No one likes being sick. Even a mild cold can be a serious bummer and ruin your entire day or week. When most of us think about boosting our immune system, we usually pop a few extra vitamin C supplements and call it good.
While, of course, vitamin C is a helpful immune-booster, in order for it to really bolster your immune system, you really need to be upping your vitamin C-rich foods on the reg.
Adding certain foods to your diet can make a huge difference in the strength of your immune system. Next time you’re writing out your weekly grocery list or planning your meals, be sure to incorporate these seven powerful immune-boosting foods to keep your body in tip-top shape, and to help keep you healthy all year long.
7 Foods to Supercharge Your Immune System
#1 Red Bell Peppers
Move out of the way citrus fruits-while these fruits are also rich in vitamin C the real superstars here are red bell peppers. Red bell peppers blow these fruits out of the water when it comes to vitamin C content. Ounce for ounce, bell peppers have over double the amount of vitamin C than what’s found in citrus fruits. Not only that, but they’re also rich in beta carotene which is excellent for keeping your eyes and skin healthy. Win, win!
Not only does garlic complement just about any one of your dinner recipes, but it’s also incredibly good for you. Garlic fights infection, lowers blood pressure, and helps slow down the hardening of arteries. For extra immune-boosting strength, garlic has a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin.
Not only does spinach pack a heavy punch of vitamin C, but it also has tons of other great properties. Antioxidants, beta carotene, iron, and vitamin A can all be found in this immune-boosting green. Keep in mind that spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible – so if you can, eat it raw.
This root is one of the richest sources of antioxidants on the planet, meaning it’s absolutely chock-full of immune-boosting properties because it’s amazing at fighting inflammation. Curcumin, (the active ingredient in turmeric) contains antifungal and antiviral properties and keeps your immune system strong. Mix it with black pepper to help boost absorption.
#5 Citrus Fruits
Reaching for an orange, adding some lemon to your water, or munching on a grapefruit are all great ways for giving your immune system a little boost. As we’ve known for years, citrus is an excellent source of vitamin C which increases the production of white blood cells that fight off illness and infection. Since our bodies don’t produce or store vitamin C naturally, you’ll need it to keep yourself cold and flu-free.
Broccoli is another vegetable that is absolutely jam-packed with vitamins and immune-boosting goodness. Vitamin A, C, E, and loads of antioxidants can be found in this fibrous veggie. Just like spinach, you’ll get the most benefit out of it the less you cook it – so, raw is ideal.
Ginger is another ingredient that lots of people turn to when they feel a tickle in their throat. Another root, ginger helps decrease inflammation, decrease nausea, relieve chronic pain, and, of course – boost the immune system!
The Bottom Line
Eating right and incorporating these health-promoting foods in your diet is an excellent way to ward of germs all year long. Nutrition is all about variety, so be sure to incorporate a multitude of these beneficial foods to your diet instead of eating just one. Remember to limit your sugar intake, avoid processed foods and hydrogenated oils, and your body (and immune system!) will thank you and be able to function at its best.