Jacob Osborn

21 Best Foods to Boost Your Immune System | Man of Many

The immune system is basically your inner body’s front line of defense against foreign substances and infectious agents. Consisting of white blood cells, antibodies, the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, complement system, and lymphatic system, it employs an immune response against germs and infections.

What is the Immune System?

Like some sort of built-in military, the immune system detects antigens (i.e. foreign substances) and then tries to get rid of them by way of special proteins called antibodies. With help from T cells, antibodies lock onto specific antigens and then stick around even after the job is done. As a result, you’re all the more ready to ward off certain germs or foreign agents the next time they invade. This is why you usually don’t get chickenpox or similar diseases more than once.

How Does the Immune System Work?

For a number of people, the immune system weakens as one gets older. It’s therefore important that we know how to boost the immune system at any age. As you can probably guess, healthy lifestyle choices play a significant role. Everything from your vices to your diet to your fitness habits will affect the productivity of your immune system.

How Do You Boost Your Immune System?

A poor or improper diet can weaken the immune system on multiple fronts. First and foremost, it can lead to significant weight gain, which poses all kinds of risks. On the flip side of that coin, if you eat too little and become malnourished, your immune system will likewise suffer for it.

How Does Diet Effect Your Immune System?

With COVID-19 taking the planet by storm, you’ll want to grocery shop wisely and boost your immune system as much as possible. Start with the following immune-boosting foods:

List of Immune Boosting Foods

Available in a variety of forms, elderberries are chock full of antioxidants and vitamins. They’re reported to boost immune systems, reduce inflammation, and even improve heart health.

1. Elderberry

While most edible mushrooms deliver some form of health benefit, Shiitake mushrooms are particularly rich in vital nutrients and vitamins. They also contain 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.

2. Shiitake Mushrooms

More popular now than ever before, acai berries are high in anthocyanins, i.e. potent antioxidants that combat oxidative stress and reportedly boost immunity.

3. Acai Berry

This fibre-rich food strengthens the immune system by way of vitamin A and beta carotene, which are also good for your heart, teeth, skin, and vision.

4. Sweet Potatoes

This fermented milk drink contains a bevy of probiotics, including a good type of bacteria that can ward off harmful counterparts. Your immune system gets a vicarious boost.

5. Kefir

Vitamin C has been correlated to increased production of white blood cells, which fight infections. Meanwhile, citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. You do the math.

6. Citrus Fruits

Not only are red bell peppers filled with more vitamin C than your average citrus fruit (twice as much, reportedly), they’re also a terrific source of beta carotene.

7. Red Bell Peppers

Give your immune system a boost with this health food staple, which includes vitamins A, C, and E, along with other antioxidants and plenty of fibre. Eat it raw or lightly cooked for the best results.

8. Broccoli

Who can resist this immune-boosting food, which adds flavour to a host of dishes and contains a healthy compound called allicin? Not us.

9. Garlic

Widely used as a (potential) remedy for various ailments, ginger packs all the right kinds of punch. More than an immune system booster, it can reportedly help decrease nausea, lower cholesterol, and even manage pain.

10.  Ginger

There’s a reason Popeye eats his spinach, which goes big on vitamin C, various antioxidants, beta carotene, and more.

11. Spinach

Avoid pre-flavoured varieties and add honey or fruit if you must. Look for “live and active” cultures on the label, as well as yoghurts that have been fortified with immune-boosting vitamin D.

12. Greek Yoghurt

One serving of whole, shelled almonds contains 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin and an immune-boosting one at that.

13. Almonds

Because it’s steamed and not fermented, green tea retains high levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant. It also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which may increase the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.

14. Green Tea

A key ingredient in curry, this immune-boosting spice is also used as an anti-inflammatory.

15. Turmeric

Eat some papaya to load up on vitamin C and a digestive enzyme called papain. This fruit also contains respectable amounts of folate, potassium, and B vitamins.

16. Papaya

Small in size perhaps, but kiwis contain big amounts of essential nutrients such as folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

17. Kiwi

Chicken or turkey delivers about 40-50% of your recommended vitamin B-6 intake, thereby helping with the formation of red blood cells.

18. Poultry

Within this bite-sized and immune-boosting food, you’ll find nutrients like phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. Sunflower seeds are also rich in vitamin E, which is key to a healthy immune system.

19. Sunflower Seeds

It might sound too good to be true, but shellfish such as crab, lobster, clams, and mussels bring the zinc, which helps your immune cells function properly.

20. Shellfish

Speaking of things that sound too good to be true, it’s been reported that 70% (or higher) dark chocolate can reduce inflammation and help regulate your immune response. We’ll take it!

21. Dark chocolate

Eating a healthy and varied diet will only get you so far if you don’t make the right lifestyle choices. To properly boost your immune system, you should also take the following measures:

Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System

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