The immune system is one of the most important parts of human health, mainly because it is responsible for keeping the rest of our body healthy! Although we don’t like to think about it this way, our bodies are constantly under attack from environmental, biological, psychosocial, physical, bacterial, fungal, and viral agents that are trying to make us anything but healthy. We are unaware of all the work our body does to maintain our health, but it is vital that we keep our immune system functioning at a high, efficient level so we can live healthy.
Antioxidants are a key part of the immune system battle, but there are plenty of other factors. Now, check out some of the best foods to give your immune system that healthy boost you need!
10 Best Foods to Boost Your Immune System:
1) Spinach – Spinach and other cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, kale, and Swiss chard, are all packed with unique antioxidants (such as glucosinolates) and are rich in minerals, including zinc, copper, and iron, all of which play important roles in the development of white and red blood cells, increasing circulation, and reducing oxidative stress in the body.
2) Blueberries – This very popular superfood is known to contain anthocyanins, tannins, resveratrol, phytonutrients, as well as potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and manganese. All of these components make blueberries one of your best defensive fruits to improve the strength of your immune system against a wide variety of illnesses, infections, and chronic diseases.
3) Oranges – People often turn to orange juice when they’re feeling sick, and with good reason. The high content of vitamin C gives a boost to the immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells, and vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to combat the effects of free radicals in the body. Vitamin C also is a ital component in collagen, which keeps your tissues and cell membranes healthy, protecting against attack from infections and viruses.
4) Carrots – These delicious and versatile vegetables give your body a huge boost of beta-carotene, which stimulates T-cells and other types of antibodies in the immune system to protect against infection and various diseases, while also boosting skin health, thereby preventing the entry of dangerous substances through the skin.
5) Garlic – Although it might make your breath smell, garlic is a great way to boost your immune system. Along with the mineral content that is always beneficial for the body, garlic also contains an organic compound called allicin, which specifically defends against bacteria and can eliminate certain infections.It also contains thiosulfinates, sulfur-containing compounds that ward off certain diseases. Garlic has been used for centuries in cultures around the world as a natural immune system booster.
6) Oats and Barley – Oats are beneficial for a wide variety of health issues, but in particular, the beta-glucans that are found in oatmeal and other types of barley are great for improving immunity. Immune system cells have receptors that beta-glucans attach to, which increases the functionality and impact of white blood cells that defend the body against pathogens and other foreign agents.
7) Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder is made up of nearly 10% antioxidants, predominantly flavonols, and is one of the most highly concentrated food sources for antioxidant potential. Unsweetened, natural cocoa powder has been linked to cancer prevention, antioxidant activity throughout the body, increased nitric oxide levels, lowered lipid levels, and decreased hypertension. In short, cocoa powder is a superfood for the immune system.
8) Yogurt – In terms of keeping your body safe from any bacteria or illness that may be contracted in the food you eat, yogurt is ideal. Yogurt is a rich source of probiotics, like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, which actually protect your system against damaging bacteria that might cause illness from the food you consume.
9) Mushrooms – Different varieties of mushrooms are suggested for improving your health in various ways, but shiitake mushrooms are specifically noted for their ability to stimulate the immune system. Furthermore, the various antioxidant compounds in shiitake mushrooms fight off free radicals, which are linked to chronic diseases like heart conditions, cancer, and gastrointestinal issues.
10) Green Tea – This antioxidant-rich beverage has been praised for centuries all over the world due to its immune-strengthening potential. L-theanine is a particularly powerful amino acid found in large quantities in green tea and is connected to a stronger, more responsive immune system.