Feeding Your Immune Army: 10 Foods to Support Your Immune System
They say an army travels on its stomach. Feed your immune system warriors well and they’ll be in fighting condition for years to come!
Choose a Variety of Healthy Foods
Fruits, veggies, fish and whole grains form the basis of healthy eating. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the Mediterranean diet, based on the traditional cooking of countries such as Greece, whose residents average at least six servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Pick Olive Oil
Research has shown that the Vitamin E and antioxidant fatty acids in olive oil help bolster immune function against external attacks and are involved in regulating inflammation. Try cooking with extra virgin olive oil Instead of unhealthy saturated fats such as butter.
Ten to Try
Add these to your diet to enhance your body’s natural resistance to harmful substances:
1. Avocado: Rich in soluble fiber, it boosts the production of interleukin-4, the protein that stimulates infection-fighting T-cells.
2. Beyond Oranges: Papayas, red peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts all have more Vitamin C than citrus fruits! Vitamin C supports the production of white blood cells and antibodies, including one that coats cell surfaces to prevent harmful substances from invading them.
3. Cranberries: Another good source of Vitamin C.
4. Farro: Rich in Magnesium and B vitamins. Magnesium supports the formation of antibodies, which help immune cells recognize pathogens in the body. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Garlic: Naturally anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, garlic supports the reproduction of infection-fighting white cells, promotes natural killer cell activity and the efficiency of antibody production.
6. Ginger: Loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
7. Green Leafy Veggies: Plant-based phytonutrients protect cell membranes from environmental pollutants that are trying to attack them. Green veggies contain powerhouse vitamins A, C, E along with zinc and magnesium. Vitamin A supports the function of white blood cells. Vitamin E helps widen blood vessels and prevents clotting inside them. Vitamin E also supports the production of natural killer cells and enhances the production of B cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies.
8. Halibut: High in omega-3s, which supports the activity of B cells. Good source of magnesium, B vitamins and selenium, shown to support natural killer cell activity.
9. Red peppers: Loaded with vitamins A, C, E.
10. Whole grains: Provide zinc and Vitamin E. Zinc supports the production and function of white blood cells. It also supports the release of antibodies from B cells