Wellness Wednesday: 10 Immunity Boosting Foods
Cold and flu season is upon us and between holiday dinners, parties and vacations, who has time to get sick? Do your part to protect yourself from harmful bacteria and seasonal illnesses by ramping up your diet with foods to help boost your immunity this winter. Put the following 10 foods on your grocery list and get cooking.
Long touted for its healthy properties, mushrooms are also well known when it comes to boosting immunity. With the ability to increase the production and activity of white blood cells, mushrooms make them more aggressive, which is helpful when fighting an illness.
Get your daily dose of vitamin C with a diet rich in bell peppers to fight winter colds and the flu. Did you know that they have twice the amount of most citrus fruits including oranges? Increasing your vitamin C intake will also help the length and severity of any cold symptoms you may encounter.
Rich in soluble fiber, beans are a nutritional powerhouse and a great source of zinc, which is a common deficiency among adults. Known as one of the most important minerals for immune support, zinc enhances the function of T cells to help identify and destroy foreign and invading substances and viruses. Zinc also increases the production of anti-inflammatory protein to support immunity.
Keep your gut and intestinal tract free from germs and illness causing agents with probiotics found in yogurt. This healthy bacterium helps stimulate the immune system to fight disease. Look for a brand that promotes “live and active cultures” on the label. Not a dairy fan? Try one of our favorite probiotic drinks from Kevita for a healthy gut.
Fill up on kale and other leafy greens to pack a powerful punch of immunity boosting antioxidants. Filled with folate, vitamin E, beta-carotene and other nutrients, they work together to defend against pathogens, increase white blood cell production, reduce inflammation and neutralize oxidative stress.
Up your servings of fatty fish such as salmon to make sure you're getting enough omega-3s to help ward off illness. Not only do omega-3 fatty acids increase the production of white blood cells to kill bacteria, but they also support healthy lungs for a strong immune system. Not a fish fan? Work ground flax or chia seeds into your diet by adding them to smoothies.
Used for centuries as part of traditional and ayurvedic Asian medicine, turmeric has become more popular than ever for its health benefits. This flavorful, powdered spice gets its golden yellow color from a polyphenol called, curcumin, which has strong cold and flu fighting properties. It also boasts antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Parents are always trying to get their kids to eat more broccoli and there are many good reasons why. In addition to being chock full of vitamins, minerals and disease fighting antioxidants, broccoli is also high in glucosinolates, which help stimulate the immune system. Try to cook this vegetable superstar as little as possible to preserve its germ fighting properties.
Known for its culinary prowess, garlic also boasts many medicinal benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system. Containing a heavy concentration of sulphur-containing compounds, such as allicin, garlic fights bacteria, viral and fungal infections. Keep crushed garlic on hand for every day cooking; it can be used in just about anything.
Keep your immune system running smoothly by adding ginger to your diet as a detoxing agent. Filled with the compound gingerol, a relative a capsaicin, it serves as an anti-inflammatory agent along with helping to sweep germs and toxins out of the body. Add it to your daily cup of tea with lemon for a powerful detox punch.
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