Even with winter on its way out, our bodies never take a break from fighting off germs and sickness. As soon as you start to feel sick, your immune system goes into full combat mode to get rid of any viruses or bacteria. One of the best things you can do this winter to stay healthy is fuel your body with vitamins and antioxidants that will make your immune system’s job a little easier. Finding the right nutrients to give your body is easier said than done. Here are five immune boosting foods to add to your shopping cart:
Not only is garlic a tasty staple in many households, it also reduces risk of heart disease, improves mental health, and enhances your immune function to protect against the common cold and flu. The compound allicin is the main active ingredient. It contains sulfur and quickly converts to other sulfur-containing compounds, which are thought to give garlic its medicinal properties. Studies show these compounds boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells when they encounter viruses like the cold or flu. Unfortunately, it is possible to deactivate the alliinase when cooked, so experts recommend crushing your garlic and letting it stand for 10 minutes before cooking it.
When your immune system is working overtime, it can actually affect your body negatively. That’s where ginger comes in. Ginger has been found to help balance and enhance the protective functions of the immune system, helping it work properly again after being overactive. That’s why ginger root is an active ingredient in Everyday Throat Spray! Ginger tea is excellent to drink during the winter to stay warm since it’s diaphoretic, meaning it promotes sweating, working to warm the body from within. If you’re not a fan of ginger tea, ginger pairs well with different types of seafood, pork, chicken, apples, oranges, and much more. It’s extremely easy to add to most recipes and super beneficial!
Broccoli is the Superman of immune boosting foods. It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Broccoli is loaded with vitamins K, E, and C plus potassium, chromium, magnesium, and folic acid. The compounds indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane exhibit anti-cancer effects, as most cruciferous vegetables do. Broccoli is also a very good detoxifier, helping to remove toxins like uric acid from the body and purify the blood to keep away toxin-related problems. Particularly for immune system function, the selenium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus in broccoli can protect you from many infections.
Popeye had the right idea. Spinach is another amazing superfood packed with antioxidants that shield immune cells and encourage the production of bacteria-fighting white blood cells. Plus, spinach has a ton of vitamins A, C and K and zinc, which are awesome for kicking colds and boosting the immune system! Spinach, along with most dark, leafy greens, is also important for skin, hair, and bone health. It has something for every part of your body, from lowering your cholesterol to protecting your colon to maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system.
You can find yogurt at pretty much any grocery or convenience store. Its biggest health seller are the probiotics, the active microorganisms that help balance out harmful bacteria in the gut. The results are improved digestion, protection against colon cancer and gum disease, and an overall immunity boost. A happy gut means a happy body! Additionally, it is an excellent source of vitamin D, which plays a role in regulating the body’s immune and tissue function. There is also a continuing study about the body’s ability to express antibacterial proteins from vitamin D. Yogurt is also packed with protein and calcium, making it a healthy and filling snack.
All of these immune boosting foods are easily accessible in grocery stores and go great in any recipe! Adding these into your daily diet, especially during cold and flu season, can arm your immune system for the worst. To find other tips and supplements for staying healthy this winter, download our free Winter Immunity Guide and get it before it gets you!