Many people are concerned about staying healthy. It almost doesn’t matter what time of year it is, as germs are all around us, whether it’s because kids are headed back to school, flu season is upon us, or winter is in full swing.
Experts points to hand washing, staying home if you aren’t feeling well, and general good hygiene as very important ways to decrease our collective likelihood of coming into contact with the germs that make us sick. But there’s more that you can do! The foods that we choose to consume can help our bodies fight the germs that it comes into contact with– and battle the illness when we do get sick.
There is no one “magic bullet” food that can guarantee immunity. No food has been identified as being able to prevent, treat or cure you from cold, flu, or other diseases. However, there are a variety of nutrients and foods that can help support your immune system along the way.
Here are the top 8 foods that can boost your immune system, along with some yummy ways to include them in your daily meals and snacks. And, grab a copy of our free recipe book to Boost Your Immunity with Food that includes all these foods.
One quarter cup serving of almonds contains almost 50% of your daily dose of Vitamin E – a fat soluble vitamin that plays the role as an antioxidant. Research continues to suggest the important role of Vitamin E in immune function, particularly among elderly and at-risk populations.
We love a handful of almonds with a square of extra-dark chocolate as a snack. You could also slather almond butter (no sugar or oil added) onto morning toast. Or try sprinkling crushed almonds on your salad or smoothie.
Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Beta-Carotene, these vegetables are loaded with immune-boosting nutrients that help our bodies fight off infection.
All three of these veggies are excellent raw, either as a snack with hummus, tossed in a salad, or alongside your main meal. You could alternatively steam or roast them with herbs and lemon juice. Spinach in particular is a great addition to sauces and stews. Simply toss in fresh spinach in towards the end of cooking and let it wilt into the meal.
Well known for their anti-inflammatory properties, these spices are go-to ingredients many turn to after getting sick. Research suggests that these spices may help regulate inflammation throughout the body and reduce instances of illness.
Our current favorite way to ingest turmeric is through a turmeric latte. (We love it either with a shot of espresso in the morning or without espresso for a cozy evening beverage that rivals any mug of hot chocolate). Both turmeric and ginger, though, are excellent in many different dishes. Try grating them into rice dishes and stir fries.
Citrus fruits are well known for their vitamin C content. One orange contains 85%, and one lemon contains almost half your daily needs of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the most well-known immune-boosting vitamins. Many of the cells in the immune system need Vitamin C to perform their functions, so ensuring adequate levels of Vitamin C is important for ensuring excellent immune function.
Some fruits, like grapefruit, make an excellent snack or addition to a meal. Though you may not find yourself biting into a lemon as a snack, lemon juice can be added many different recipes! From roasted green beans to lemon garlic salad dressing to lemon drizzled on baked fish, lemon can be a nutritious and delicious addition to your daily diet.
Currently, there are no studies out that state conclusively that a specific food or nutrient can prevent, treat, or cure Coronavirus, common colds, or the flu. However, by incorporating these simple foods that boost immunity into your diet, you can rest assured that you are supporting your body in the best way possible.
P.S: Click here to grab your free copy of 10 recipes that use the above foods to boost your immunity. From Garlic-Infused Olive Oil to Citrus Beet Salad, you will be eating well and supporting yourself through cold & flu season.
Jamie is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in nutrition. She has a background helping families use nutrition in support of health conditions and has spent the past five years in pediatric oncology. Having relied on the Mediterranean Diet as her nutrition philosophy for many years, Jamie is both a Mediterranean Diet expert and a health coaching expert who can help you look, feel, and be your best. More about Jamie here.