7 Foods to Strengthen Your Immune System
The immune system is the body’s weapon to fight against the germs and bacteria that can make you ill. When everything is going okay, you don’t think much about your immune system, but if it’s weak and unable to fight aggressive disease-causing germs, you will become ill. A strong immune system is essential for good health, and there are a number of foods that can aid in strengthening it.
Citrus Fruits — Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and tangerines, are rich in vitamin C. The body doesn’t store vitamin C or produce it, and a daily intake is required to maintain good health. If you are taking any medications, be sure there are no citrus fruit restrictions before eating.
Broccoli — Broccoli is a supercharged vegetable that is rich in vitamins and minerals. This versatile green vegetable is popular raw with a dip, in salads, steamed, and in stir fry. Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and it also provides the body with important antioxidants and fiber.
Garlic — Garlic is a great little food that adds zing and flavor to dishes of many cuisines. Garlic is a very healthy food. The immune-boosting properties of garlic come from its compounds that contain sulfur. Many health sources attribute garlic with the ability to slow the development of atherosclerosis and help to lower blood pressure. Add garlic to stir fry, sauces, meats, and dozens of ethnic dishes.
Spinach — Spinach is another food rich in vitamin C. Additionally, spinach contains numerous antioxidants. The beta carotene in spinach may also boost the infection-fighting ability of the immune system. Eating spinach raw provides access to the most nutrients, however when cooked lightly its vitamin A is enhanced. Light cooking also releases other nutrients from the oxalic acid in the spinach.
Red Bell Peppers — The tasty and versatile red bell pepper has twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits, as well as being a rich source of beta carotene. Vitamin C boosts the immune system while the beta carotene contributes to healthy eyes and skin.
Yogurt — For the greatest benefit, eat yogurts with “live and active” cultures, such as Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt cultures may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. It’s best to buy plain yogurt. Add fresh berries or fruit for sweetness. Purchase brands fortified with vitamin D, which helps regulate the immune system.
Poultry — There is a reason chicken and turkey soups are so popular when people are not feeling well. Poultry broth helps alleviate cold symptoms. Chicken and turkey have a high vitamin B-6 content. It takes only 3 ounces of light meat chicken or turkey to supply between 40 and 50 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B-6.
Including these seven foods as part of your regular diet will contribute to a stronger immune system. All fresh fruits and vegetables have essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, Be sure to include a variety of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains in your family meals to better support a healthy life and immune system.