June 12, 2020
The immune system is responsible for preventing and fighting infection in your body. A healthy immune system can tell the difference between normal, healthy cells and those that are not due to infection or damage. It can also identify viruses and respond to address those problems.
During cold and flu season, many people take Vitamin C supplements to boost their immune system. But integrating certain foods into your diet year-round can help keep this crucial defense for your body operating at its best. These five foods, in particular, are worth adding to your diet.
The aforementioned supplements almost always come in citrus flavors for a reason— citrus is packed with Vitamin C! Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and similar fruits all help build up the immune system. Vitamin C is neither produced nor stored by the body, so you must get it via your diet. Integrating these foods and ensuring a daily intake of at least 75mg (for women) to 90mg (for men) of Vitamin C daily is important.
It’s more than just a spice that adds zip to cuisines around the world. Garlic contains allicin, a compound that becomes the active ingredient in the spice. When digested, allicin helps boost the immune system by increasing the effectiveness of white blood cells, making them more effective against viruses.
Each spoonful of yogurt contains probiotic bacteria. The active cultures that make yogurt so delicious stimulate the immune system and even help regulate its function. For maximum benefit, you should avoid the sugary, artificial flavors found in some yogurts and stick to natural varieties.
Vitamin C might get a lot of the attention when it comes to immune support, but Vitamin E is also important. It helps protect cells from damage and gives them a longer life—important benefits for the immune system. Vitamin E is fat soluble, and nuts – particularly almonds – are full of good fats (unlike processed foods) that are packed with Vitamin E.
It’s not commonly thought of as an immune-booster, but shellfish contains zinc. Like Vitamin C and other essential nutrients, zinc must be consumed as the body does not produce it. Zinc supports the development of immune cells, keeping your body healthy and full of disease-fighting antibodies. Lobster, crab, clams, oysters, and mussels are a paella of zinc-packed immune boosters.
When fighting off an ailment, taking care of your immune system is top of mind. But the crucial role the immune system plays in preventing sickness is important, so you should support your immunity year-round by integrating foods that boost its function.
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have, or suspect that you have, a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.