* Image Courtesy of Dr. Christina Marino, DAOM, L.Ac.
Your ability to remain healthy, function properly and interact with the world around you is dependent to a large extent on your immune system as it fights off foreign invaders, such as pathogenic viruses and bacteria. Additionally, they also help destroy cells before they become cancerous. In many cases, poor diet and nutrition have contributed to a lacking immune system. With that being said, it is crucial that you consume certain foods in order to keep your immune system functioning well all year long. To ensure that you make it through flu season and live a flourishing life, here are foods that keep your immune system healthy:
Citrus Fruits… Citrus fruits are a major powerhouse of vitamin C which is known to drastically boost the immune system’s functions. Studies prove that this essential vitamin can reduce one’s risk of a cold by 24 percent. Some of the most nutritious citrus fruits include grapefruits, oranges, limes and lemons.
Fish… Most people do not incorporate enough omega 3 fats into their diet but they can do so by consuming fish. Opt for fish like salmon, mackerel or tuna to get the best dose possible. Zinc is another nutrient found in fish which helps with the building of the cells in your body, especially the immune cells.
Green Tea… A cup of green tea supplies your body with an abundance of amino acids which give your immune system the boots that it needs in order to successfully fight off foreign invaders. Even decaf versions contains large amounts so drink up!
Garlic… Garlic is full of immunity boosting compounds as well as antiseptic properties. This super spice helps combat bacteria and infections while also helping to promote the growth of white blood cells. It is also one of the easiest foods to sneak into your meals. Roast it with vegetables, add it to your soup or bake it into your favorite casseroles and reap the amazing benefits.
Mushrooms… Mushrooms increase the production of cytokines, which are cells that work to fight off infection. Mushrooms also contain compounds known as polysaccharides that support the immune system. The most potent and nutritious mushrooms are reishi, shiitake and maitake.
Carrots… Carrots contain a hefty amount of beta carotene, which is a strong phytonutrient that enhances the immune system’s ability to produce infection fighting cells and T cells. These particular cells kill off and fight disease-ridden microbes so you can live a healthy life. Carrots also contain a compound known as falcarinol which researchers believe is a powerful anti-cancer agent.
Yogurt… A cup of yogurt per day is said to reduce your risk of a cold by 25 percent. Yogurt contains a beneficial bacteria called lactobacillus reuteri that has been proven to block viruses from invading the body. Be sure to choose an organic yogurt to achieve these benefits.
Attempt to make your diet as varied and interesting as possible. By doing so, your immune system will be stronger than ever and ready to put up a good fight when any hazardous viruses and bacteria come headed your way.