Americans catch nearly 1 billion colds each year, and between five and 20 percent of people in this country will contract the flu, but there are certain foods that can help build your immune system and protect you from certain illnesses. Here are my top 10 picks for the best foods to give your immunity an extra boost!
- Chicken soup. Your mother was right. Chicken soup is one of the best foods for fending off sniffles. The liquid is helpful for fighting viruses and clearing nasal congestion. The broth is also believed to be anti-inflammatory. Some studies have found that commercial organic chicken stock is as effective as homemade, so keep some on hand for those sniffles that may sneak up on you in the winter season.
- Garlic. Want to give that chicken soup an even more powerful immunity boost? Add some garlic! Garlic is known to have anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. Sneak it into your morning eggs, beans for lunch and in a flu-buster smoothie.
- Hot tea. People who drank 5 cups a day of black tea for 2 weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink, in a Harvard study. The amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea. Decaf versions have it, too.
- Cauliflower. Cauliflower is rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that is helpful for warding off infections. Cauliflower is also full ofSulforaphane which has been shown in studies to improve blood pressure and kidney function too!
- Ginger. Ginger is not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus. Ginger has been found in the scientific research to help balance the immune system to restore it to proper functioning. It has also been found to enhance the protective functions of the immune system. I like to cut up ginger and slice lemons and place it in a mason jar then fill with honey. This is my “tea” when feeling like I am coming down with something.
- Eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, which is important for supporting a healthy immune system. Eggs also contain zinc and selenium, two of the most important minerals for boosting immunity. I call them God’s travel food!
- Honey. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, honey not only soothes sore throats but can also kill certain bacteria that causes an infection. Honey can also help improve the digestive system where 1/3 of your immune system is located.
- Mushrooms. Several species of mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms possess properties that stimulate the immune system. The polysaccharide content of these mushrooms may stimulate various immune system components, thus helping your body to build immunity.
- Yogurt. Increase your intake of fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, and Greek yogurt, which boost your overall wellness by promoting intestinal health. Acting as probiotics (which can also be taken as supplements), fermented foods aid digestion, improve immune function, and increase vitamin B levels, all helpful in warding off sickness.
- Salmon. Salmon and other cold-water fish like tuna, mackerel and halibut are excellent sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is an important nutrient for immune function. Lack of vitamin D also has a strong correlation with risks of influenza and tuberculosis as well as asthma.
I hope this helps you find ways to help you heal your body naturally and feel more energetic and happier sooner.
Healthy is contagious, pass it on!
Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies in North America. Your level should be 60-100 ng/mL. Ask your doctor to test it for you or call my clinic to set up a skype or phone appointment with one of my practitioners.
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