I believe in my immune system because I treat it right. Build it up with the foods that promote the best immune system. You can build your immunity to fight off sickness and viruses battling their way into your cells. Have a seat at my table as I share my best foods for the immune system.
I try to eat these immune system boosting foods in my diet every day or week. There are some days and weeks I know I can do better, but so can you. I do my best to eat healthily and eat the foods I know can bump up my immunity to fight off sickness and viruses.
Variety of Foods
Keep in mind, that you need a variety of foods in your diet for the best immunity. I want to highlight my top food picks so you will pay attention to them and not neglect them in your diet.
Here is a link to a blog I wrote about 10 ways I stay healthy and avoid sickness. It will give you more ideas than just the foods you eat. Sleep, exercise, hand washing, and sunshine are just as important.
My Best Foods
Spinach, Kale, and Broccoli–
These greens are great because they provide antioxidants, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. These are great Immune boosting nutrients.
Spinach and Kale are high in Vitamin K which is known for blood clotting. If you consume this many days and you are on a blood thinner, you will need to tell your Dr. so they can account for that in your dosage.
I love to include Spinach and Kale in Soups and throw handfuls in eggs, smoothies, hot dishes, and salads. If you have extra in the refrigerator and don’t want to waste it throw it in the freezer to use later.
Broccoli provides vitamins A, C, and E, Fiber, and Antioxidants. This is one food that can be eaten fresh, or frozen into your diet every week. I wrote a broccoli challenge blog on ideas for increasing Broccoli in your diet. Here is the link to the Broccoli Challenge and Broccoli Recipes.
The nice thing about this group is they are low in calories and could be included in meals on a daily basis.
Garlic is a big player in antioxidants that your body uses daily and tends to get forgotten. This food is antibacterial and antiviral. It has an immune-boosting compound called allicin. How can you not add garlic to the foods you are cooking? Garlic can be added to almost any meal especially soups and vegetables.
One way I add garlic to vegetables is to sprinkle it on top of vegetables in a pan with olive oil and roast them in the oven. Try it with roasted broccoli and it’s even better on roasted cabbage. Garlic on any veggie roasted or grilled is the best.
Fresh garlic is the best, but cheating is better than none. I buy the minced garlic in the jar to make it more convenient to include in many food dishes.
Green Tea is great for the immune system. The Tea contains polyphenols – catechins that stimulate the activity of the cells that fight viruses.
I drink one cup of green tea every morning for breakfast. If you don’t like green tea try adding some honey to it or try fruit flavor green tea. I learned to like green tea while visiting China. If you want more details on tea and nutrients see my blog on Why Everyone Should Drink Tea.
Citrus Fruits and Berries-
Aim for at least 1 serving of citrus fruit a day. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) will have a big impact on your immunity. Your body uses it to help the Killer T cells. Plus, the fruits with Vitamin C are a lower-carb fruit. The best choices are oranges, grapefruits, kiwi, and all the berries.
Vitamin C is needed daily since your body does not store it.
While traveling for four months last winter, we made sure we ate an orange every day, and we never got tired of them. Some foods are just good habits to make a daily priority.
Vitamins ADEK are the only vitamins your body stores. Vitamins B and C, you need to eat daily.
Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries add phytochemicals to the diet. Blueberries provide anthocyanins to help your immune system.
Berries and citrus fruit can be eaten alone for a snack or added to a salad, breakfast cereal, oatmeal, or dessert. Use fresh or frozen berries. Some seasons you can not get fresh berries.
I like to add frozen blueberries or mixed berries to my oatmeal or steel-cut oats at breakfast.
Salmon provides you with omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and Zinc. These all help your body’s immune system. You can also find Omega 3 fatty acids in flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Once again Vitamin D is essential for your immune system. You can also get vitamin D from eggs and fortified milk.
Vitamin D is an important part of your immune system and you can get high doses from the sunshine. It is also known as the sunshine vitamin. This may be plentiful in the summer if you spend time outdoors. In the winter you may need to take a supplement. Talk to your Dr. about your Vitamin D levels.
I enjoy making Salmon in the oven. It only takes 10-15 minutes for a wild-caught frozen piece of salmon at 425 degrees. Add spices and lemon slice on top and serve it with roasted broccoli/mushrooms, a salad, or sometimes pasta.
Next up is Mushrooms, and they are amazing in a silent way. They can fight off the flu or colds with their antiviral and antibacterial compounds. I know some of you don’t like them, but they are good for you. Add them to many foods for amazing benefits. They are helpful in immunity and cancer prevention too.
We eat mushrooms as a side dish. Add mushrooms to soups, hot dishes, and pizza. You will find us drinking Chaga mushroom tea. Shitakes are the best for nutrients and also have high sources of vitamin D.
My husband loves the dried mushrooms you can get in a bag from Costco. He loves to snack on them or includes them with his packed lunch.
Good old chicken is good for the immune system, especially when cooking up as a whole chicken. The Chicken will provide B6 vitamins which help to form new healthy blood cells you will need to fight off sickness.
Chicken stock/ bone broth adds gelatin/collagen from boiling the bones. It is important for healing and immunity. That is why they say eat chicken noodle soup when you are sick. Better yet, eat it to stay well.
I have a blog called Chicken on the menu and you can get some ideas on how to cook a whole chicken into 2-4 meals.
Finally, yogurt is a great source of probiotics. Your gut needs these good bacteria to develop a good flora and use it to fight off bad bacteria. Try eating low-fat probiotic yogurts to assist the gut in its job.
There are a big variety of probiotic bacteria’s and they all have a different job to do in your gut. When your gut is happy, it makes it easier to keep your immune system happier.
All About Variety -Best Foods for the Immune System
You need a variety of foods in your diet each day. If I asked another dietitian to write up a list of top Immune boosting foods, they may add a few more foods to my list.
Just know that the variety of fruits, veggies, protein, milk, and grains you eat in your diet does make a difference. Each food can have a purpose in keeping you healthy and fighting off viruses and bacteria.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables which are the stars of the immune system. Other foods have a role in the fight against sickness too. They all work together as one. Try new foods and recipes to make your immune system a fighter.
How you can Incorporate these foods into your diet?
- Set a goal to try as many of these foods especially if you haven’t tasted them.
- Try a new recipe with one of these food items once a week. If you like it, keep including it in the menu.
- Plan your menus to include a variety of these foods each week.
- If you made it through this list, you are on your way to improving your immune system.
- Stay Healthy and Strong!
- Drink Water
- Wash hands
- Get Enough Sleep
- Get some happiness/good attitude in your life
- Relationships are important for our minds and spirits
Thanks for learning about My Best Foods for the Immune System.
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