5 Foods To Boost Your Immune System
There are a number of ways to strengthen your immune system. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, managing stress, washing your hands properly and exercising all help. However, some foods work even better than others to bolster your immunity. Here are 5 of the best.
There aren’t any miracle foods or supplements that can boost your immunity — but nutrient-rich diets and healthier lifestyle habits can go a long way in strengthening your body’s natural defenses. During cold and flu season, when you’re most likely to catch a virus, it’s important to make sure your immune system is in tip-top shape. But boosting your health and keeping your immune system in good working order all year round is a goal worth striving for, too. To boost your immunity, choose nuts and seeds that are rich in vitamin E (such as almonds) or selenium, a nutrient that helps regulate immune function. Eggs are another good source, as are dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, which are also great sources of vitamins C and K.
Tomatoes are an easy way to get a dose of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or added to sauces and stews. Tomato skin contains a pigment called lycopene, which can help reduce inflammation and prevent heart disease and cancer. It also helps to lower blood pressure in people with high levels of it. They are a good source of vitamin C, phosphorus, and iron. They are also a great source of antioxidants, including lycopene, beta carotene, and naringenin.
Antioxidants, like those in blueberries, help protect your cells from oxidative stress. This is caused by a variety of factors, including metabolism, pollution, smoking and alcohol. Adding more antioxidant-rich foods to your diet can reduce the negative effects of oxidative stress, which makes you more susceptible to diseases. These berries also don’t cause much of a spike in your blood sugar. Their glycemic index is below 53, which means they’re safe for people with diabetes.
4. Green Tea
Drinking one cup of green tea per day can boost your immune function. It’s rich in antioxidants, especially the powerful catechins. These are responsible for the immune-boosting properties of the drink. And if you don’t like the taste of green tea, try black tea. This tea is a healthy alternative to green tea, and it contains less catechins, but still has great health benefits.
Mushrooms are among the best foods to boost your immune system, and they’re a powerhouse of antioxidants. They also provide key nutrients for immune health, such as zinc and selenium. The most potent immune-boosting mushrooms include reishi, shiitake and maitake. These contain lentinan, a polysaccharide that has been shown to stimulate macrophages and enhance immune response. Beta-glucans, found in all medicinal mushrooms, are another important part of the immune-boosting superpowers of mushrooms. They also have a prebiotic effect, nourishing the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. Reishi, shiitake, maitake and turkey tail are all renowned for their immune-boosting properties. You can find them in tincture, teas and powders to add into your daily smoothie or supplement.