Since fall has just arrived, you might be concerned about the flu that's been going around. Why wait to have a runny nose and get treatment when you can start to boost your immune system right now with the help of excellent nutritious food?
During the cold season, I get a runny nose all the time, even if I don’t have a cold. Sometimes things go worse and my immune system weakens so much that I get a fever. Ever since I became a mother, I am more preoccupied with boosting my and my daughter’s immune systems. In my family, we avoid taking pills as much as we can – though we have to use them from time to time – so we try to take advantage of natural remedies.
I’ve discovered that ginger works pretty well for me, but my daughter doesn’t like its spicy taste that much. So, I’ve done some research and found out that there are other foods out there which can boost your immune system, too.
7 foods that boost your immune system
One of Maria’s favorite fruits is blueberries. We sometimes have wild blueberries in our pantry, since we often go to the countryside or the mountains, but we also buy cultivated blueberries. Both options are amazing and they boost your immune system.
Blueberries have antioxidant properties. A 2016 study noted that flavonoids in blueberries play an essential role in the respiratory tract's immune defense system. Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection or a common cold than those who did not.
Our immune system can be bolstered by both vitamin C and the anthocyanins found in blueberry tea.
2. Citrus fruits
Everybody knows that vitamin C fights colds. That’s because it helps build up your immune system, by increasing the production of white blood cells, which fight infections. But our bodies don't produce or store vitamin C, so we need daily vitamin C to be healthy.
Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. It’s a good idea to eat grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, or clementines every day.
Broccoli is another great source of vitamin C. It also contains potent antioxidants, such as sulforaphane. It’s supercharged with vitamins like A, C, and E, minerals, and fiber. Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. It might seem like a boring vegetable but, if you know how to cook it, it can be quite tasty. Still, for more nutritional value, cook it as little as possible or not at all.
Spinach might boost the immune system too, as it contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E. Flavonoids might help prevent the common cold. Spinach can also help your immune system fight infections.
Speaking of health benefits, just like in the case of broccoli, spinach is better raw than cooked. However, light cooking enhances the intake of its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. It has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes. Still, more research is necessary to confirm whether or not it can effectively prevent illness.
Ginger root can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form, or as juice. I usually make ginger hot tea and drink it with lemon, but there are also many dishes, desserts, and drinks that include ginger.
Garlic is a common home remedy for preventing colds. It is thought that it can boost your immune system. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Research has found that people who take garlic supplements are more likely to resist colds than people taking a placebo. Still, more research is necessary.
Since garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world, you can include it often in your diet, especially during the cold season. Also, the best way to eat it is raw.
7. Green tea
Drinking green tea might boost your immune system. Green tea is also a healthier alternative to coffee and black tea, since it contains a small amount of caffeine.
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. But green tea has something more to offer: a high level of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which might aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells. As with blueberries, green tea contains flavonoids, which might reduce the risk of a cold.
The best way to have it is to drink green tea, but you can also add it to desserts and other dishes.