Foods to Boost Your Immunity
A huge stalk of Broccoli getting ready to be cut.

Foods to Boost Your Immunity

pathmedical Nutrition

Feeding your body certain foods can help keep your immune system strong, which is especially important in our current times of COVID-19.

If you’re looking for ways to lessen the impact of colds, flu, and other infections, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store and pick up these powerful immune system boosters.

Citrus fruits – Popular citrus fruits include oranges, lime, lemons, and grapefruit.  These citrus fruits have vitamin C and thats key to fighting infections. Thats because it helps build up your immune system by increasing the production and efficiency of white blood cells1, which help target and remove bacteria, viruses, and other foreign materials.  As an antioxidant, Vitamin C also protects against free radicals that cause cell damage.  Your body doesnt produce or store Vitamin C, so you will need daily doses to maintain healthful levels.

Broccoli – Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as several antioxidants.  Broccoli has been shown to stimulate the immune system’s production of antioxidant enzymes to prevent cell damage2.  Packed with fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables to eat.

Yogurt – Specifically aim for Greek yogurt. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are pre-flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits instead. Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D. Studies have shown the probiotics in yogurt modify the intestinal microflora and can boost our bodys natural defenses against diseases as we age.3

Poultry –  When sick, a warm bowl of chicken soup provides vitamins and can reduce inflammation.  Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6, which is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body, such as the formation of new and healthy red blood cells.  Poultry contains amino acids needed for building antibodies, and the boiling process releases gelatin and chondroitin that helps your intestinal system absorb nutrients and improve immune response.4

Sunflower seeds – Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. Theyre also high in vitamin E and selenium.5  Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, and studies have shown selenium to strengthen the immune response and counter act cellular damage.6

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References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#8
  2. University of California – Los Angeles. (2008, March 10). Broccoli May Help Boost Aging Immune System. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 11, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080306133919.htm
  3. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/benefits-yogurt#1
  4. https://www.mdlinx.com/article/boost-your-immune-system-with-these-foods/4UZzvffk76b5qJUU49iH52
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#sunflower-seeds
  6. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.114.007575