A healthy diet is important for maintaining a strong immune system. The immune system thrives on a diet made up of whole foods, and foods rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This list contains foods that have high levels of these nutrients.
Some of these foods may already be a part of your diet. Keeping in mind their excellent immune boosting qualities provides an incentive to eat them even more.
Foods for Immune System Support
Garlic has many healing qualities that can help your immune system defeat bacterial, viral and even fungal infections. It contains allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates — three powerful compounds that help the body prevent and fight infections. Garlic has been used throughout history in many cultures to prevent illnesses. Incorporating garlic into your diet is a great way to help prevent colds, the flu, and other illnesses.
Fermented foods contain a variety of friendly bacteria (probiotics) that are necessary for a healthy digestive system. Adding additional healthy bacteria to the gut provides a stronger defense for immunity by fighting to reduce the bad bacteria. Maintaining high levels of good bacteria in the gut is what keeps someone from getting sick. Some fermented foods to try are yogurt (non-dairy if you cannot tolerate milk), kombucha, sauerkraut, or water kefir.
High levels of antioxidants in green tea provide an immediate boost to the immune system. Antioxidants assist the immune system in its battle against free radicals that come from the pollution in your air, water, and food. Studies have shown that green tea also has strong cancer-fighting properties. A regular dose of green tea is an excellent way to support your immune system.
Ginger has been traditionally used to treat colds and the flu because it is a strong antioxidant and a natural antimicrobial. The warming properties of ginger can also help to clear some nasal congestion if there are already signs of a cold. Drinking ginger tea works well as a preventative method.
Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, a nutrient that the body breaks down to make vitamin A. Vitamin A helps strengthen the immune system and also aids in cancer prevention. Research suggests that vitamin A may help keep the respiratory system healthy, which is particularly helpful when you have a cold or the flu. Pumpkin can be added to a variety of different recipes such as bread, muffins or pancakes and it’s even great on its own, cubed and roasted.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid which the body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes or influenza. Including coconut oil in your regular diet helps to prevent getting sick and helps keep immune response strong. Use coconut oil in place of other cooking oils or butter to get more of it into your diet.