Everyone knows that vitamin C is good for your immune system. It’s thought to boost white blood cell production to help fight off infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, including oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.
Your body doesn’t naturally produce vitamin C so you need to get it from outside sources. Citrus fruits give you a cool, refreshing way to do so.
Broccoli is loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and E. It’s one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat but it’s better eaten lightly steamed or raw. Cooking broccoli causes it to lose some of these benefits.
A half-cup of shelled almonds provides 100 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin E. Almonds also contain the healthy fats your body needs to properly absorb this essential fat-soluble vitamin.
4. Red Bell Peppers.
Believe it or not, red bell peppers contain nearly three times the amount of vitamin C as an orange. They’re also a great source of beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A for healthy eyes and skin.
5. Green Tea.
Green tea is full of antioxidants, including flavonoids and EGCG. EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, has been shown to enhance the immune system. Because green tea is not fermented, it’s a great source of EGCG.
Ginger makes a great addition to sweet desserts and packs just a little bit of heat. It’s believed to decrease inflammation, which can help you get over a sore throat, and is commonly used to treat nausea.
Another delicious fruit that’s full of vitamin C is papaya, which has twice the recommended daily amount. Papaya also contains papain, an enzyme believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.
8. Sunflower Seeds.
Some believe that sunflower seeds can help fight off viruses. Not only are they packed with nutrients but they also contain vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, and phosphorus. They’re also high in selenium - only one ounce gives your body the daily recommended amount.
Believe it or not, poultry is great for your immune system and may help reduce inflammation which may be why chicken soup is so good for you when you’re sick. Turkey and chicken are both high in vitamin B6 as well as chondroitin and gelatin which are good for joint health.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C and loaded with antioxidants and beta carotene, all of which are believed to boost the body’s ability to fight infection. Just like broccoli, spinach is healthiest when eaten raw but lightly steaming makes it easier for your body to absorb vitamin A.
This bright yellow bitter-tasting spice has been used for years as an anti-inflammatory and has been recommended to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. The spice has a high concentration of curcumin which not only gives the spice its distinctive color but is also believed to boost the immune system.
Garlic is one of the most popular ingredients around the world and is used in multiple types of cuisines. It’s also believed to have many health benefits, including boosting the immune system.
Kiwis contain multiple essential nutrients and vitamins, all of which contribute to keeping your body and immune system healthy. Some of these include folate, vitamin C, and potassium.
Plain yogurts that contain live and active cultures can help stimulate your immune system. Greek yogurt is a particularly good choice. Avoid those that have added sugar and use some honey or add some fruit to bring some sweetness. Yogurt is also a great source of vitamin D which also helps boost the body’s defenses.
Some shellfish, including crab, oysters, mussels, and lobsters are packed with zinc, an under-talked about but essential nutrient for the immune system. Don’t overdo it, though. Too much zinc can actually depress the immune system.
Good Food, Healthy You
The key to proper nutrition is variety so make sure to mix it up a bit to give your immune system what it needs to keep you healthy, even when you’re stressed.