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Immunity is a hotly debated topic. Can we boost our immunity? And, can we do so through food? We all know that to keep our bodies healthy, we need to fuel them with the right foods, because what we eat has a direct impact on our health. Choosing foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and antibacterial properties is the key to guarding and protecting our bodies.
The right choices can strengthen our skin barrier, fight free radicals, and overall boost our immune function. But exactly which foods should you eat to keep your immune system functioning at its best? Here we’ll go over my top ten foods to boost your immune system.
Top 10 Immunity-Boosting Foods
1. Bell Pepper
This vegetable is chock full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that plays many roles within the body. For one, it helps with hormone balance by raising progesterone levels, which guards against stress and helps with sleep. Getting a few extra minutes in bed and minimizing stress never hurt anyone, and it can also help keep your immune system strong. That takes care of two birds with one stone!
TIP: Some tasty ways to get vitamin C include eating kiwis, oranges, and tomatoes.
2. Cacao Nibs
Chocolate is good for you! Wait, what? Yes, it is! In particular, the direct source of chocolate, the cocoa bean, is an excellent source of nutrients that help support your health. Cacao nibs are actually crushed up bits of the cocoa bean, and full of antioxidants, like vitamin C, that help you fight free radicals.
Also, the flavonoids in cocoa help in reducing levels of inflammation around the body, keeping your cells and systems happy and healthy. These flavonoids support blood vessels function, which assists in cardiovascular health.
TIP: If you find cacao nibs to be bitter or don’t know how to eat them, try adding them on top of your yogurt to make a fancy parfait. You get two immune-boosting foods in a delicious treat!
The smell is worth it, I promise! Garlic has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and for good reason. It’s a potent antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral food. This makes it useful in treating a host of illnesses and infections. Garlic’s signature smell comes from its main compound called allicin. This is a sulfuric compound that helps fight infection and is terrific at staving off colds.
The active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, is where turmeric’s best-known qualities come from. This component improves blood flow and aids in balancing hormones. Curcumin also serves as a powerful antioxidant, helping protect our cells and boosting our immunity.
5. Almonds, Walnuts, and Brazil Nuts
Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats, especially for vegetarians and vegans. They also contain quite a few essential vitamins and minerals.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E which protects your skin. Brazil nuts have high levels of selenium that help maintain thyroid function. Walnuts are high in polyphenols. These are a micronutrient that assists the management and development of our body functions.
All of these vitamins and minerals help keep our body systems healthy and functioning optimally, and they boost our immune fighting abilities.
6. Probiotic Yogurt
Yogurt can help keep our gut healthy with bacteria. Yes, it sounds strange. Still, yogurt is filled with probiotics, live bacterial cultures, that assist in fighting off the harmful bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract. When probiotics do their job, they help us absorb essential nutrients we need to heal our bodies, thereby boosting our immune function.
TIP: If you are dairy-free or vegan, there are coconut yogurt options that are packed full of probiotics and taste good too!
Kale is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, a series of vegetables that include Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and bok choy. These vegetables are excellent at balancing estrogen levels. When balanced, estrogen provides many functions, but a big job they have involves developing and regulating the immune system function.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes get their vibrant orange color from a component called beta-carotene, a carotenoid that the body converts to vitamin A. This vitamin is crucial for the maintenance of our mucous membranes, which are an essential part of protecting us from germs. You can also find beta carotene in carrots, squash, and cantaloupe.
9. Green Tea
Drinking green tea is a great way to energize yourself, help with digestion, and protect your immune system. What makes green tea so good for us? It contains something called polyphenols. They are a micronutrient with antioxidant properties that fight off free radicals present in our bodies. This makes green tea a powerful immune-boosting food.
One particular polyphenol that green tea contains is called catechin. Studies have shown it can reduce heart disease and the risk of cancer. It can also help control obesity and diabetes.
Don’t skip the yolk! The yolk or the yellow part of the egg is filled with many health benefits. It contains vitamins such as D, A, E, and B2. Eggs also contain healthy fats and plenty of protein that help in aiding cardiovascular health. Healthy hearts, muscles, bones, and teeth all aid in immune health.
Give Them a Try
Our immune systems are complex, but we can help them do their job by fueling them with the right foods. Eating right and taking care of yourself are some of the easiest and most effective things you can do to aid your immunity. Give these immunity-boosting foods a try to start feeling energized, refreshed, and healthy.
What foods do you turn to when you’re feeling under the weather? Which of the foods we talked about would you be willing to try? Let me know in the comments.
For more information about boosting your immune system, check out this free ebook — Lose Weight to Help Your Immune System
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This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.