Stay Well All Winter With These Incredible Immune Boosters
Squash that bug...before it bites! Whether you feel a bug coming on or you just want to prevent it from ruining your winter, there are some foods you can eat to amp up your immune system and get it ready for cold season.
In no particular order, here are ten amazing immune-boosting foods you should keep on your grocery list and in your pantry:
1 - Mushrooms
Mushrooms have been long known for their immune-boosting benefits and are particularly helpful in the winter. Mushrooms help to support the immune system thanks to a number of immune-enhancing properties, such as beta-glucans, and essential minerals like calcium, protein and fiber. They are a great source of vitamin D, which is important in immune function and are also rich in C and B vitamins.
Medicinal mushrooms like reishi and shiitake are flavorful and make a great addition to soups and stir-fry dishes.
2 - Coconut oil
Coconut oil is another immunity all-star, as it contains a compound called lauric acid. This compound has been shown to enhance immunity, improve heart and thyroid health, and has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral qualities.
One thing that makes coconut oil unique is that it contains medium-chain triglyceride oil or MCT oil. Your cells use the MCTs for energy, while storing very little of them as fat. They boost metabolism and support your immune system in the process.
3 - Garlic
Garlic contains powerful antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties, which may help relieve the common cold. In particular, garlic’s biologically active component component -- called allicin -- is believed to play an important role in its antimicrobial powers, killing microorganisms responsible for some of the most common infections. To get more of this superfood on your plate, slice or crush and sprinkle 1⁄4 clove of fresh garlic over your next lunch or dinner.
4 - Fermented foods
Research shows that our gut flora, bacteria that populates the intestines, has an incredible impact on the health of the immune system, and is largely responsible for the development, performance and regulation of the immune system. In fact, 50 to 80 percent of your immune system makes its home in your gut.
Fermented foods support the health of the gut by introducing healthy bacteria to the digestive system and promoting a healthy balance of good bacteria. This stimulates the immune system to defend against pathogens, such as harmful bacteria or viruses.
To maintain stability in the gut, eat a variety of fermented foods and fiber (35 to 50 grams/day). Some fermented favorites are: kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh, yogurt and sauerkraut. To add more soluble fiber to your diet, shop for flax and chia seeds, beans, and legumes, as well as cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
5 - Zinc-Rich Foods
Another way to boost immunity is by focusing on nutrient-dense foods that are high in zinc, a mineral foundational for great immunity. Zinc-rich foods include lean meats and poultry, oysters, crab, and chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.
Nourish the Body to Boost Immunity
The strength of your immune system plays a large part in the your body’s overall ability to stay well and fight off illness. Therefore, incorporating foods (along with lifestyle practices) that support and strengthen the immune system on a regular basis is central to good health.
If you incorporate even some of these foods on our top five list, don’t be surprised if you avoid the cold and flu this winter, and feel more energized in the bargain.
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