Immune Boosting Foods
Super charge your diet for health and wellness
By Laura Carson Miller
With cold and flu season upon us we must take every precaution to guard our good health. This includes regular exercise, wearing layers so that we can easily heat and cool our bodies and eating foods that are both nutritionally sound and delicious. While many may think of orange juice as the ‘go-to’ drink for warding off colds and flu, many other foods can contribute to a body that is healthy and happy this fall and winter. Let’s look at some, perhaps surprising, ways you can use food to boost your immune system.
Digestion plays a big part in the health of our immune system. When food is fresh and less processed it contains more of the nutrients we need to stay healthy and strong. Natural, unprocessed foods are much more easily digested than processed, chemically laden food products. Because they are easily digested, all the powerful nutrients are more readily available to the body. Organic food, grown without pesticides and hormones, is bursting with vitamins, minerals and natural goodness that has not been altered. Eating raw organic veggies is also a great way to keep your immune system revved up. If you know you don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables in your daily diet, do yourself a favor and add a green powder to your morning glass of juice. You’ll soon notice you look and feel so much better! (This one is top notch and provides support for nutrition, circulation, immunity and digestion. It also contains adaptogens, and trust me, you need them! Always consult your medical professional before using green powders.)
Spice it Up
Cooking with delicious, flavorful spices is a wonderful way to boost your immune system. For centuries spices and herbs have been used as medicine. Certain spices actually offer particular immune boosting properties. Turmeric, for example, is detoxifying, while garlic fights infection and bacteria. Oregano is full of potent antioxidant compounds.
Chow Down on Vitamins and Minerals
Zinc is popular in throat lozenges and is found in meat, liver, seafood), and products such as wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and eggs. Zinc has immune boosting properties to fight infections such as colds and the flu. Another star in the immune system stable is Omega 3 fatty acids. Found in flax oil and fish including salmon, tuna, and mackerel, Omega 3’s boost immunity by increasing activity of the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. Selenium is a mineral, which mobilizes cells. Food sources of selenium include tuna, lobster, shrimp, whole grains, brown rice, chicken (white meat), sunflower seeds, garlic, and lamb chops.
What to Avoid
Refined or processed sugar can be hard on our systems, causing stress on our immune system. If you are like me and have a sweet tooth, try sweeteners such as honey or agave syrup. Did you know that alcohol and caffeine put stress on your body and can easily affect your immune system? Steer clear of these if you feel even the slightest bit flu-ish or notice chronic tiredness or body weakness.
Protecting your immune system need not be a mystery! Sneak some of the above suggestions into your diet immediately to begin feeling the effects on your own immunity. Why waste time being sick when you can be well and enjoying life? Take responsibility for your own good health and start feeding your immune system today.