Immunity boosting foods to get you ready for the flu season
Foods that have proven time after time to have immunity boosting properties are:
- Dark berries
- Dark green vegetables
- Sweet potato
- Green walnuts and honey syrup
- Fermented foods
With cold weather slowly approaching it’s time to start boosting up your immunity.
Exhaustion, stress and poor diet impair your immune system and give viruses and bacteria advantage. Luckily there are plenty of actions you can take to boost your immunity.
Food we eat directly impacts our health. Particularly functional foods that are packed with essential micronutrients important for functioning of the immune system.
Along with functional foods, the best thing you can do for a strong immunity is to have a healthy lifestyle.
There are a few guidelines you can easily follow that will have a good impact and you will feel immediate improvement.
Healthy lifestyle for boosting immunity guidelines:
- balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains
- restrict intake of sugars, saturated fat and processed food
- spend at least 1 hour a day outside on a fresh air
- practice moderate exercise regularly
- get a good night sleep, and avoid white screens 1 hour before sleep
- maintain a healthy weight
- learn to manage stress and relax
- if drinking alcohol, do so in moderation
- avoid smoking
Micronutrients important for immunity:
Beta-carotene converts into vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for immune functions. Also it is an antioxidant and it reduces inflammation.
Vitamins B, C and E are the backbones of a healthy immune system.
Zinc is a mineral important for production of white blood cells, our virus fighting cells.
Selenium is a trace mineral, lack of which has been shown to impair immunity response.
Functional immunity boosting foods:
Dark berries (such as acai, elderberry, blackberry, chokeberry and blueberry)
Dark berries are packed full of antioxidants, nutrients in charge of cleaning the body from free radicals. Free radicals are the nasty little molecules that cause cell damage throughout the body.
Give your immune system a fighting chance with a handful of dark berries.
Mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, zinc and selenium.
Add a cup of chopped mushrooms to your next soup for immunity boost and a lovely umami flavor.
Dark green vegetables
There are too many reasons to eat dark green vegetables daily, and immunity boosting is one of them.
Spinach is called a superfood for a reason. It is full of essential micronutrients that will not only improve your immunity, but also your overall health.
Eat it raw in a salad. And lightly steamed will be a great addition to any meal.
Broccoli has all micronutrients important to maintain a healthy immune system and more.
Steam broccoli florets no longer than 7 minutes to keep maximum nutrients and flavor. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt on a toasted piece of wholewheat bread makes a great snack.
Sweet potato, the orange one, is rich in beta-carotene and a good source of vitamin C. They are sweet but also low GI food.
You can easily swap potatoes for sweet potatoes and enjoy the benefits of this tasty tuber.
It’s known for ages that garlic has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s enough once a week, during a flu season, to add one raw garlic clove to your meal. And even if you do catch a cold or a flu, it has been shown that eating raw garlic shortens the duration and weakens the symptoms of illness.
Ginger works similarly as garlic. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Ginger has strong anti inflammatory properties as well as immunity boosting.
Grate fresh ginger directly in your food. Or steep it in hot water for 15 minutes, then add lemon juice and honey and enjoy it as a tea.
Green walnuts and honey syrup
Green walnut and honey syrup is a folk homemade remedy for immunity. It’s also said to be beneficial for the respiratory system, liver, blood and gut. There has been no official research, but a lot of people swear by it.
Healthy gut is one of the most important factors of a strong immune system. If one type of bacteria overgrow in your gut it creates imbalance. In that case your immunity is first to take the hit. Your immune system depends on a healthy gut. That’s why it is important to maintain healthy and balanced gut flora. And the best way to do that is to eat a diet rich in fiber and probiotics.
Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables are full of probiotics
Kefir and yogurt enriched with probiotics is another great source of “good” bacteria.
To get the full benefits of these functional immunity boosting foods it’s important to also live a healthy lifestyle in general. There is no superfood that can repair the damage of unhealthy choices. It’s much easier to destroy health than it is to repair it.
Making healthy choices is the true form of self-love and self-care.