12 Best Foods That Boost the Immune System

During this time, many of us are stuck at home. It’s tempting to hide in a sleeve of Oreos and eat all the junk food we can handle. However, we must try to stay away from emotional eating, and do what we can to nourish the temple that is our body. Here are the top immune-boosting foods so that you can feel more in control of the situation, and less helpless.

1. Mushrooms

Specifically button mushrooms contain large amounts of essential B vitamins and selenium. These nutrients are paramount for the immune system. They also contain something called polysaccharides, which can make that immune shield stronger than ever. Try grilling or sautéing them to make the most of their rich, meaty flavor. Plant-based subs for the win!

2. Tea

Tea is very important during this time, because drinking hot or warm liquids can help keep the Coronavirus away. Antioxidants are high in tea – consider trying our white or green tea. These antioxidants are referred to as polyphenols, while flavonoids do all that essential work on your immune system. Consuming tea can also raise your good cholesterol while combating bad, or LDL cholesterol.

Fresh green tea with tea leaves in the water

3. Yogurt

It might not be high on the antioxidant scale, but the benefits for digestion are innumerable. Yogurt is full of probiotics, and certain strains can help your immune system generally, but can also reduce the strength and length of a cold, which is necessary right now in the world. Be sure to look out for Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus casei.

4. Spinach

Honestly, kale is an overrated superfood. Spinach has always had our back, and is chock full of all the goodness our body needs to survive. Get acquainted with folate, Vitamin C and A, magnesium, iron, and fiber. All of these components help to repair your DNA  – just make sure to eat it either raw or very slightly cooked so that you can reap all those delicious benefits.

spinach

5. Berries

The Acai berry is particularly loaded with antioxidants but isn’t always the easiest or cheapest to get your hands on. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all have a significant amount of disease-fighting compounds that will help ward off viruses. A cup a day will make a noticeable difference in your daily health and energy levels.

6. Miso

Most commonly used in soup, miso is really a savory paste created from fermented soybeans. It tastes better than it sounds, trust us. Rich in GI-friendly probiotics, Miso soup is a fantastic way to slowly introduce probiotics and protect your body from the inside out. Any other fermented food is also a great way to start.z

Miso paste on wood background; Shutterstock ID 1109315561; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOH

7. Garlic

Some people love garlic, and others can’t stand the scent. What we do know is that it’s one of nature’s most effective remedies, and it figures against viruses, funguses, and all types of bad bacteria. During Strep throat, some people even crack a clove and suck its potent juice out.  It has been proven to help reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, or the cold.

8. Oysters

Although they can be expensive and many people consider them to be a fancy or gourmet food, oysters are packed with nutrients, particularly vitamin C, iron, and selenium. They’re also low in calories, and high in protein. All of this, combined with a good amount of zinc and vitamin A make sure your immune system functions as it should.

9. Sweet potatoes

While normal potatoes are starchy and have practically no nutritional value, sweet potatoes are stocked with more than the daily serving of vitamin A. They also contain vitamin C, and remain low calorie and fat-free, so its a flexible inclusion for any dietary needs. Rather than mashing up your yams and being all boring, bake some sweet potato fries and get creative.

10. Ginger

This root is often considered a spice, and can be added to any dish to add a zing of flavor. They’re a powerhouse for quenching free radicals and fighting against arthritis, cancer, and pretty much any inflammatory condition. Ginger detoxifies the body with its antiviral and antibacterial capacities. Grate it over fish, soup, or a veggie stir fry.

Fresh ginger, whole and sliced on rustic wooden background

11. Citrus

For respiratory illnesses, colds and more, Vitamin C (the principle nutrient in citrus) is the holy grails in many cultures. It prevents infections, but also alleviates symptoms if you’re feeling sick. While we often see people chugging orange juice during this time, try cracking open a fresh orange or grapefruit.

12. Papaya

Papain is the key here – it’s a digestive enzyme that is naturally anti-inflammatory, and many take it as a supplement. There’s also a whopping amount of Vitamin C, along with potassium and B vitamins. You may notice there’s a lot of fresh fruit on this list – that’s because it’s one of the most effective ways to stay healthy year round. Consider making a smoothie blended with a mix of ingredients on this list. 

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