- Due to widespread illness, it’s more important now to ensure you’re doing everything you can to boost your immune system — including what you eat.
- Your ability to fight off a cold, the flu or illness in general can be directly impacted by your diet.
- Eating certain foods can be immune-boosting, including the ones featured in this article.
Now more than ever, it is important to take care of your immune system. In the course of the year, it is estimated that people in the U.S. suffer from 1 billion common colds, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While eating one food or the other can’t completely eliminate the chance of getting ill, it’s important to pay more attention to our nutrition to help boost our immunity. We’ve compiled a list of the best immune-boosting, nutrient-dense foods to incorporate into your daily life.
1. Enjoy fermented foods
Have you ever tried fermented foods? These foods — such as kimchi, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and tempeh — can have an impact on your body’s ability to fight off the common cold or the flu. According to one study, from Georgia State University, fermented foods appear to help protect us against the influenza virus, and can even help in preventing secondary infection. Fermented foods contain probiotics which can enrich your gut health and boost your immunity.
2. Up your Vitamin D
Taking Vitamin D supplements is terrific for many reasons — it can decrease your risk of developing heart disease, aid in healthy weight loss, help in battling depression and even can help boost your immune system to fight the cold and flu. By incorporating Vitamin D into your daily life — through a capsule or liquid form — you may decrease your risk of contracting a cold or flu from others. Vitamin D can also be found in foods such as orange juice, soy milk, fish some grains and dairy products.
3. Eat your leafy greens
Did your parents ever tell you to eat your greens? Well, they were on to something. Eating leafy greens such as kale, bok choy and spinach contains magnesium, which is shown to have anti-inflammatory components.
“Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation,” Dr. Hu at Harvard Health says. “It’s not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.”
Choosing to eat foods that aid in reducing inflammation can have a great impact on your body’s ability to prevent and fight illness. If you need ideas for incorporating them into your meals, load up on your leafy greens by adding them into a smoothie, in a salad or even into a breakfast scramble.
4. Try switching it up to a Mediterranean diet
Have you ever heard of the Mediterranean diet? Just like with leafy greens, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. The diet consists of the daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, along with healthy fats. It also contains a weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans, and eggs. If you’re vegetarian, you can just remove the meats and substitute lots of legumes. The diet also limits the intake of red meat or dairy. In one study, researchers found that adopting the diet has the potential to prevent chronic disease, boost the immune system, and improve longevity. If you’re looking to protect yourself, consider making the switch.
Your body will be grateful when you incorporate these 4 immune-boosting, nutrient-dense options into your diet. We want you to live a long, healthy life free from the common cold, influenza, and other illnesses.