Essential Foods to Boost Your Immune System

Healthy food at home. Happy family in the kitchen. Mother and children daughters are preparing fresh orange juice.

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If you care about your health, you’ll want to do everything that’s necessary to keep your immune system strong to safeguard your body against germs and viruses that may cause serious illnesses. The foods that you eat can have a major impact on your immune system, so it’s important to be mindful of what you put into your body. These eight essential foods can help you boost your immune system.

Citrus Fruits

There are a variety of citrus fruits that are known to be excellent for immune health and can provide a more nutritious alternative to unhealthy snacks whenever you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. Oranges, lemons and tangerines are just some of the citrus fruits that can boost immune health. These fruits are packed with vitamin C, which can increase white blood cell production to support the body’s immune system.

Garlic

In addition to being good for your heart, eating garlic can help ward off infections and other illnesses. The allicin and other sulfur compounds that are found in garlic are known to strengthen the immune system. You can choose to eat garlic by itself or use it as an ingredient in pizza and pasta sauces as well as salads. Garlic supplements can also be taken if the flavor of garlic is too strong for your liking.

Dark Chocolate

Even dark chocolate can be good for you if it’s eaten in moderation. An antioxidant known as theobromine is found in dark chocolate, and this antioxidant has the ability to combat free radicals that can damage cells and compromise immune health. Eating just a small square of this sweet treat each day can be enough to benefit your body’s immune system.

Fish

Oily fish, in particular, contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids that promote better immune health. Tuna and salmon are among the best types of oily fish that can be eaten regularly to ensure better health. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, the omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish may help prevent your body’s immune system from attacking healthy bones and tissues.

Sweet Potatoes

The beta carotene that’s found in sweet potatoes gives the skin their orange color and serves as an antioxidant that promotes better immune health. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes can also promote better eye and skin health. Sweet potato fries are an excellent alternative to standard French fries that you might enjoy with certain meals, or you could also use sweet potatoes to make casseroles, pies and other meals or desserts.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms work well in balancing the immune system because the phytonutrient in mushrooms known as pyrogallol may reduce inflammation in the body and can even help prevent cancer. Chaga, shiitake and reishi are among the best types of mushrooms for immune health. Whether you prefer to eat your mushrooms whole or chop them up to use as pizza toppings or in soups or salads, there are many ways to consume them. You can find a variety of mushrooms at local stores or you can get a mushroom grow kit if you’d rather grow them yourself at home and avoid pesticides and other additives.

Bell Peppers

Any type of bell pepper can be good, but red bell peppers are especially known to be beneficial for the immune system because of their high concentration of vitamin C. In fact, red bell peppers have nearly three times more vitamin C than oranges. Bell peppers are also an excellent source of beta carotenes. Sliced bell peppers are great to eat as quick snacks, or you could also try filling a whole bell pepper with beef or veggies and baking it for a satisfying meal.

Blueberries

Eating more blueberries can provide your body with more of the antioxidants that it needs to fight germs and viruses better and keep inflammation at bay. The anthocyanin flavonoid in blueberries is a particularly beneficial antioxidant. By adding blueberries to pancakes, muffins or other pastries, you can boost your immune system while enjoying a delicious meal or treat.

These foods can help your immune system function in many ways. By increasing your intake of these foods and finding creative ways to incorporate them into your diet, you’ll stand a better chance of remaining healthy for years to come.

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