It turns out that an apple a day may not necessarily keep the doctor away, but feeding your body immune boosting foods will definitely help!
If you’re looking for ways to boost your immune system and fight off winter colds and flu, you need to make sure your diet is at its best. Combine some, or all of these powerful immune system boosters, and have fun planning your meals.
Immune Boosting Breakfasts:
We’ll start with a food that many people turn to after they’ve caught a cold… citrus fruit.
Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which helps to build up your immune system and increase the production of white blood cells; helping to fight infections. As your body does not produce or store vitamin C, you should try and get your daily dose for continued health, and adding a citrus twist to your breakfast is a great way to do so. There are so many citrus fruits to choose from including: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, limes, and clementines; so why not mix it up.
Probiotics, or the “live active cultures” found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs. Look for yogurts that have “live active cultures” on the label; you’ll find this with Greek yogurt or plain yogurts, rather than the ones that are flavoured and overloaded with sugar. By opting for plain yogurt, you have the opportunity to add natural sweetness with fruit such as berries, or you could add honey. This would make a great breakfast, and it’s always good to start your day already building your immune system.
Yogurts are also a good source of vitamin D, which helps to regulate the immune system and boost your body’s natural defense against disease.
Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of fibre that has antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities, which help to boost immunity, speed up wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better. Porridge is another great breakfast option, especially when adding fruit, honey, and nuts.
Immune Boosting Lunches:
It’s a super food for a reason, and some of those reasons are that spinach is rich in vitamin C and packed with numerous antioxidants and beta-carotene. This all helps to increase the infection-fighting abilities of our immune systems. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, spinach makes for a great side to so many dishes. But to give this green beauty the centre stage, make a spinach salad for a yummy lunch.
Speaking of salads, seeds are a great and crunchy addition to a leafy lunch! Sunflower seeds are jam-packed full of nutrients, including phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. They’re also extremely high in vitamin E, with 82% of the daily-recommended amount in just a quarter-cup serving. That’s a perfect amount to add to your spinach salad!
Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant, important in regulating and maintaining immune system function.
Spinach, goat’s cheese, & sunflower seed salad recipe: need to find recipe
Ginger is an ingredient that many people turn to for its powerful health benefits. It helps to decrease inflammation, which is great for illnesses such as a sore throat, and it also helps to decrease nausea, and holds cholesterol-lowering properties. A simple way to add ginger into your diet is by whizzing it into a juice. There are so many juice recipes out there, carrot, apple, and ginger is a firm favourite.
Recipe by Power Hungry
- 1 cup sliced strawberries, divided
- 1-1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Fresh black pepper and sea salt
- 3 cups pre-washed baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
- A few chunks of feta cheese
- Process ¼ cup strawberries, vinegar and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Season with black pepper and sea salt to taste.
- Place the spinach, sunflower seeds, cheese, and remaining strawberries in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette to coat.
Immune Boosting Snacks:
It’s not all about vitamin C when it comes to boosting your immune system; vitamin E is also important! Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the occurrence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts are packed with vitamin E and also have healthy fats. When you have the urge to snack, try having half a cup serving (approximately 46) whole, shelled almonds. This will provide you with almost 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.
Fruit is the perfect healthy snack, especially when you’re craving something sweet. Papaya would be a good choice as it’s rich in vitamin C, with 224% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have good quantities of potassium, B vitamins, and folate; these all benefit to your overall health.
Immune Boosting Dinners:
We all know that we should be getting our fair share of greens, and what better time to stock up than at Dinner!
One particular vegetable that should definitely be a regular in any diet is broccoli. Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals, loaded with vitamin A, C, and E, as well as a variety of antioxidants and fibre. Broccoli really is an all rounder, and one of the healthiest veggies you can put on your plate.
Garlic is living proof that healthy food is not boring! It’s found in almost every cuisine in the world and adds bags of flavour to any dish; plus, it does wonders for your health. Garlic’s immune boosting properties come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin. Though it doesn’t bode well for your breath, it most definitely does for your health, so add it to your dinner dishes.
Chicken: (chicken soup)
Ever felt like the only thing you want is chicken soup when you’re feeling under the weather? We can confirm that this comfort food classic is exactly what you need to boost your immune system. It helps to improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect from illness in general. Chicken is high in vitamin B-6, and approximately 85 grams contains around 40 to 50 percent of your daily-recommended amount. Vitamin B-6 is an important part in many chemical reactions that happen in the body, and is a key player in the formation of new and healthy red blood cells.
Variety is key when it comes to a healthy diet, so eating just one of these immune boosting foods won’t be enough. Try and add as many of these foods into your diet as possible; your immune system will love you for it.
Want to know more about how the foods we eat have an effect on our health? Read our post on Foods That Lower Cholesterol Naturally.