Let me ease your mind by giving you 12 different immune-boosting foods that you can use to support your immune system!
1. Citrus foods
These include grapefruits, oranges, clementines, lemons, and limes, and many more. Citrus are perfect immune-boosting foods for the nice weather. They are packed with vitamin C and have the ability to increase the production of white blood cells. They can help you build antibodies and help you resist bacteria and viruses that you’ve encountered before.
2. Red bell peppers
These are perfect for stir-fries, salads, fajitas, etc. They are also packed with vitamin C and have beta carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is great for vision health, skin health, and immune health.
These are a great little snack to have, and the good news is you only need half a cup a day (two servings) to get the recommended daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin E. They are packed with vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant in the body to protect the cells and help fight off free radicals.
Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It is a really easy thing to add to your meals and cooking. It has been known to help with a sore throat, and it has also been known to decrease inflammation. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties.
5. Green tea
Green tea is packed with flavonoids and antioxidants, specifically one of the antioxidants that’s really powerful for immune function, which is epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG. Now, this specific antioxidant is destroyed during the fermentation process of black tea. However, green tea is steamed not fermented, therefore it is not destroyed during that process. So sip your green tea every day!
This is also perfect for a salad or a side dish with your meal. It is packed with vitamin C, as well as beta carotene. Just remember, many of the nutrients are destroyed during the cooking process, so you can enjoy spinach with just a little olive oil and herbs, and it tastes delicious.
Who would have thought shellfish would make this list? Shellfish contains lots of zinc, and because we only need a small amount of zinc in our diet, a small serving of that can provide it. Men need 11 milligrams, and women need eight milligrams for the recommended daily allowance. It’s a great thing to add to some of your dishes, and it’s a nice variety to your typical cooking.
We all know how we love our garlic! It has been known to be an anti-inflammatory mainly due to the sulfur-containing compounds specifically, one of the compounds, allicin. Sprinkling this on different dishes that you might be having will be fantastic for your immune system. Using actual garlic cloves will have much more of the bang for the buck from a nutrient perspective, however, powder is simple and convenient.
It is supercharged with vitamins and minerals, specifically vitamins A, C, and E. This, just like spinach, does lose a lot of its nutrient value when you cook it, so you do want to cook it as little as possible. Perhaps considering steaming, but not overcooking. Including this in different dishes and having it as a side or throwing it on a salad is a great way to get the benefits of this food.
Yes, your chicken and turkey are great sources of vitamin B-6, which not only helps to prevent you from getting sick in the first place but can also help with minimizing cold symptoms. Vitamin B-6 is also important in so many chemical reactions in the body, and also the formation of blood cells. We can get our recommended daily amount from having two to three-ounce servings of chicken or turkey a day.
In order to maintain colonization in the digestive tract, probiotics must be taken or eaten regularly. General recommendations call for ingesting 1 to 25 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) daily. Whether you’re getting these from fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, or even perhaps yogurt, most store-bought probiotic yogurts, however, contain about 1 billion CFUs per serving.
To get the maximum benefit from fermented foods, it’s important to read product labels and choose only those that contain “active, live cultures” and preferentially raw, unpasteurized, perishable ingredients. You could choose to get it from food, but if you feel like you’re not getting that on a consistent basis, then a probiotic is recommended for most people. You do want to make sure that you have two specific strains which are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium that can also help with the gut-brain connection. This is something that can improve our gut bacteria and really help keep our immune system optimal. Remember, 70 percent of our immune system is in our gut.
This is packed with vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, and folic acid. Papaya has 224% of the RDA of vitamin C from just one papaya! It also has a digestive enzyme called the papain, which actually has anti-inflammatory benefits. It tastes wonderful with coconut milk, so give that a try!
In summary, eating just one of these immune-boosting foods is not enough to stave off disease and infection, especially COVID-19. However, having a variety of foods in your diet, and perhaps including some or all of these immune-boosting foods can be really powerful. The more diverse your diet is, the more ability you are going to have to include all of the vitamins and minerals that you need. I hope this helps, and I hope that you stay healthy during these times.
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