Our immune system is our bodies most important defense, one we actually have control over. I have a list of the best immune system boosting foods & herbs for you that you can add to your daily diet. Food and lifestyle choice have a great influence our immune system, so once again our choices matter.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the high ranking immuun boosters along with regular, not too crazy exercise, hydration and reduced stress levels. Plan your meals in a way that you include a few of the best immune system boosting foods every day.
Ginger is a strong antioxidant that can naturally boost the immune system. Ginger also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, both welcome when fighting a flu.
I am a big fan of ginger tea with lemon and raw honey but also make ginger water, grated ginger with water in a jar in the fridge for overnight. Ginger can be used in many dishes, dressings and juices.
When we talk about the health benefits of turmeric we usually mean curcumin, the most active compound found in turmeric. It has many scientifically proven health benefits. It is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant which can help boost your immune system. Try to add a dash of black pepper together with turmeric when used in a dish to enhance it’s bio-availability.
Try this Turmeric Dipping Sauce, add some turmeric to dressings or juice and on days when I don’t have any in my food I like to take these organic extra strength turmeric black pepper supplements to make sure I met my daily needs.
Garlic’s immune-boosting properties come from a strong concentration of sulfur-containing compounds like allicin. Garlic has been used as a cold and flu preventative for ages. Raw garlic is where the power lies.
During the colder months I always have this concoction in my fridge. A mix of raw honey, grated ginger, hot pepper and garlic. Mix, leave on the counter for 8 hours, during this time it will become runnier. Store in the fridge and take a few tsp or more per day as needed. Pretty strong but works amazing.
no.4 Vitamin C rich foods
A daily high amount of vitamin C which is necessary to build up and keep our immune system strong. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and is also thought to increase the production of the infection fighting white blood cells. Vitamin C may help shorten the length of time and severity of your cold or flu. ( source )
Vitamin C is needed on a daily basis, our bodies can’t produce or store excess amounts for later usage. Vitamin C is very heat sensitive which means you need raw fruits and vegetables daily.
High vitamin C foods are from highest down,
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 1 cup mango
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 2 kiwis
- 1 cup papaya
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup raw broccoli
- 1 cup kale
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup brussel sprouts
- 1 medium grapefruit
- 1 medium orange
When an extra boost is needed I turn to Ester-C supplements, a natural, non-acidic type of vitamin C which is easily absorbed by the body.
Zinc is a nutrient that plays a major roll in immunity. It is found in cells throughout the body and assists the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. A high dosage of zinc when you feel a cold coming on can do wonders.
High zinc containing foods from highest to lower are,
- black beans
Foods are our daily defense line but when something slips through I like to have this ionic liquid zinc on hand.
no.6 Onions and other Flavonoid rich foods
Onions are a great source of immune-boosting nutrients like selenium, sulfur, zinc and vitamin C. They are also one of the best sources of quercetin, a potent flavonoid and antioxidant with antiviral properties. Studies have shown that people who regularly eat flavonoid rich foods are better protected against the common cold.
- onions, ginger, broccoli, asparagus, leafy greens
- black and green tea, red wine, chocolate
- celery, parsley, oregano, cilantro
- red and purple fruits and vegetables like berries, grapes, cabbage, cherries
- tofu, tempeh, edamame
no.7 Orange foods
Beta-carotene is essential for normal growth and development, immune system function, skin and vision. Carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, squash and other orange foods are packed with beta carotene and it is pretty easy to get the daily recommended amount covered with just a few portions of these foods.
Herbs have strong anti-inflammatory properties and they can improve immune response and our bodies defense system. I often use a combination of three or four of these below at the same time. Herbs are amazing!
no.9 Fermented Foods
Fermented foods rich in friendly bacteria can give a boost to our immune system. Studies found lactic acid bacteria produces D-phenyllactic acid in the gut spurring the immune system into action. ( source )
Examples of fermented foods are,
- probiotic yogurt
Mushrooms are an amazing food powering up our white blood cells and boost our immune systems. Mushrooms are not strictly immune-stimulants or immune-suppressants, often times both, modulating our immune system.
Mushrooms’ immune boosting abilities are highly attributable to the high level of polysaccharides acting as nutrients to enhance our immune system.
You can cook with mushrooms or take a more concentrated amount in powder, tea or liquid form. Shiitake, maitake and reishi are great to use in dishes. Chaga mushroom is a powerful antioxidant and immune supporter.
no.11 Vitamin B6
Vitamin B-6 is vital for the formation of new red blood cells and is also an important part of many chemical reactions in the body.
Just two bananas and two cooked potatoes get you all the vitamin B6 you need in a day! Great vitamin B6 sources are,
- sweet potatoes
no.12 Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant and is important in regulating and maintaining our immune system function. A 1/4 cup of almonds, about 23, delivers almost 50% of the daily needed vit.E. Other good plant based vit.E sources are,
- dark leafy greens like spinach
- sunflower seeds
- almonds and other nuts
- butternut squash
There is so much to choose from, delicious fruits and vegetables for every day and every season. The best immune system boosting foods to keep our immunity high and working as it should. In need of an extra boost you can turn to the supplements I listed.
Our bodies know what to do, we only have to give it the right tools and not sabotage the process.