Seven Superfoods That Will Boost Your Immune System
Cold and flu season takes a toll on your immune system. You can stave off the flu by increasing the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants in your diet. Eat these nutrient-rich foods to stay healthy this winter.
There’s a reason your mom made chicken noodle soup when you were sick. Studies show hot soup can clear any congestion in your lungs. According to the American Journal of Therapeutics, an ingredient found in chicken soup, carnosine, helps fight the early stages of flu. It’s best to eat chicken soup full of nutrient-dense vegetables such as onions, sweet potatoes, and celery.
An apple a day won’t keep the doctor away, but an orange a day may help you stay healthy. Citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. These nutrient-rich fruits contain vitamin C, which strengthens your immune system. Vitamin C also neutralizes free radicals in the body, keeping you healthy during cold and flu season. Add citrus to your daily diet by drinking lemon water, eating an orange with your breakfast, or making a grapefruit salad.
Oats and Barley
Whether you’re trying to stay healthy or fighting a cold or flu, add oats and barley to your daily diet. According to Prevention, these grains contain beta-glucan, which has antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities. That means when you eat these oats, you’re less likely to contract influenza. If you’re feeling sick, oats and barley will help speed up the healing your body needs. Oats and barley also keep nausea at bay. Add these grains to your diet by eating oatmeal for breakfast or making a barley salad for dinner.
Yogurt is full of probiotics, live active cultures that maintain a healthy gut, where 70 percent of your immune system lies. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, probiotics stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Yogurt also contains vitamin D, which boosts your immune system. This vitamin also keeps your bones and muscles healthy. It’s wise to watch your vitamin D intake in the winter, when there’s less sunshine. Try eating a cup of yogurt before bedtime — this snack will help you sleep and keep you healthy.
This leafy green contains vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system, as well as beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps you stay healthy. Spinach is also rich in iron and magnesium, nutrients that keep you active and healthy. Sneak some spinach into your diet by making a soup with sautéed spinach or mixing a green drink.
Drinking tea will help your body ward off infection. Tea also helps clear congestion, smooth a sore throat, and ease nausea. Black, green, and white tea contains catechins, which has flu-fighting properties. Try sipping tea before you drink your morning coffee, or drinking a cup of decaf tea before bedtime.
These fruits are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin A. All of these nutrients help protect your immune system from deficiencies. Specifically, blueberries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin, which eases stress on the immune system. Make a delicious parfait by mixing yogurt and berries. Serve the parfait for breakfast, afternoon snack, dessert, or a bedtime treat.