Regardless of the time of year, we are constantly at battle with germs. They are essentially around us at all times. Not only can we not see germs and harmful bacteria, but many times we don’t even know our body is attacking those foreign substances in our body because it does so without us feeling a thing. The unfortunate part is when our immune system is compromised and can’t effectively kill the foreign substance – ultimately causing us to become sick.
While everyone is out stocking up on medicine and clearing the shelves, what they fail to realize is that there are certain foods you should be purchasing and eating to boost the immune system. There are numerous foods that help boost the immune system and below are some of my favorites you should consider picking up on your next trip to the grocery store.
If you are looking to boost the immune system and kick it into high gear, you need to fuel it with the necessary micronutrients. Raw spinach is a fantastic addition to anyone’s diet as it is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. Simply grab a handful and use it as a salad or toss a handful in the blender with your protein shake.
2. Sunflower Seeds
No, sunflower seeds aren’t just for baseball players. In fact, they’re slammed with the powerful antioxidant vitamin E which is incredibly important for immunity. Vitamin E can help boost the immune system as well as help keep it functioning properly. Eat them as a snack or toss some in a delicious salad.
3. Citrus Fruits
This should come as no surprise, but citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit to name a few are slammed full of vitamin C. What does everyone say you need to help boost the immune system and ward off sicknesses? Vitamin C. Your body does not store vitamin C in the body, so you need to make sure you are consuming citrus fruits on a daily basis to ensure you’re getting your daily recommended intake. You can use them as a snack, in yogurt, or in a green leafy salad.
Yes, broccoli is extremely helpful in your attempt to boost the immune system. And no, this didn’t get thrown on the list to try and get you to eat more greens – which you should be doing regularly anyway. But the nice thing about broccoli is that it contains vitamins A, C, and E. Essentially, it's like taking everything we mentioned above from a key micronutrient standpoint and packed it into one green vegetable. Broccoli should be a "must-have" on your grocery list.
5. Red Bell Peppers
Think loading up on oranges is your best bet for taking in adequate amounts of vitamin C? Think again. If you want to boost the immune system, grab yourself some red bell peppers. When you compare red bell peppers to the citrus fruits mentioned above, red bell peppers have twice the amount of immunity-boosting vitamin C. Red bell peppers can be used as a snack, in salads, in sandwiches, and anywhere you want a little extra flavor.
6. Greek Yogurt
If you want to stay healthy and boost the immune system, pay close attention to your gut health. The healthy bacteria found in your gut can help you fight off bacteria entering your body. Want to keep the good bacteria healthy and functioning optimally? Then you need to feed them through the use of probiotics. Greek yogurt provides a helpful dose of active and live cultures to support proper gut health while also aiding in boosting immunity through its vitamin D content.
7. Button Mushrooms
Are you a fan of mushrooms? If so, eat more. Mushrooms are a great way to boost the immune system thanks to the vitamin B content, riboflavin, selenium, and polysaccharides. Toss them in a salad, eat them as a snack, top your pizza with them, or put them on top of your favorite protein sources such as chicken or steak.
Who doesn’t love watermelon? It’s sweet. It’s delicious. It’s low in calories. And it can help boost the immune system. Can you ask for anything more? Watermelon is full of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, and glutathione which can keep your immune system functioning optimally.
Whether you’re fighting an illness or Dracula himself, garlic can help boost the immune system. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that has immune-boosting properties. You can add garlic to many different dishes to not only add a little extra flavor to a meal but also provide you with some helpful health benefits as well.
Grab your nuts! Almonds, cashews, whatever you prefer! Nuts are full of vitamins like C and E that can help boost the immune system and keep it healthy. The great thing about nuts is that they have a variety of uses. A handful can be used as a healthy snack option in the middle of the day. You can put some nuts in your salad to boost the protein and healthy fat content (not to mention add some flavor). You can even add them to your yogurt (which also made our list) or oatmeal.
I saved the most unusual for last. Not many people would think that shellfish are a good way to boost the immune system, but they are. Why is that? It’s due to the high zinc concentration in things like oysters, clams, crabs, and mussels. Zinc plays a key role in the health and function of our immune system. Adding shellfish to your weekly nutrition plan not only keeps things fresh and interesting but comes with the additional immunity benefits.