How often do you consider your immune system? If you’re someone who regularly stocks up on vitamin C, echinacea, or other immune-boosting supplements, that’s GR8 news. However, many of us don’t stop and highly consider our immune systems until we’ve fallen sick or feel susceptible to getting sick.
Even so, catching a little cold isn’t often more than a sniffly fuss for a while. Many people have an immune system equipped to dismiss the common cold in a matter of days. So, your average person doesn’t need to go out of their way for their immune system diet wise, or so it seems. The next truth of the matter is, many things may impact that immune function.
Aspects of Your Health that Affect Immunity
Immunity is far more complicated than how you feel, and contrary to popular understanding, it’s not always determined by age. Younger people tend to have the attitude that their immunity is stronger than others. While this can be true, it’s important to note that various aspects can impair immunity.
- Stress: Stress can directly impact your gut health. A whole slew of digestive problems may occur as a result of stress, and this, in turn, lowers the immune system.
- Sleep cycles: Getting inadequate sleep can be caused by stress, as well as onset stress and irritability. A lack of sleep leaves the immune system deprived of the ability to reset and regenerate properly for the body’s best defense.
- Lack of exercise: A lack of exercise can lower immunity. Exercise helps to manage and level potential threats to the body.
Each of these aspects has the potential to affect one another. What’s more, each may be influenced positively by strategic nutrition. Use nutrition to leverage each of these challenges that many of us face in our daily exposure to immunity-lowering threats.
10 Foods to Boost Your Immune System
The elderberry plant contains flowers and berries that are full of immune-boosting nutrients. They are highly antioxidant, reduce inflammation, and help to protect the cardiovascular system. It’s a long-used method for easing cold symptoms. Research has concluded that elderberry-concentrated products can help to fight the flu. It stimulates immune response, and fights viruses. Try an elderberry syrup, gummy, tea, or jam.
Mushrooms are definitely a solid ally for your defense system. Mushrooms have been cross-referenced for their medicinal benefits, beginning in ancient times. However, there are seven types that have proven to help. Maitake, shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, oyster, Chaga, and lion’s mane mushrooms are all beneficial for your immunity. They may be consumed fresh, dried, or infused in teas and lotions. These classifications of mushrooms are rich in magnesium, selenium, and zinc, which are flu-fighting agents.
Shellfish such as clams, mussels, lobster, crab, and oysters are good for your immune system. Their high concentrations of protein, minerals, fiber, vitamins, and amino acids make them ideal for keeping illness at bay. Pun intended. Evidence supports that increased consumption of seafood in general can have a positive impact on immunity, as fish contain exclusive bioactive components.
Popeye had the right idea. Spinach is our green light to a better immune system for its heavy concentration of antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Vitamin A deficiency is extremely common, and specifically related to immune deficiency. Eating spinach and other dark leafy greens is the way to go.
Garlic is long-hailed for its medicinal benefits. It contains a nutrient compound called alliin, which is its main active ingredient. This nutrient is metabolized as allicin, which is then converted to a sulfuric compound that is understood to give garlic its immunity benefits.
Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory and digestive impact. It fights off inflammation in the body overall, which is ideal for fighting off any illness. It has been suggested as a defense against certain cancers, though more research is needed to conclude this for fact. Ginger is most beneficial when consumed fresh.
Another potent anti-inflammatory, is turmeric. It is also said to have a role in preventing cancer for its ability to cleanse the body. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial. The best ways to absorb turmeric is when consumed with black pepper, healthy fats such as coconut oil, or when stewed.
Vitamin C is a common solution for illness once the immune system has already been compromised. Consuming citrus foods such as lemon, oranges, and grapefruits are highly effective to boosting immune function. Besides antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, citrus foods contain flavonoids. These are especially helpful for fighting disease.
Yogurt is a hefty source of probiotics, which are specifically beneficial for immunity. It’s got a ton of protein, vitamins, and lactobacillus, which is the operative component that aids with immune function.
Besides being a fibrous carb that is beneficial for the digestive system, sweet potatoes are also impactful for immunity. They are another great source for vitamin A, antioxidants, and beta carotene. Studies on the effect of sweet potatoes specifically are not common. However, their salient concentration of vitamin A makes them an obvious support for the immune system.
Integrating these foods into your diet may prove to be beneficial for immunity, as well as the body’s collective health. Building immunity through the foods you consume is an essential, natural method to fending off disease.