Diet can play a big role in how often we get sick or how long we are sick for. Eating immune-boosting foods helps our bodies stay a bit stronger and may help us ward off germs better—especially during the fall and winter months.
Certain foods have even larger immune-boosting abilities. Take a peek at these top foods and try to add them to your diet this fall.
Garlic. Known for its health benefits, garlic also helps boost your immune system. It’s so easy to add garlic to almost any meal. Making soup or stew? Throw in chopped garlic about ten minutes before you’re ready to serve. It takes this long for the chemicals in garlic to be released.
Spinach. Packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and beta carotene, spinach can keep your immune system strong. Add to salads, soups, stews and stir fry meals. Try a homemade greek spanakopita or add some baby spinach to a sandwich or panini. There are literally dozens of ways to incorporate more greens like spinach to our diet.
Yogurt. The opposite of anti is pro and yogurts are full of PRObiotics! This is not only good when we need to take antibiotics, but also to keep your immune system buzzing with good bacteria. Look for low sugar yogurts and switch brands often to make sure you are getting different strains of the good bacteria. Labels should read ” live and active cultures”. Yogurts also are rich in Vitamin D. Kefir is another great choice.
Tea. Both green tea and white tea can boost your immune system because they are full of antioxidants. Green tea in particular has high levels of EGCG, a powerful antioxidant. Look for organic teas and stock up on herbal blends with added herbs or fruits like echinacea, lemon or ginger.
Berries. Although many berries are not in season, they can easily be frozen. Add them to salads, smoothies, and oatmeal bowls. Blueberries, in particular, are rich in a flavonoid called anthocyanin, which can play a role in our body’s defense mechanisms.
Turmeric. Known to be anti-inflammatory, the yellow spice turmeric can be used in cooking or taken in supplement form.
Cirtus. Jam-packed with vitamin C, oranges and kiwis are commonly reached for when we are coming down with a cold. While science hasn’t proven the benefits of vitamin C and colds yet (studies vary), getting some extra C can’t hurt, even if it’s the placebo effect working. Eating extra fruit with vitamin C is still an excellent health choice.
Mushrooms. While not everyone loves them, mushrooms have vitamin D, which can keep our immune systems purring happily. They also have vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that can be helpful for strong immunity.
Honey. This is a powerhouse of antioxidants and has anti-bacterial properties too! Add honey to tea for a healthy immunity drink or take a few teaspoons a day when you feel run down or have a small cold or cough. I’m a big believer in the properties of honey.
Along with eating immune-boosting power foods, getting enough sleep and exercise are important steps for keeping your body strong and healthy. Minimize stress, laugh more and stay involved with friends and family. These are also ways to keep our immune systems revved up strong (and happy)
IMMUNE WEAKENER ALERT! Sugar is one of the top culprits to weaken the immune system. Sugar is known to cause inflammation in our bodies. The more we are in this constant state of inflammation, the harder it is to ward off germs and colds. Cut your sugar consumption by choosing fruits (and a little organic dark chocolate) to satisfy sweet cravings.