Immune Boosting Foods

It hasn’t escaped my attention these past few weeks, people asking questions on Facebook about what they should “take ” for a strong immune system.

I discussed it in yesterday’s Monday Musings post. My response on Facebook was a post on what I observed on a shopping trip.

I couldn’t help but notice when I was trying to pick up a few items last week that a vitamin I’ve taken for years was sold out as were many other vitamins/supplements

I joked that people were picking a fine time to decide to be healthy..

Seriously though, you can’t just throw a bunch of vitamins and supplements in and expect it to be some magic potion.

I actually read an article yesterday where a doctor said the same thing.

Keeping your body healthy and strong should be a daily goal for all of us, not just when you want to avoid a virus.

Let’s talk about food

Your best line of defense is feeding your body foods that help build and keep your immune system strong.

Real food. Your grocery cart is your best line of defense.

What are some of those foods? Let’s take a look.

》 Citrus fruits …interesting factoid…do you know your body doesn’t make or store Vitamin C? This is what most people turn to after they’ve caught a cold. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. They are key to fighting infections.

Popular citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines, and tangerines.

As mentioned with your body not producing it, this should be a vitamin you get daily fir immune health.

》Red Peppers

If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

》Broccoli
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.

》Garlic

Garlic is found in every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

》Spinach

Spinach made the list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.

》Yogurt

Look for yogurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are preflavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.

Yogurt can also be a great source of Vitamin D so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.

》Almonds

When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat soluble vitamin meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.

》Papaya

Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Papayas have decent amounts of potasium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.

》Kiwi
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin k, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.

-》Berries of all types.

Blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, elderberry etc. ( be sure to check out my post The Benefits of Elderberry) these dark fruits pack powerful antioxidants. Berries are a great source of vitamin C which is thought to help prevent damage to your cells and also protects the immune system against deficiencies. Dark berries like blackberries, strawberries and blueberries not only taste great but they are also a great source of flavanols which are highly effective antioxidants.

》 Poultry

When you’re sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food with a placebo effect. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.

Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.

》Shellfish

Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc.

Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.

Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:

  • crab
  • clams
  • lobster
  • mussels

Keep in mind that you don’t want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg and for women, it’s 8 mg. Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.

In conclusion

Keep in mind, these are a few foods to help build a strong immune system. Remember your best medicine is heading to the produce aisle for all of those wonderful colored fruits and veggies and making them a part of every meal.

I realized writing this, I eat almost all of these things, but wow, I need to try papaya!

Tell me do you have favorite foods that support a strong immune system?

Published by

Sassyfitnesschick

8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the fun...so adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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