Flu season or not flu season, keeping your immune system strong year round is vital to maintain optimal health. Billions of dollars are spent every year on various over-the-counter medicines to help prevent people from getting sick or help get them healthy faster. However, there is an easier, cheaper way to make sure your immune system is keeping you healthy. Nutrition and well being, can keep your immune system strong year round.
Making sure you get enough sleep, 7 to 9 hours per night, drinking enough water, 8 to 10 glasses per day, and exercising regularly are good foundational pieces to maintaining a strong immune system. However, we all have times where we slip and don’t do enough to keep our immune system running strong. Fortunately, there are specific foods that can help boost and maintain a strong, healthy immune system. Below are 8 foods that can help give your immune system a little extra boost to help ensure you have a strong immune system year round.
Garlic is incredibly beneficial to your immune system because it offers antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. One clove of raw garlic contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds. Raw garlic will give the biggest boost to your immune system compared to cooked garlic. This is not to say that cooked garlic is bad or won’t give your immune system a boost; rather, some of the nutritional and antibacterial properties are eliminated when it is cooked. Also, unlike common pharmaceuticals, your body will not build up a resistance to garlic.
Mushrooms contain high amounts of antioxidants, protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, and other minerals. In addition, mushrooms contain beta-glucans, which help jumpstart or stimulate your immune system into action. Mushrooms also contain ergothioneine, which provides blood cells with oxygen and nutrients keeping the body healthy and able to fight of diseases and viruses.
Fermented food will help improve your immune system, but kefir is a favorite of ours. Kefir helps introduce “good” bacteria into your gut and help keep your gut and digestive system healthy. A healthy digestive system helps keep your immune system strong and helps remove toxins from your body. In addition to improving your digestive health, kefir helps produce antibodies.
Whether you like green tea or black tea you are in luck because both offer immune boosting properties. Both green tea and black tea contain high amounts of both polyphenols and flavonoids. These two antioxidants work to destroy free radical cells that cause disease in the first place.
Elderberries, Acai Berries, Blueberries and Raspberries. These berries are very high in antioxidant compared to other fruits and vegetables. Berries are also rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, phytochemicals that help protect cells from being damaged. The darker the berry, elderberry, blueberry or acai berry, the higher the amount of bioflavonoids it contains. Blueberries have been found to contain stilbenoids, which works to with vitamin D to increase your cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) gene to boost your immune system.
Oysters make this list for their high amount of zinc. Much like garlic, oysters provide the best boost when consumed raw. In addition to the high amount of zinc contained in oysters, they also contain high amounts of protein, vitamins B12 and D, copper, selenium, manganese and iron. Focusing on zinc, zinc is important in strengthening your immune systems response by helping white blood cells reproduce more rapidly. White blood cells help destroy disease-causing microorganisms. Zinc also efficiently wards off infections by enhancing the actions of antibodies.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin A is a important in keeping your body and immune system strong. It helps keep your skin, which is the fist layer of defense against germs, bacteria and viruses that try to weaken your immune system and make you sick. Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, which the body quickly turns into vitamin A. Additionally; sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin C.
Watermelon probably isn’t the first food you think of when you want to try and boost your immune system. However, watermelon contains several different vitamins and minerals to help strengthen and help rebuild a weak immune system. The glutathione found in watermelon, near the rind of the fruit, is responsible for helping rebuild the immune system. Lycopene also offers an array of health-building benefits, including reducing respiratory inflammation to help fight off various infections and bacteria. Finally, watermelon contains a high concentration of water, which helps flush out toxins from your body and keep you properly hydrated.
With all the toxins our bodies are exposed to on a daily basis it is important to keep your immune system healthy and strong all year long, not just when you start feeling sick. These 8 natural ways to boost your immune system can be incorporated into your daily diet and constantly keep your immune system running at its peak. The best part about these 8 immunity boosters is that they are easily accessible. You can find these items in your local store or already in your kitchen! To help bolster your defenses and avoid getting sick use some or all of these natural immunity boosters consistently.