For the most part, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. The healthier and fitter you are to start with, the stronger your immune system is. But sometimes it fails. And now we are all concerned with the highly contagious Cornonavirus, or COVID-19.
Anything we can do to hedge our bets and give us an edge to fighting off viral, bacterial and parasitic invaders in our body, the better we will be. And if we do happen to catch a cold or virus, the stronger your immune defense will be to give it out and recover quicker.
Here is our list of the TOP 10 Immune Boosting Foods:
- Citrus Fruits: Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are the soldiers responsible for fighting off infections. The body does not produce or store vitamin C, so it is important to get it daily from whole foods or supplements. The whole fruit with all the delicious fiber is preferred over juiced fruit. Citrus fruits include: Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemons, Limes, Tangerines & Clementines
- Garlic: Garlic adds a delicious zing to food and early civilizations recognized its infection-fighting properties. The heavy concentrations of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin, have immune boosters, but garlic may also help to lower blood pressure – BONUS!
- Spinach: Spinach is packed with beta-carotene, antioxidants and vitamin C, which increases our infection-fighting abilities. Spinach is best consumed in its raw state so that it retains its nutrients.
- Turmeric: This bright-yellow, bitter spice is the main ingredient in curries. The high concentrations of curcumin in turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help decrease exercise-induced muscle-fatigue. Curcumin can also be taken in supplement form.
- Green Tea: Green Tea is packed with flavonoids and EGCG – epigallocatechin gallate, a powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to enhance the immune system. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
- Greek Yogurt: Greek Yogurt can be a great source of vitamin D, which boosts the body’s natural defenses against pathogens. But look for yogurts that are fortified with Vitamin D and ‘live & active cultures.’ Flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar, so get Plain and add your own fruit or a little honey.
- Ginger: Ginger is a ‘sweet heat’ when eaten. It decreases nausea, reduces inflammation, relieves chronic pain and has cholesterol-lowering properties.
- Poultry: Chicken soup is not just a feel-good food when you are sick. Chicken and turkey is high in vitamin B6, which is a vital player in the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. It can improve symptoms of a cold and keep you from getting a cold in the first place. The broth made from boiling the bones contains gelatin and chondroitin, which is also helpful for immunity and gut health.
- Almonds: Almonds are packed with vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin and healthy fats, which are essential to revving up the immune system. About 46 whole almonds provide 100% of your daily vitamin E recommendation.
- Broccoli: Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables, packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and many other antioxidants. The key to its magical powers though, is cooking it as little as possible, or better yet – consuming it raw.
Hopefully, there are still some of these foods left at the grocery store! So stock up if you can, plan some healthy Almond Chicken with Broccoli meals, and kick that immune system into high gear!
~Michelle Ann Keely, CEO
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
Precision Nutrition Certified Coach
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