Our immune systems have received a lot of attention in the last year and a half. Of course, we have always known that our bodies’ immune systems are important — they protect us from everyday illnesses and help our bodies stay healthy! But with the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shaken the world, we have focused on the quality of our immune systems more than ever. So, how do you strengthen your immune system to help you fight off sickness? Well, I hope you’re hungry!
There are many foods that can help bolster your immune system and the good news is that you may already have them in your kitchen. Eating immune-boosting foods doesn’t have to break the bank either. By adding the following foods to your well-balanced diet, you are giving your body a positive start to staying healthy during a pandemic and beyond!
Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, a superstar when it comes to immune system support. Our bodies do not produce this vitamin naturally, meaning we have to acquire it from the foods that we eat. Lemons, oranges and grapefruits are just a few of your options. Any citrus juices will work too, especially when they are labeled as 100% fruit juice.
*Side Note: Vitamin C supplements are also available, but eating whole foods with vitamin C in them gives you the extra benefit of fiber and other vitamins and minerals.
Typically when we think of broccoli, we don’t think of it as an immune booster. But, funny enough, a serving of broccoli contains more vitamin C than an orange. Plus, it doesn’t contain as much sugar as a serving of citrus.
Pumpkin seeds are a great immune-boosting ingredient to add to your diet — just in time for fall! They are packed with many vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin E, more immune-support superstars. The zinc found in these seeds can also help with skin health and vision, according to Health.com.
Ginger has been used medicinally for centuries for a variety of conditions. One main use is to prevent and soothe symptoms of a cold. A study published in the National Library of Medicine notes that fresh ginger has antiviral properties that can potentially protect you from viruses and harmful bacteria. You can ingest fresh ginger by making ginger tea or adding it to various dishes at home!
This ingredient is fairly new to the scene in modern supermarkets, but it’s actually been around for centuries, originating in modern-day Turkey. It is a type of fermented yogurt with a thin consistency, and it is packed with more than 60 strains of bacteria and yeasts, aka probiotics, according to Healthline, an online health resource. Probiotics help maintain our bodies’ microbiome and gut health. “Scientists are finding that the microbiome plays a key role in immune function,” according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “The gut is a major site of immune activity and the production of antimicrobial proteins.” Eating probiotic foods along with a diet packed with fruits and veggies can help maintain a healthy microbiome and immune system!
*Always consult your doctor before making any serious dietary changes.