14 Powerful Foods To Help You Strengthen Your Immune System
The winter may seem quite demanding for your body as you may go through severe weather (depending where you live) but actually spring takes more toll on most of our bodies. Why? Allergies. Your immune system is supposed to protect your body from harmful microorganisms like certain fungi, bacteria, viruses and more. However, sometimes a immune system can be out of balance and start attacking harmless substances such as dust and most notably in the spring – pollen. Your body then triggers a false alarm and sends a swarm of antibodies to attack these harmful substances. This results in you sneezing, having a runny nose or itchy eyes and more. You can help your immune system to stay balanced, by eating these 14 foods that promote its well-being.
Sage is a natural expectorant. Expectorant is a word derived from the Latin expectorare, which literally means to expel from the chest. Natural expectorants like sage aid in the clearance of mucus within your body and keep your cough in control. A drop of sage in tea or hot water could help you get over your next cold.
The live cultures, or probiotics in yogurt make it a great immune boosting food. They help maintain your gut and intestinal track health while keeping it free from disease-causing germs. A study in University of Vienna in Austria revealed that taking 7 ounces of yogurt can be just as effective as pills in boosting your system. In a 80 day study in Sweden, 181 factory workers were given Lactobacillus, a probiotic found in yogurt, on a daily basis and it resulted in 33 percent fewer sick days than those who took the placebo. Look for this specific strain of live cultures on your yogurt. Stonyfield Organic plain yogurt is one that has this specific strain which may stimulate the white blood cells. Add some fruit for extra benefits.
A new study found that taking larch can reduce your chances of a cold by 23 percent. You can purchase larch supplements in any pharmacy or health food store, under the ingredients it should list “larch resist-aid”.
Random fact: Larch trees are native to cooler temperatures and some can grow up to 147 feet tall!
4. Oregano oil
Oregano oil can act as a RoboCop for your digestive system by hunting down and killing the bad bacteria that may be dominating it. It can help boost your immune system and digestive health. The recommended dose is 200 mg, three times a day.
A harvard study revealed that people who drank 5 cups of black tea per day had 10 times the virus-fighting interferon (group of signaling proteins sent in response to harmful germs in your system) than those who took a placebo hot drink. The secret? L-theanine that is found in black and green teas.
Allicin, a potent ingredient find in garlic can help fight infections and bacteria. In a British study, 146 participants were given either a placebo or garlic for an entire year, and those who took the garlic were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. Other studies even suggest than those who consume more than 6 cloves weekly have 50% less chance of stomach cancer. This may outweigh a stinky garlic breath.
7. Japanese Mushrooms
Whichever you prefer, shitake, oyster or enoki – they are all powerful immune system boosters. Studies show that mushrooms can boost your activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive which helps at a time of an infection. Add these to your meals daily.
8. Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage and Lettuce
What do all these veggies have in common besides being very delicious? They help support your liver and provide a healthy environment for the immune cells to live there. They also improve the liver’s ability to flush out toxins.
Support your body’s adrenal functions and health by adding avocados to your diet daily. This will ensure your immune system is happy and they are also a fantastic source of antioxidants and healthy fat.
10. Chicken Soup
Cooking chicken releases cysteine, an amino acid that resembles a bronchitis drug. The salty broth of chicken soup keeps your mucus thin, the same way cough medicine does. No wonder people turn to chicken soup during colds.
11. Barley and Oats
Everyone loves oatmeal in the morning. But did you know oats can reduce LDL, or “bad cholesterol”? A Norwegian study claims that barley and oats contain powerful antioxidant capabilities. When animals are fed this compound, they are less likely to contract herpes, anthrax and influenza. For us humans, it can speed up healing of foods, promote function of antibiotics and boost our immune systems!
12. Sweet Potatoes
Most of us don’t think as skin playing a vital role in fighting off infections and protecting our body. However, it’s one of the most crucial organs as it is the first line of defense against viruses, bacteria and other unwanted predators. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, which your body then turns into Vitamin A. Vitamin A, according researchers, plays a vital role in in building connective tissue. Squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe and carrots are also a fantastic and delicious source of beta-carotene.
Ellagic acid and punic alagin can be found in the juice of pomegranate seeds, which help preserve collagen in our skin and help fight damage from free radicals. It can also be a great source of phytonutrients which keep your skin looking healthy.
Omega 3 fats found in Salmon can reduce inflammation, increase airflow and protect your lungs from respiratory infections and colds. Salmon also has one of the lowest content of mercury as compared to other fish with high omega 3 fats like mackerel.