16 Foods that Boost your Immune System


elder berries
1/17

Elderberry

It’s an old folk remedy. This fruit is loaded with nutrients called antioxidants, and it may help fight inflammation. In some lab studies, an extract from the berries appears to block flu viruses. But scientists caution that more study is needed. You definitely still need to get a yearly flu vaccination!

mushrooms
2/17

Button Mushrooms

They give you the mineral selenium and the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin. That helps you in several ways. If you’re low on selenium, you may be more likely to get a more severe flu. Riboflavin and niacin play a role in a healthy immune system.

Bowl of Acai Berries
3/17

Acai Berry

Its dark color is a sign that it’s got plenty of nutrients called anthocyanins.

There isn’t any research that shows acai is good for any specific condition. But in general, antioxidants from foods are a key part of a healthy lifestyle.

Enjoy these berries in juice or smoothies, or try them dried and mixed with granola.

Raw Oyster on Half Shell
4/17

Oysters

They’ve got zinc in them, which appears to have some virus-fighting powers. That’s probably because zinc helps create and activate white blood cells involved in the immune response. It also assists your immune system with tasks such as healing wounds.

Slice of Watermelon
5/17

Watermelon

It’s not only refreshing. When it’s ripe, it’s also got plenty of an antioxidant called glutathione. It strengthens the immune system so it can fight infection.

To get the most glutathione in your watermelon, eat the red pulpy flesh near the rind.

Wheat Germ in Bowl
6/17

Wheat Germ

It’s the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, and it’s rich in nutrients. It’s a great way to get zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins.

Wheat germ delivers a good mix of fiber, protein, and some healthy fat. In recipes, you can substitute some of the regular flour with wheat germ.

Strawberry Yogurt
7/17

Low-Fat Yogurt

Probiotics, found in yogurt and other fermented products, may ease the severity of colds. Look for labels that say “live and active cultures.”

Also look for added vitamin D. Studies show that people with low vitamin D levels may be more likely to get colds or the flu.

Fresh Spinach Leaves in Bowl
8/17

Spinach

You’ll find lots of nutrients in this “super food.” One of them is folate, which helps your body make new cells and repair DNA. It also boasts fiber, antioxidants such as vitamin C, and more. Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most benefit.

Green Tea in Open Infuser
9/17

Tea

Feel free to choose white, green, or black. Each delivers disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them. Caffeinated and decaf work equally well.

Sliced Raw Yam
10/17

Sweet Potato

Like carrots, sweet potatoes have beta-carotene. In your body that turns into vitamin A, which mops up damaging free radicals. This helps bolster the immune system and may even improve the aging process.

broccoli
11/17

Broccoli

It’s easy to find at the grocery store, and it’s an immune-boosting basic. You’ll get plenty of nutrients that protect your body from damage. It has vitamins A and C, and the antioxidant glutathione. Add to any dish or top with some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish.

garlic
12/17

Garlic

This kitchen staple does more than punch up the flavor of food. Raw garlic can help beat skin infections thanks to its ability to fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. To get the benefits, you have to use the real stuff, though, not garlic powder. A garlic supplement may even help lower your cholesterol.

miso soup
13/17

Miso

This traditional Japanese seasoning, made of fermented soybeans, usually comes as a salty paste. You’ve probably had it in a soup, but you can also add it to sauces. It has probiotics, the “good” bacteria found in yogurt, some fermented foods, and your gut. Because they give your immune system a lift, they can help fight infectious diarrhea as well as other types. 

chicken noodle soup
14/17

Chicken Soup

There’s hard science behind Grandma’s favorite cold remedy. Homemade chicken soup really can ease your symptoms and may help you get well sooner. What’s more, there’s a chemical in it called carnosine that can protect your body from the flu virus. Don’t have time to make soup from scratch? Researchers say many store-bought soups have the same effect.

pomegranate juice
15/17

Pomegranate Juice

The ancient Egyptians were on to something when they used this colorful fruit to treat infections. So far, most modern research has focused on pomegranate extract, but the juice shows promise: It may help your body fight bacteria and several kinds of viruses, including the flu.

ginger
16/17

Ginger

Maybe you love ginger for the spicy kick it gives Asian food. Or because when you drink it in tea or ginger ale, it can ease nausea and vomiting. But wait — there’s more. This knobby root is also a good source of antioxidants. Skip the supplements, though. Add ginger to stir fries or steep it in hot water to make tea. Antioxidants work best in your body when you get them straight from fruits and veggies.

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16 Foods That Boost Your Immune System >

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