You are not defenseless when it comes to viruses and bacteria, and your defense is already built into your body. Your immune system is just that, a system. It is made up of many different organs and tissues and it works best when everything is running in harmony and is balanced. It becomes weak when you neglect it, or it doesn’t get the fuel it needs to work at it’s optimum. This is why nutrition plays such a significant role in how you can fight off infection. A healthy immune system needs high-quality fuel and regular nourishment.
Here are three ways to boost your immune system with the foods you eat.
1. Stay away from foods that hurt your immune system. Remove sugar and simple carbs from your diet. One thing you don’t want to do is continue to eat a poor diet with poor quality nutrient foods and only add a few “good” nutrients and say your eating “healthy.” Eating a high pasta meal with a side of green beans is not the goal. Studies have shown spikes in sugar intake suppress your immune system. When your immune system is compromised, you are more likely to get sick. If you eat a lot of foods and beverages high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, which the body processes as sugar, you may be reducing your body’s ability to ward off disease.
- Consuming these things in excess has proven to compromise your immune response, making infections more likely:
-Foods and drinks high in sugar
2. Eat Nutrient-dense Foods. Nutrient-dense means that the food has a high vitamin and mineral content compared to its weight. Fast food and junk food should be avoided if you desire to have a healthy immune system. If you are what you eat, why would you want to be cheap, easy, and fast? Here are just a few nutrient-dense foods that will significantly benefit your body.
- Blueberries. Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system. A 2016 study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection or the common cold than those who did not.(1)
- Oily Fish. Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 has been found to reduce inflammation and actually boost the activity of white blood cells called B cells.(2)
- Broccoli is another source of vitamin C. It also contains potent antioxidants, such as sulforaphane. For these reasons, it is a good choice of vegetables to eat regularly to support immune system health
- Spinach. Spinach contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C, vitamin E, all of which help support the immune system.
- Fermented Foods. Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system. Foods such as Saurkraut, Probiotic yogurt, Miso, and drinks such as Kombucha are examples of fermented foods.
- Almonds. Almonds are another excellent source of vitamin E. They also contain manganese, magnesium, and fiber. A small handful or a quarter of a cup of almonds is a healthful snack that may benefit the immune system.
3. Drink Clean Water. One of the benefits of drinking water is that adequate hydration has a huge impact on your immune system. Water helps all of your body’s systems function at optimum levels. Drinking plenty of water flushes toxins and ensures that your cells get all of the oxygen they need to function as they were designed.