With the ongoing pandemic, we’re all looking at our health in different ways. Many people are looking at areas that could use improvement, while still trying to save some money, and see where they can improve their health and immunity. One big thing that people are looking at is how to properly build up their immunity, which can be beneficial not only for battling COVID-19, but also any other illness, such as a cold or the flu. One of the best ways to improve your immunity is by eating right. There is so much connection between how we fuel our body and how we protect it from illness. We’ve put together a list of foods that boost your immune system so you can easily add those to your grocery list.
- Poultry. First up on our list is an easy-to-purchase option in our online store! Poultry is lean white meat that can help keep you healthy, and even help you heal when you’re sick. One of the most common sick person foods is chicken noodle soup, and there’s more to it than just being a placebo effect. Chicken is high in vitamin B-6, which is very important in a variety of chemical reactions in your body, along with creating red blood cells. Chicken can be a great addition to your weekly meal plan, especially if you are focusing on building your immunity up.
- Shellfish. You may not think of it at first, but shellfish are packed with zinc, which is necessary for our immune cells to function properly. You’ll find high amounts of zinc in oysters, crab, lobster, and mussels. Just make sure you aren’t eating too much in one day, as too much zinc could inhibit your immune system function. Add shellfish in once or twice a week for a nice balanced meal plan.
- Citrus. Most people think of drinking a big glass of orange juice when they start to feel sick, mainly because it is known to have large amounts of vitamin C in it. Vitamin C is thought to help increase white blood cell production, and if you have an infection, you need your white blood cells working overtime to help your body get rid of it. However, it’s not just orange juice, many citrus fruits have great sources of vitamin C, including grapefruits, clementines, tangerines, lemons, and limes.
- Red bell peppers. You probably didn’t think this would make it on our list, but red bell peppers have more vitamin C than that of a standard orange. In fact, red bell peppers have nearly 3 times as much, and they also are rich in beta carotene, which helps keep your eyes and skin healthy. Not only that but these can easily be cooked up with chicken for a delicious meal that packs quite the nutritious punch.
- Garlic. Garlic not only tastes great but it also is known for fighting infections. This was discovered and touted back in early civilizations, and its powers come from allicin, which helps it boost your immune system and better help you fight off any infection.
- Broccoli. Your mom was right, you need to eat your broccoli. This green superfood is packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a very healthy vegetable that provides a multi-faceted increase to your immune system. Just make sure you don’t cook it much. Raw or steamed seems to be the best way to keep those nutrients.
- Ginger. You probably turn to ginger ale when your stomach isn’t feeling great or may sip on a cup of ginger tea to aid digestion, but more than that, ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can in itself cause infections and illnesses, but also is caused by many, including sore throats and cases of flu. The evidence is still shaky, but this food may even help lower cholesterol.
- Spinach. Another green superfood, you’ll want to add this to your daily smoothies or even in a salad. Not only does spinach have a lot of vitamin C, which it does, but it also has antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the ability of our immune systems to fight off illnesses. The same thing as broccoli, you don’t want to enjoy your spinach cooked, and you’ll want it either raw or very lightly cooked in a recipe. Don’t let it get too wilted though, or you’ll lose out on those nutrients it’s known for.
- Yogurt is a well-known probiotic to help keep your gut healthy and happy, but it may have some immunity-boosting properties as well. Cultures that live in yogurt may help stimulate your immune system. Not only that but it’s loaded with vitamin D, which also is thought to help our bodies fight off diseases. Opt for Greek yogurt, and try to avoid those extra sugars by going with a plain flavor or low sugar variety. You can always dress up this dish with fruit and toppings.
- Turmeric. This special spice is used in quite a bit of food in other cultures, and you likely recognize the distinct yellow color as one of the main ingredients in curry. It’s a bitter spice, that has been used for hundreds of years as an anti-inflammatory. Not only can it help with any potential muscle inflammation from working out, but it can also potentially help your body out as an immune booster and even an antiviral. Research on that is still low, but the promise is there.
Adding these foods to your grocery shopping list is easier than ever. You can even combine several ingredients by whipping up a chicken spinach curry, with turmeric and ginger as some of the featured spices in this dish. That would be a powerhouse of a dinner to help give your immune system an added boost.