7 Foods for a Healthy Immune System
Supporting your immune system with the proper vitamins, minerals and nutrients can give your body a fighting chance against flu, colds and other infections that run rampant this time of year. Don’t forget that in addition to these super immune supporting foods you should also:
Eat a varied diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Wash your hand frequently.
Greek or European yogurt contains a whole host of probiotics or “good” bacteria that can help keep your gut healthy and running smoothly. A healthy gut is important for two reasons. First, it can dispose of any bad pathogens you come into contact with through food or your hands, and secondly, a healthy gut means you will properly digest your food and obtain the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
There’s a reason that folk tales say that garlic keeps vampires away! In fact, garlic contains allicin, much like onions and shallots, which is a known anti-bacterial. In a study in England, those who were given a garlic extract were 60% less likely to contract common viruses and infections.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains like oats and barley have beta-glucan, which is a fiber with proven antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. These grains can assist antibiotics in their work, and boost immunity, and speeds healing.
Tea is high in a compound called L-theanine, an amino acid which boosts the immune system. Black and green teas are highest in this compound, and you can drink up to several cups a day to get your fill of L-theanine. This compound is also prominent in decaffeinated teas too, so drink those if you are sensitive to caffeine.
5. Chicken Soup
This magic cure from mom’s kitchen really does work! The mix of vegetables, protein from the chicken, garlic’s antibacterial properties, and the salty broth work in many ways. The vegetables give you vitamins and minerals, while the broth helps keep you hydrated and makes sure your electrolytes are properly regulated.
Mushrooms have long been used in traditional medicine for a variety of illnesses, but recent studies have shown that mushrooms do actually help your body fight off infections by making the white blood cells more aggressive, and therefore more effective.
Zinc is a vital mineral for your immune system, and most American adults are in fact zinc deficient. As vegetarian diets become more common and Americans generally cut back on beef, our zinc deficiency becomes even worse. Zinc supports the development of white blood cells, which fight off infection. Even a mild zinc deficiency can result in increased risk of infection. So if you’ve cut back your beef intake, consider having it instead of another meat at least one to two times a week.
Other foods loaded with zinc:
Try incorporating any of these super-immunity foods into your diet to support your immune system.