Food is medicine. I am sure you have heard that, but do you believe it? I am a true believer and want to scream it to the world. I have seen the impact in my own personal life how food can help nourish us or in some cases cause us harm. I personally was a sugar addict and taco bell lover but have now grown to not only love healthy food, but crave it! My body is thanking me and I feel the best I ever have!
Now more than ever we should be focusing on supporting our immune system and what we put into our body matters.
Today, I am going to share with you a list of foods to consider adding into your diet, if they aren’t already there.These foods will not only nourish your body, so you can be in optimal shape to fight potential illness, but also many have other benefits to boost your immune system, such as antiviral properties.
TOP IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS
All the veggies! My strategy for building a plate of food is to make sure I have at least half of the plate full of veggies. Cruciferous veggies such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choy are great for helping the body naturally detox, and are really rich in glutathione which is your body’s biggest antioxidant and helps fight infection. And of course, don’t forget the greens. Spinach, kale, arugula are our favorites, but there are tons of other great options like watercress, swiss chard, or dandelion greens!
Nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, chai, flax, hemp and even pumpkin seeds are our favorites. These are all rich in healthy fats and pumpkin seeds in particular are a great source of zinc. Most people are deficient in zinc and without sufficient amounts of zinc present in the body, the immune response slows.
Salmon. Wild caught is ideal and if you don’t have access to fresh, frozen is a great option or even canned wild caught salmon makes a great addition to eggs or a green salad. Salmon is full of omega 3 fatty acids and even believed to be a source of Vitamin D – although sunlight is the best source for this!
Tasty fruits! If your favorite fruit isn’t in season, opt for frozen. Frozen is picked and frozen at its peak, so retains a lot of the nutrition. Those with extra immune boosting benefits are citrus, berries, and apples.
Liver. Yep I went there. Not one you imagined I would say I bet. Liver is high in Vitamin A, B Vitamins and Zinc, which are all vital players for a healthy active immune system. One easy way to get it in is to cook it and mix it with some ground meat to make meatballs. You could also try a food based supplement.
Healthy fats. Healthy fats are going to help keep us full and satisfied so we are not mindlessly snacking all day long. Allowing time for your body to rest in between meals lets it focus on all its other duties that are important for optimal functioning. Additionally, consuming healthy fats with plant based foods increases the bioavailability of nutrients 8-14 times – basically meaning, helps our body actually get those great nutrients out of the foods and use them! Our family’s favorites are avocado, coconut and olives + their accompanying oils.
Probiotic foods. Also known as ferments, are foods that will help support your gut, which is where 70-80% of your immune system lives. Great options are raw fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, whole fat plain yogurt or kefir.
Herbs. Easy to add onto roasted veggies, stir fries, as a dry rub for meat or stirred into a soup, sauce or dressing. Turmeric, oregano, ginger, and garlic are great choices for boosting the immune system.
A smoothie is a really great way to get a lot of these foods in at one time. Try a combination of your favorite greens, cauliflower rice, kefir or yogurt, avocado, pumpkin seeds, chia / hemp / flax seeds, berries and a little fresh ginger! Check out my completely FREE eBook where I share more on the strategy I use for building a nourishing smoothie + tons of ideas for boosting nutrition.
Also, while I think focusing on what you are adding in is extremely important and often by default will help naturally crowd out some of the not so desirable choices, I do have to mention one thing. Try your best to limit or avoid simple processed treats and sugar.
According to Dr. Elisa Song, within 30 minutes of eating simple sugars (like glucose, refined sugar, and fructose), the ability of your white blood cells to “eat up” viruses and bacteria that are trying to invade DECREASES by 50%! And that effect lasts for at least 5 hours! Mind blowing right?! Of course, I always knew sugar wasn’t great for me, but the first time I heard that, it took it to a whole new level.
Next time you are building your plate, consider how many of these types of foods you can add to boost your immune system!