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Immunity Boosting Foods

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Did you know that certain foods are powerful allies for your immune system? Discover what to add to the shopping list to strengthen that immune system.

healthy woman smilingAlthough there is no nutritional magic bullet that boosts our immunity, good nourishment keeps our body’s lines of defence topped up with the vitamins and minerals that are so vital for them to function properly. If you’re looking for those foods bursting with immune-boosting powers, here are a few staple fruits and vegetables to add to your shopping list.

Top immunity-boosting foods

A healthy, balanced diet full of varied essential nutrients helps our bodies function better, including our immune system. But there are a few specific foods you should add to the shopping list that might give you extra benefits when fighting viruses and bacteria.

Garlic

Garlic is so famous for its notorious smell we sometimes forget that this little vegetable is also a powerhouse of health benefits. It’s a natural antibiotic thanks to its compounds which fight against microbial infections1. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it can support lower blood pressure and might even help us when we’re stressed or anxious2,3. Plus, it’s so easy to incorporate into your favourite recipes from roasts to garlic bread.

Broccoli

bowl of broccoliWe immediately recognise it thanks to its resemblance to a mini tree, but one more thing should pop into our heads whenever we think of broccoli: it’s an immunity-boosting food superstar. Thanks to its high vitamin content and antioxidants such as sulforaphane which can help protect cells from free radicals, broccoli is one of the healthiest ingredients you can add to your meal.

Red bell pepper

It might be surprising to find out that red bell peppers contain a huge amount of vitamin C. In fact, if you chop your red peppers and put them in a cup, you’ll be holding a larger quantity of vitamin C than exists in two whole oranges. Thanks to its vitamin C content, red bell peppers support the immune system and can have an anti-inflammatory effect as well.

Spinach

Spinach can also help give a boost to your immune system. Rich in antioxidants and beta carotene, this is one leafy green you don’t want to miss out on. Spinach gives our immune defences a nutrient shot thanks to its content of vitamin C and vitamin E. But try to cook it as little as possible to get the maximum benefits out of this immunity-boosting food.

Sweet potato

Wondering how did sweet potatoes get on our immunity-boosting food list? It’s thanks to beta carotene, a compound that helps produce vitamin A which sweet potatoes are full of. It’s what gives them the signature orange colour. Vitamin A is involved in enhancing the immune function of our bodies4, so it’s always a good idea to look for foods rich in vitamin A if you want to give your immunity a helping hand.

Citrus fruits

glass of orange juiceOranges and grapefruits are not only delicious and refreshing but come with a good supply of vitamin C as well. This vitamin helps our immune defences at a cellular level5 but since our bodies don’t produce it or store it, it’s important to get our supply replenished by adding foods such as citrus fruits to our diet.

What vitamins help us keep our immune defences up?

Vitamins A, C and E are some of the most important nutrients you can include in your diet if you want to boost your body’s ability to fight off all sorts of germs or shorten their stay. Vitamin D is also a powerful ally in this fight. So, make sure you get plenty of it by spending time in the sun or by taking a supplement if you need it.

Find out more about the vitamins that will help give your immunity a boost and discover how do vitamin C and vitamin D help protect your health by enhancing your defences.

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4417560/
  2. https://journals.lww.com/jcma/fulltext/2019/09000/aged_garlic_extract_supplement_helps_relieve_acute.2.aspx
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30169970/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162863/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29099763/

 

 

Sources

https://www.health.com/food/immunity-boosting-foods

https://www.eatingwell.com/article/17868/5-immunity-boosting-foods-nutrients/

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-red-pepper

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a26040273/immune-boosting-foods/

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322412#other-ways-to-boost-the-immune-system

https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-immune-foods

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

 

 

 

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