by fighting infections and disease-causing agents. Furthermore, they contain vitamin K – important for bone and blood health – enhancing its effects.
Blueberries also boast high amounts of fiber, which helps to support a healthy digestive tract. Furthermore, they provide an impressive supply of manganese – an essential mineral for cell growth and maintenance.
Finally, they provide a great source of folate – an essential nutrient for preventing cancer formation. Folate plays an integral role in DNA synthesis and repair, protecting you against mutations that could lead to cancerous mutations.
Studies have demonstrated that blueberries can significantly boost your immunity when consumed in moderation. They help ward off colds, viruses and bacteria which could otherwise lead to serious illnesses. Furthermore, blueberries contain flavonoids which have been known to boost certain types of immune cells within the body.
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is an ideal snack for a healthy immune system, as it contains antioxidants which shield cells against free radical damage. Furthermore, antioxidants boost immunity and help fight infections in your body.
However, make sure to choose a high-quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. Otherwise, the product could contain too much sugar for optimal health benefits.
Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, but it also contains potassium, copper and iron. These essential minerals aid in blood formation, nervous system functioning and muscle growth as well as supporting cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol and encouraging heart health.
According to a 2017 study, eating dark chocolate may have beneficial effects on lowering your blood pressure. This could be because it increases the activity of endothelial cells – cells that form a thin membrane around blood vessels and regulate circulation – within your blood vessels.
Additionally, dark chocolate contains high amounts of protein and magnesium – two essential nutrients for a strong immune system.
If you’re trying to incorporate dark chocolate into a healthy diet, start by having only small amounts. A single square or two of chocolate per day should be sufficient to quench your sweet tooth without affecting your weight or overall wellbeing.
Spinach is an extremely nutritious and low-calorie superfood, packed with anti-oxidants that protect your body against disease. Not only that, but it also keeps the heart healthy and improves digestion.
Its high antioxidant content can protect against chronic illness and oxidative stress. Furthermore, it’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K and folate – all known to strengthen immunity.
Iron is another essential nutrient found in spinach, helping red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. Too little iron may result in iron deficiency anemia, a condition which may cause fatigue, dizziness and difficulty breathing.
Potassium, another essential nutrient in spinach, plays an important role in helping to lower or manage high blood pressure. Additionally, it regulates sodium levels within the body.
Vitamin E can also be found in spinach, which can help ward off colds and flu by strengthening immunity. Nuts like almonds also contain this essential nutrient which is often added to salads or used for making omelets.
In addition to strengthening your immune system, spinach is beneficial for eyesight, skin and hair. Its powerful antioxidants can help combat free radicals responsible for premature ageing, giving you a brighter, healthier appearance.
Broccoli is an antioxidant-rich cruciferous vegetable. It also supplies essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like calcium and vitamin K which aid in building strong bones.
It’s also a source of vitamin C, known as an immune system booster and aid in wound healing. Furthermore, it contains B vitamins like B1, B2 and B6, all essential for supporting your immunity.
Research has demonstrated that eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can strengthen the immune system’s capacity to fight off infections. This is thought to be due to sulfur-rich compounds present in these veggies which boost glutathione, the master antioxidant in your body.
Sulforaphane in broccoli is an anti-inflammatory that may reduce the risk of arthritis and allergic reactions. It helps lower cholesterol levels and protects against heart disease as well. Furthermore, broccoli’s sulforaphane provides omega 3 fatty acids as well as other essential nutrients beneficial to health. Plus, its high fiber content keeps you full longer, decreasing appetite in turn. Plus, broccoli is versatile enough to be enjoyed either raw or cooked!
6. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple in many people’s diets due to its numerous health advantages, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it contains vitamin E which aids in strengthening immunity.
It’s essential to choose extra virgin olive oil, which has not gone through any chemical or heating process that diminishes its nutritional value. This type of olive oil contains abundant antioxidants and phenolic compounds which may help protect against heart disease.
Olive oil is also an excellent source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may reduce inflammation and support a healthy gut microbiome. This may help protect against autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis, according to research.
Recent research found that consuming extra virgin olive oil reduced levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of chronic inflammation. Furthermore, women with a history of osteoporosis saw improved bone density from daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil.
Olive oil offers numerous health benefits, not only due to its high amounts of oleic acid but also other phytochemicals present. Not only do these fatty acids and phytochemicals present in the olive fruit modulate several immune functions without reducing host resistance against infection, but olive oil also contains high amounts of polyphenolic compounds and other minor components that have antimicrobial effects.
Chicken is an excellent source of immune-enhancing nutrients, such as zinc and iron. Plus, it contains protein which aids in building antibodies to fight infection. Furthermore, vitamin B5 and magnesium – both essential for good immunity – can be found in chicken.
Maintain a diet high in protein. Dark meat, like the leg and thigh sections of chicken, provides plenty of this nutrient as well as iron, selenium, thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B12.
Another immunity-boosting food is yogurt, which contains live and active cultures that help boost your immune system. Look for yogurts labeled with this designation.
Yogurt also contains vitamin D, an essential nutrient for your immune system. Without enough of it in your diet, it may weaken your defenses against microorganisms and leave you more vulnerable to infections.
Pomegranates are an excellent way to strengthen your immunity. Not only are they high in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and prevent diseases from spreading, but they contain antimicrobial compounds which fight viruses and bacteria which are known for causing illnesses. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that eating pomegranates promotes the growth of beneficial gut flora.