18 Research Proved Foods that Boost Your Immune System

A strong immunity is a gateway to healthier living. It is the immune system of a human body that defends its host against diseases. The good news is that nature provides us with multiple immune boosting foods. You can eat these foods without pinching your nose because not only are these foods readily available everywhere, but they are also a source of great taste and flavor.

Admit this, we all hate diseases, be it the seasonal flu, diarrhea, or a chronic disease such as asthma. Having a strong immune system can help prevent those likely visits to the GPs and pharmacies.

The question is, how to boost the immune system naturally?

The answer is simple. Eat more immune-boosting foods.

IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS:

Let’s take a look at a comprehensive list of foods that boost the immune system.

Immune boosting foods

  1. Citrus fruits:

These fruits contain vitamin C that is important for the immune system of our bodies. Citrus fruits are therefore considered as one of the best immune system foods.

We need vitamin C to energize and support our immune system. It is embedded right within the immune cells, and the amount of this vitamin is closely related to the activity of these cells. Research has shown low levels of vitamin C in multiple disease cases. Fortunately, we can add more citrus fruit to our diet to get the required levels of vitamin C. Here’s a list of citrus fruits that serve as natural immune boosters:

  • Orange
  • Lemons
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Clementines

Note that the human body does not synthesize vitamin C and whatever amount of C vitamin we eat in the form of food, it is not stored for future use. Therefore, we need a regular supply of this vitamin. Add citrus fruits to your regular diet to prevent vitamin C deficiencies and to improve your immune system.

  1. Ginger:

You must have noticed that people consume ginger tea in winter seasons especially during an outbreak of flu. It has anti-bacterial properties and it, therefore, makes a significant part of the immune boosting foods. Ginger as a whole is difficult to eat, but we can add it to food and enjoy its flavor as well as its benefits.

Ayurveda, one of the oldest medical systems, highly praises ginger for its immune boosting properties. It is often termed as the mighty ginger. You can add ginger paste in food, use it to garnish, or add in your tea to benefit from its immune nutrition.

  1. Garlic:

It is widely used in different foods made across the globe. In addition to its wide range of cardiovascular benefits, garlic also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It was due to the antifungal properties of garlic that it was used to prevent gangrene at the time of world war.

Each clove of garlic has around 4 calories. You see, it is a low-caloric natural immune booster. Adding some garlic paste to the food will do the job.

Not only this, but it also has calcium, potassium, and various sulphuric compounds. The immune boosting effect of garlic is thought to be a result of sulfur compounds in its composition.

  1. Turmeric:

Curcumin, a component of turmeric, has excellent immunomodulatory properties and, therefore, makes a good immune system food/spice. It is traditionally known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Medical research has found profound effects of curcumin in the activation of immune cells.

You can easily incorporate turmeric powder in cooked food and get the immunity boost.

  1. Red bell peppers:

We talked about citrus fruits being a rich source of vitamin C, but there’s another food that boosts the immune system with as much as twice the amount of vitamin C compared to citrus. Bell peppers. These are a rich source of vitamin A and C that are both required to strengthen immunity and have anti-inflammatory properties. Not only this, but vitamin C in the bell peppers also keeps the skin healthy.

  1. Broccoli:

We have all known broccoli for years. Some like it, while others just hate it. Parents force it on children to eat broccoli because it is good for health. This is a vegetable that contains vitamins to boost the immune system. Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins, broccoli is one of the best in terms of nutrition-food to put on the table.

Note that broccoli loses its nutritional value if overcooked, and hence you won’t get the immune boosting food powers of this vegetable. It is best to eat it in raw form or cook it as little as you can.

  1. Spinach:

It is another green vegetable that is probably liked only by Popeye. However, lightly cooked spinach serves as an excellent source of vitamin A, C, and E, antioxidants, and beta-carotene, all helpful in improving the immune system and fighting off the diseases. Similar to broccoli, spinach has intact nutritional components only when it is not overcooked. It may not be the best in taste, but spinach is undoubtedly a natural immune building food.

  1. Nuts and seeds:

After broccoli and spinach, here’s some treat for the taste buds. Sunflower seeds and nuts like almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts are a rich source of vitamin E. Research shows that high vitamin E diets are a source of improving the weak immune system resulting from aging and AIDs. Due to its anti-oxidative properties, vitamin E fights against numerous diseases including oxidative stress, cataracts, cancer, and atherosclerosis. Simply add some nuts to your diet to get nature immune booster effects.

  1. Papaya:

A single papaya contains more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. It also contains a digestive enzyme, papain that has anti-inflammatory properties. Since vitamin C plays a useful role as an immune system booster, papayas make an excellent immune-boosting food.

Other than vitamin C, papayas are also a good source of folate, potassium and B vitamins. So, this fruit is good for overall health.

  1. Yogurt:

A healthy source of vitamin B12, protein, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, yogurt is being studied as food that boosts the immune system. A few researchers have found a positive relation between yogurt and immunity.

Nowadays, there are certain brands of yogurt that are fortified with vitamin D as well. Since D vitamin helps in the regulation of immunity, it is useful to add yogurt to the list of immune boosting foods.

  1. Chicken soup:

Research suggests that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections such as cold.  It is one of the most common foods used to improve the immune system when a person is sick from cold. Parents are usually reluctant to go for antibiotics in the case of seasonal flu; chicken soup – or bone broth – is a great alternative. It has high amounts of vitamin B-6 and keeps the body hydrated which is often not the case during sickness.

  1. Shellfish:

It is not the first thing to come to mind when thinking of foods that improve the immune system, but there are certain shellfish that are high in zinc content. Unlike vitamins, zinc fails to get its desired attention. It has not one, but multiple roles in the working of the immune system. Now that the importance of zinc is clear, let’s move on to the list of shellfish that have high amounts of zinc. Here’s a short list:

  • Clams
  • Lobsters
  • Crab
  • Mussels

The daily recommended dose of zinc for adults is 9mg for women and 11mg for men. Keep in mind that your intake should not cross this limit.

  1. Avocado:

This fruit is a good source of glutathione, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and avocados, therefore, boost the immune system naturally. Not only this, they help in improving digestion and lowering the bad cholesterols.

You can eat avocados in multiple ways. There are 100s of recipes for avocados use. Pick your favorites and start getting the benefits, or simply make some avocado milkshake and get loads of nutrients that way.

  1. Mushrooms:

These are two kinds of mushrooms:

  1. Edible
  2. Non-edible

mushrooms-food that boost immunityThe non-edibles might be pretty, but they are mostly poisonous. However, people have been inclined to edible mushrooms for centuries to improve their immune system. Modern day research confirms mushrooms as food that boost the immune system, especially for cancer patients. Mushrooms have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, and hepatoprotective (liver protecting) properties.

Some of the mushrooms that you should add to your diet are as follows:

  • Agaricus blazei
  • Shiitake
  • Reishi
  • Maitake
  • Hen of the woods
  • Cordyceps Sinensis
  1. Olive oil:

The oil extracted from the fruit of olive has been in use for thousands of years. Today, it is popular as having multiple health benefits. Not only does it improve immunity, but it also helps fight cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, oxidative stress, and even depression. It is super easy to include olive oil to your diet.

  1. Green tea:

This makes one of the most popular teas across the world. Most people drink green tea because of its taste, but there are numerous health benefits as well. During old times, folks used to attribute green tea as an agent that helps fight certain ailments. Modern research confirms most of that. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is the main ingredient of green tea that imparts it most of the health-related benefits.

The consumption of green tea has been linked to the prevention of different types of cancers. Green tea strengthens the immune system by protecting our body against oxidants and radicals. So, have you been looking for ways to boost the immune system naturally? Green tea is one answer.

  1. Elderberry:

This berry has been in use by our ancestors for healing skin. The medicinal properties of elderberry are related to the presence of polyphenol compounds that act as antioxidants and exert positive effects on immune system stimulation.

Other than chicken soup, elderberry is another food that boosts your immune system against cold. It is a delightful fruit. Use elderberry syrup if you are fighting cold or flu.  It shortens the duration of flu up to 3 days.

Note:

  • Children should NOT be given elderberry syrup without consultation from the physician.
  • Do NOT use unripe and uncooked elderberries. They may be poisonous.
  • Do NOT consume the leaves of the elderberry plant.
  1. Honey:

The medicinal uses of honey have been documented in the ancient literature, and its use can be tracked as far as we know the history. Honey is used for its wound healing effects and antimicrobial properties. A sizeable evidence suggests that honey is a natural immune booster. It has anti-cancer properties and increases the antibody production for immune response. In short, oral consumption of honey can help you fight many diseases.

You can use it as a bread spread, just like that chocolate spread, or add it to milk just like you add sugar. Honey is sweet; it has great taste, and we can easily take one spoon of honey on a daily basis.

Conclusion:

When it comes to diseases, we prefer taking antibiotics, even though nature is full of stuff that helps fight diseases. The take of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, on the subject of food was as follows:

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

It all starts with better immunity. Stronger the immune system, stronger you. Do not wait for a disease to trouble you before you go looking for ways to boost your immune system. Now is the time to take care of your health. Whether you are ill or healthy, consider taking the above-mentioned foods that will naturally boost your immune system.

Humans are busy like never before, and the importance of a strong immune system and related foods may not cross their mind. However, this should be the most important question because food that serves as immune booster serves as a way forward in healthy living.

Don’t forget to include citrus fruits, ginger, garlic, turmeric, honey, mushroom, and almonds in your diet.

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