When talking about food, people usually focus on the nutritional aspect of it. How many calories does a certain meal have and how healthy it is for our bodies? But rarely – if ever will you hear someone talking about other aspects of food. Specifically, how different foods can help us boost our immune systems.
Finding natural ways to boost your immune system and, consequently, improve your overall health is where it’s at. That being said, let’s see what are some of the best immune-boosting foods you can easily add to your diet.
You probably already know that many people instantly turn to lemonade whenever they catch a cold. But do you know why? Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is one of the best natural immune-boosters. Vitamin C helps to increase and speed up the process of white blood cell production, and white blood cells act as the best line of defense against various infections. So, by introducing more fruit, such as lemon, grapefruit, oranges, clementines, and tangerines to your diet, you’ll significantly improve your vitamin C intake, which will do wonders for your immune system. However, be careful not to overdo it, as too much vitamin C can easily lead to some digestive problems.
Amino Acid Rich Foods
When talking about amino acids, it’s first important to make a distinction between the amino acids and nonessential amino acids. Chances are that you’ve already heard of amino acids and all of the benefits they have on our bodies. But nonessential amino acids are just as important as the previous ones. These amino acids are also naturally synthesized in our bodies, but the amount that’s being naturally produced is usually not enough. That’s why you should try and add more foods high in arginine to your diet, to ensure that you’re boosting the amounts of this nonessential amino acid as well. Arginine is key when it comes to battling various inflammatory and oxidative processes, and it significantly contributes to one’s overall health.
Beta carotene is a very important antioxidant that converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of the key vitamins our bodies need in order to function properly. It’s in charge of fighting free radicals and the fact that it’s fat-soluble means that it is stored in our body tissue for later use. Vitamin A – aside from numerous other benefits – helps keep your eyes and skin healthy, which is very important. So, foods rich in beta carotene, such as red bell peppers, carrots, and sweet potatoes should really have an honorable place on your plate.
It’s simply impossible to imagine life without oxygen. However, the oxygen we breathe contributes to oxidation. Numerous studies found that oxidation can actually have a very negative effect on our cells and vital molecules. That’s why it is crucial that you enrich your meals with natural antioxidants. Foods, such as broccoli, leafy greens, berries, and even coffee and green tea are extremely rich in antioxidants, so it’s advisable that you try and implement them in your diet. What’s more, dark chocolate is another antioxidant-rich product, which is excellent news for all the chocolate lovers out there.
Garlic is a key ingredient in many cuisines around the world. The common joke states that the amount of garlic in a dish is measured by heart, not units. But the reason this delicious ingredient is so popular and heavily-used reaches far deeper than just the way it tastes. Garlic is actually great at preventing the hardening of the arteries, as well as fighting various infections. Some studies even suggest that it’s highly-useful in lowering blood pressure, which is key in preventing conditions, such as stroke and heart attack.
Yogurt, or more specifically Greek yogurt, is another food that deserves our respect. Any type of yogurt that contains live and active cultures is an excellent addition to an immune-boosting plate. Not only do these cultures stimulate your immune system but they also work wonders in keeping your guts healthy. Yogurt is also a great source of vitamin D, and you can easily find many brands additionally fortified with this very important vitamin.
Finally, if you’ve ever reached for a bowl of hot soup when you were sick, you’ve actually done more good to your organism than you may realize. Poultry is high in vitamin B-6 which is responsible for red blood cell production. So, the richer the broth or stock is with various vegetables and chicken or turkey, the more nutrients it will provide your body with. Additionally, the intake of warm liquids helps with relieving the symptoms of cold or flu, which only makes it even more useful.
As you can see, there are various foods you can add to your diet which will significantly improve your overall health. However, the key is not to wait to get sick to reach for these foods. Rather, you should make a habit of introducing them to your regular everyday diet and work on building up your immune system slowly but surely.
Nemanja Marinkoff is editor-in-chief at WalkJogRun.net. He’s a marketing expert, and he’s interested in all things related to basketball. He also loves marzipan, although his wife hates it. You can find him on Twitter.