Eat Smart

9 Foods to Strengthen Your Immune System

With cold and flu season quickly approaching, we need to do everything in our power to stay healthy. Here are 10 foods that will help boost your immune system and help you survive when your roommate and friends inevitably start coughing up a storm.

  1. Citrus

Vitamin C is essential for your health and can be found in citrus fruits. It helps produce more white blood cells, which fight off infections as well as helping you fight an illness once you have gotten sick. So try to eat about one citrus fruit a day or taking vitamin C to help prevent the likelihood of getting sick.

  1. Red bell Peppers

As well as citrus fruits, red bell peppers also have a lot of vitamin C. Red bell peppers actually have twice the amount of vitamin C that can be found in citrus fruits in addition to another nutrient called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy and is a provitamin to vitamin A.

  1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a super food packed with Vitamin A, C, E, and many antioxidants. It is one of the healthiest foods you could eat; however, the less it is cooked the more vitamins and nutrients you will get. Whenever available try to eat raw broccoli and it will prevent you from getting sick.

  1. Garlic

Garlic is a commonly used vegetable added for flavor in many foods and it also boosts your immune system. Garlic helps fight infections and has a large amount of sulfur containing compounds which boost your immunity. When cooking your next meal try to add garlic not only as a flavor, but also to boost your health.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is another popular flavor added to drinks, desserts, and other foods. Ginger helps your immunity because it has antioxidants and activates t-cells. T-cells are white blood cells that destroy other cells that are contaminated with a virus. Overall, ginger is a great flavor to add to your food because it builds up your body’s defense mechanism.

  1. Spinach

Spinach is another superfood packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. All these vitamins and minerals help fight infections and viruses. Similar to broccoli, you get the most of spinach’s nutrients when it is cooked less.

  1. Yogurt

Some yogurts have live and active cultures which prompt your immune system to fight off viruses and diseases. Yogurt also has vitamin D which helps fight off infection. When picking your yogurt, be careful and make sure that you pick one up with live and active cultures, because not all yogurts have them.

  1. Almonds

Almonds are also good for your immune system because they have vitamin E. Vitamin E is soluble in the presence of fat and since nuts have healthy fat, the vitamin E can be absorbed properly. Almonds give you the perfect immunity boost and vitamin E, which is harder to get otherwise.

  1. Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants called flavonoids and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). By drinking green tea you will receive amino acid L-theanine which supports the production of  germ fighting compounds in t-cells.

In addition to all these foods remember to have a balanced diet with, fruits, vegetables, water, and sleep. This way you get all the necessary vitamins to boost your immunity and the rest needed to fight off sickness.

By Lina Sullivan