Eating for health … foods that boost your immune system
A healthy diet is important for keeping well. Food can play a powerful role in boosting your immune system and helping you to feel your best. But which foods are the best immune-boosters? Read on for our top 15.
These are the good bacteria in your gut. Choose probiotic rich foods like kefir, yoghurt, kombucha, miso and sauerkraut to improve your gut health and help boost immunity.
Important for generating new cells; choose from lean animal sources or plant-based like chickpeas, beans, lentils and peas. Some plant-based sources of protein like nuts and seeds also contain antioxidants. Meat, shellfish and legumes contain zinc which helps heal wounds and maintain immune cells.
Proper hydration helps to keep everything functioning in our body, helping us to fight off illness. Make sure you are meeting your daily minimum water requirements, generally 2 litres but more if it is hot or you are working out or are very active.
Apart from their great taste, blueberries are rich in flavonoids that are essential to the respiratory tract’s immune defence system.
5. Dark chocolate
Good news! You can eat chocolate for genuine health reasons. Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine which helps to protect the body’s cells from free radicals that can damage cells.
Well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, this yellow spice also has strong antibacterial and antifungal effects.
Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C which is important for the function of the immune system plus it reduces the duration and severity of symptoms of the common cold. Oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, lemons and limes are all good sources of this essential vitamin.
It seems mum was right when she told you to “eat your greens” because broccoli is another source of vitamin C. It also contains the antioxidant sulforaphane that is great for immune system health. Full of vitamins including A, C and E and packed with minerals, antioxidants and fibre, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables.
9. Red capsicum
If you want to get a hit of vitamin C but are concerned about the sugar in fruit, then red capsicum is the answer as it is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Containing flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins C and E, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. Vitamins C and E are beneficial for the immune system while flavonoids may help in the prevention of the common cold.
Tasty and good for you, garlic’s immune- boosting properties come from the sulfur-containing compound allicin.
Known for its anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties, ginger also has powerful antioxidant effects and has been shown to inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria.
13. Green tea
Pop the kettle on and enjoy a cup of green tea because this unassuming ingredient has been shown to enhance immune function. It contains high levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a powerful antioxidant and the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
Vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Almonds contain both the fat and the vitamin. In fact, half a cup of shelled almonds provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E
15. Sunflower seeds
Full of nutrients including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6 and incredibly high in vitamin E.