Taking care of your health is crucial if you want to live a long healthy life and prevent common colds from ruining your plans. Unfortunately, many people don’t take care of their immune systems because they don’t know how. Eating an unhealthy diet can suppress your immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses like colds, flu, and serious illnesses. Luckily, eating a healthy diet can significantly impact your health. Here are a few foods that will boost your immunity.
- Leafy Greens
Kale, spinach, and broccoli are some of the best foods for boosting your immunity because they contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to increase your body’s ability to fight off infection. In addition, leafy greens have a compound that promotes gut health. When eating leafy greens, consider eating them raw when possible to retain as many of the nutrients as possible.
Nuts contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that promotes immunity and overall health. Almonds are some of the healthiest nuts and contain protein and fats to keep your energy levels high and to keep you awake enough to make it to the gym after work, another activity that supports immunity.
- Herbs and Spices
Many herbs promote health and wellness, with ginger and garlic being some of the most popular. Ginger has long been used as medicine for upset stomachs, coughs, and colds because it’s loaded with powerful natural chemicals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties to improve immunity. Garlic is also a powerful herb that can reduce your risk of getting the common cold.
Spices have also long been used in medicine to promote health. Spices like turmeric, pepper, and cinnamon have all been recognized for their immune-boosting abilities. In addition, spices can cleanse your body and have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties to keep you healthy and fight illnesses if you’re already sick.
Gut health is crucial for immunity, and yogurt contains probiotics, good bacteria that can improve digestion and gut health. Fermented dairy products, including yogurt and cottage cheese, are rich in probiotics, but you can also take a probiotic supplement if you have a lactose intolerance.
- Citrus Fruits
You don’t have to work in the medical field to know the importance of vitamin C for boosting immunity. Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant that helps fight viruses and improves your immune system, reducing the symptoms associated with the common cold. Of course, you can also take a vitamin C supplement if you don’t eat enough citrus fruits.
Tea is made from herbs, but we consider it its own type of “food.” because it can consist of multiple herbs or a single herb, depending on the type of tea you like. Green tea is one of the most commonly known teas for boosting immunity because it contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that can protect against free radicals. Green tea may also help with weight loss and regulate blood sugar levels, both of which are crucial for immunity.
Papaya is a fruit that’s loaded with vitamin C, and a single medium papaya contains more than the daily recommended amount of vitamin C for adults. They also contain an enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory properties, potassium, magnesium, and folate.
Kiwis are another fruit full of essential nutrients that support immunity, including vitamin K and C. Vitamin C helps your body fight infection, while vitamin K may help the body absorb vitamin D. Kiwis contain more vitamin C than a medium orange and contain rich antioxidants to fight the effects of aging from the inside out.
Blueberries contain anthocyanin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties that can boost your immune system and maintain respiratory tract health. Foods rich in flavonoids can prevent upper respiratory infections and common colds.
Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which can help boost immunity and protect the body from free radical damage that can contribute to aging and disease. Of course, only dark chocolate contains enough of these compounds, so milk chocolate will not offer the same potential benefits. In addition, chocolate is high in calories and fat, so it should only be eaten in moderation and is not considered an actual health food.
Everyone should aim to eat more fish because it contains omega-3 fatty acids that support skin, heart, and overall health. Fish oil can support joint health while boosting the immune system to help you feel more energized and prevent joint conditions like arthritis.
- Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes aren’t just a Thanksgiving food; you can eat them year-round to reap the health benefits. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant responsible for the orange color. Beta-carotene is a type of vitamin A that supports eye and skin health while protecting the body from free radical damage.
Kefir is a drink made from fermented milk and contains live bacteria. It offers many of the same benefits as yogurt because it contains probiotics. Kefir has been proven to fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and increase antioxidant activity to support overall health while boosting immunity. Of course, many of the studies on kefir have only been done on animals, so the jury is still out. Still, there’s no harm in adding kefir to your diet and seeing if it improves how you feel.
- Red Bell Pepper
Red bell pepper can help you avoid the high sugar content in fruit while still getting all the vitamin C you need to fight viruses. You can eat raw red bell pepper or roast it to preserve its nutrient content, making it a great crunchy snack instead of processed foods.
Boosting Your Immune System
While diet plays an important role in overall health, it’s not the only thing you should consider when trying to improve your overall health. Exercise is also important for increasing immunity by allowing you to improve your heart and lung health. In addition, avoiding bad habits like drinking and smoking and minimizing stress can boost your immunity further to improve your health in the long run.
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.