8 Foods That Boost Immune System Health
You can think of your immune system as an expansive defense grid that guards you from various infections and conditions—these include colds, influenza, and any other infectious agents. They may also play a part in minimizing seasonal allergy symptoms and preventing certain types of cancers.
But in order to function properly, your immune system requires several nutrients that you can get weave into your everyday diet. These crucial nutrients include protein, vitamins A, C, and E, plus the minerals zinc and iron.
Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are found in certain foods and can help balance the flora in your digestive system. They’re well known to be effective at boosting your digestive health.
Your everyday balanced diet should provide you with all of the nutrients and probiotics you need, so you may want to consider adding these eight foods to your daily meal plan. Each one is high in two or more of the nutrients listed above which are needed to help in keeping your immune system strong.
Did you know that just one cup of raw chopped broccoli provides almost a full day's worth of vitamin C, which is essential for your immune system function? This in turn helps stimulate the formation of antibodies.
Broccoli also provides vitamin A and plant-based iron, which are also crucial elements for a healthy immune system.
Avocado is probably best known for being a super-rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids AKA “good fats,” similar to olive oil. Avocado also provides vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, and zinc.
It’s a highly versatile food—add avocado slices to sandwiches, make some guacamole, or top your favorite healthy salads with cubes of avocado.
You can usually find almonds in any local grocery store or farmer’s market. They're perfect as a healthy snack and can also be added to salads and yogurt. Almonds are high in vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant in your body and helps the immune system function.
Not only that, but almonds contain iron and protein, which are also essential for your immune system—plus they simply taste delicious!
Kale is what’s known as a cruciferous vegetable and it’s closely related to cauliflower, arugula, and broccoli. It's a “super-veggie” that is rich in so many nutrients, including vitamin A, which is important for maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes.
Kale is also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and zinc.
The “chicken of the sea,” tuna is best known as a vital source of omega-3 fatty acids. Not only that, but it's also high in zinc, selenium, and protein, which are all essential for your body’s immune system function.
Tuna is quite a versatile fish as well. It can be eaten raw, seared, baked, or grilled. You can also keep a few cans of tuna on hand for sandwiches and salads.
Oysters are such an excellent booster for your immune system because they're very high in zinc and an excellent source of protein and iron. Oysters also contain vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
Try oyster stew for dinner or have raw oysters as an appetizer (or for an aphrodisiac). You'll find oysters canned or raw in most grocery stores.
Mangos used to be thought of as a bit on the exotic side and weren't always easy to find in grocery stores or farmer's markets. But these days, that's changed and they're normally available in both the produce and freezer sections of most grocery stores.
And that's good news because mangos are loaded to the brim with both vitamins A and C, plus they also offer vitamin E.
Yogurt is probably the best-known (and widely available) dietary source of probiotics that can give immune systems a tremendous boost. It's also high in protein and contains a bit of vitamin A and zinc.
Keep your yogurt nutritious by choosing plain low-fat or non-fat yogurt, and add in berries, nuts, granola, and/or seeds, and a little bit of honey to sweeten things up.
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