Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent those frequent colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Plan your meals to include these 10 powerful immune system boosters :
1. Citrus fruits
Most people turn to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system. These are key to fighting infections.Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C.
2. Bell 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.
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 is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. It may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses.
Look for yoghurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yoghurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yoghurts rather than the kinds that are pre-flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten with healthy fruits instead.Yoghurt is a great source of vitamin D.
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.
This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.
9. Green tea
Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or 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. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
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.
It has decent amounts of potassium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
Simply eating right is a great start to protect you and your family from the flu, cold, and other illnesses.