Whether it is flu season or you are stuck inside because of a pandemic lockdown, it is good to know how to keep your immune system strong and healthy.
Think of your immune system as your body’s security team. It is the system’s responsibility to deal with invaders before they can do damage. Without a strong immune system, your life can be at risk by something as simple as scraping your knee.
By adding these immunity boosting foods containing 5 essential vitamins and minerals, you can keep your immune system in fighting shape.
Support The System That Supports You
Vitamin C, like most of the compounds on this list, are an essential nutrient to keeping our body healthy. Some creatures actually produce their own vitamin C, but humans do not. We have to get ours from the foods we eat.
Your body uses Vitamin C to produce all the cells which make up your immune system. Specifically, vitamin C helps with the production of nitrogen oxide. This is the chemical your white blood cells use when they surround and destroy intrusive microbes. It is also why Vitamin C is so popular for immune support, it helps in every way.
Foods High In Vitamin C
Adding Vitamin C to your diet is easy. For breakfast have a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or eat some orange slices with your eggs and toast. For lunch or dinner, make a kale salad with bell peppers, tomatoes and snow peas. At dinner have broccoli as a side dish. For desert, strawberries with cream or dipped in dark chocolate will give you that extra Vitamin C boost.
Free radicals are unstable atoms left over from different chemical processes in the body or from the environment. These free radicals go unnoticed by the immune system. When too many of these free radicals gather in your body it stresses your vital organs and cells. To deal with the free radicals, our body needs antioxidants.
Antioxidants roam around your bloodstream looking to neutralize troublemakers. A healthy level of antioxidants in your blood prevents free radicals from reaching toxic levels. With the help of antioxidants, your immune system is free to recognize and handle more dangerous invaders.
Foods High in Antioxidants
The most pleasurable antioxidant is dark chocolate (yum). Blueberries or strawberries coated in dark chocolate also makes a healthy antioxidant treat. Try a cup of regular or green tea at breakfast or at night before bed with a handful of pecans as another way to get antioxidants in your system. Grapes are another healthy antioxidant snack. Dark leafy greens like spinach leaves or kale mixed with artichoke hearts or red cabbage with beans could make a main or side salad high in needed antioxidants.
Dark Chocolate, Blueberries, Grapes, Strawberries, Pecans, Artichokes, Red Cabbage, Beans, Beets, Beets, Spinach, Kale, Regular and Green Tea
Vitamin A is another essential nutrient needed for the production of healthy cells, including many of those that make up the immune system. On top of that, Vitamin A helps ensure the immune system responds to threats in the right way. Sometimes our immune system overreacts. This can lead to not only more discomfort, but serious health issues if it continues for too long. Vitamin A helps ensure your immune system does not get out of control.
Foods High in Vitamin A
For an immunity boosting salad, toss some spinach leaves with sliced red bell peppers, raw broccoli and shredded carrots. Also high in Vitamin A are tuna, oysters, and animal livers. Any kind of squash is a great side dish or better yet, make butternut squash soup to keep your immune system going strong.
Oysters, Tuna, Broccoli, Red Bell Peppers, Spinach, Carrots, Squash, Animal Livers (Beef, Cod Liver Oil)
Vitamin E is a good form of fat that is vital for keeping your eyes and skin healthy. Like vitamin A, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Adequate Vitamin E is necessary to keep your body functioning normally. And most importantly, it helps prevent your immune system from weakening as you age.
Foods High in Vitamin E
Many types of seafood are good sources of vitamin E – trout, lobster, cod, salmon, and snails. For a great immune boosting dinner, top some grilled salmon with pine nuts and serve with cooked spinach and squash.Add a salad made with spinach leaves, raw broccoli, avocados and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. For dressing, toss with olive oil mixed with a touch of balsamic vinegar. For a simple snack and have a handful of almonds or peanuts. Even better, roast a mixture of pine nuts, sunflower seeds and almonds. The heat brings out the nutty flavor. Store them in a jar to have on hand for a quick snack or salad topping.
Zinc is the second most common mineral in your body. Found in all the tissues, it metabolizes nutrients, maintains your immune system and grows and repairs body tissues. Zinc is also important for the proper replication of our DNA, which occurs every time your body makes new cells.
If you do not get enough zinc, your immune system can begin to lose it’s defenses. Since your body does not store zinc, it is important to get 8mg (women) 11mg (men) of zinc each day from the foods you eat. Young children, teenagers and the elderly are at risk for zinc deficiencies. If you are in that category, it is even more important to get zinc daily.
Foods High in Zinc
Oysters, crab and shrimp are high in zinc as is beef, lamb and pork. Other foods high in zinc that you can add to any of the proteins listed above are potatoes (regular or sweet), cheese (Swiss and cheddar), milk, and eggs. An easy way to add more zinc to your diet is with seeds and nuts. Seeds like hemp, pumpkin and sesame can be used as a topper on yogurt for a snack. Pine nuts, cashews, peanuts and almonds are also good snack foods high in zinc. And once again, dark chocolate makes an appearance as an immunity boosting food. Rich in zinc, it must be at least 70 percent cocoa to get the benefit.
Oysters, Crab, Shrimp, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Cheese, Milk, Eggs, Potatoes (regular and sweet), Nuts, Dark Chocolate
Focus on Whole Immunity Boosting Foods
When adding these immunity boosting foods to your diet, stay away from highly processed versions. The additives and preservatives in processed foods work against the healthy nutrients you need to boost immunity. When in doubt, it is always more effective to eat the whole food source of the vitamin you want. There is also an added benefit to eating whole foods like broccoli – they contain far more than one beneficial compound.
What About Supplements?
The best way to keep your immunity in top shape is to support it with vitamins and minerals from whole foods. But, if you cannot eat a certain food due to an allergy or health condition, supplements are a good alternative.
When looking for a supplement, purchase a Liposomal vitamin. These pills have a lipid or “fat” bubble placed around the vitamin that makes it more absorbable by your body – protecting it from stomach acids that breaks down the supplement, making it almost useless.
Another great supplement for boosting immunity is RedPill Living’s CarbonSheild 60. 100 times more effective in removing free radicals than Vitamin E and 172 times more effective than Vitamin C, it is the most powerful antioxidant in the world.
You can also keep your immune system strong with exercise, fresh air and sunlight. Even meditation can help boost your immune system’s strength. But the best way to keep your personal security team in top shape is to support it with the foods you eat everyday (and maybe with a supplement or two). By making some simple changes to your regular diet with the immune boosting foods listed here, you can keep your immune system strong and ready to fend off any foe.
What immunity boosting foods are your favorite? Do you have a favorite recipe for some of these immunity boosting foods you would like to share? If you have questions, concerns, or other comments, we’d love to hear from you as well. Click here to leave a comment.