Health

Immune-Boosting Foods That Will Help People From Catching Bugs

With the current crisis, people are more cautious about heading toward cold and flu seasons. Globally, we’ve been reminded that a new strain of illness can… Trista - May 14, 2020

With the current crisis, people are more cautious about heading toward cold and flu seasons. Globally, we’ve been reminded that a new strain of illness can pop up and turn the world upside down. Now, we’re already thinking ahead and what we’re going to do stay immune in a few months when the cold and flu season starts up again. 

However, you shouldn’t be looking several months away and wondering what you need to do. It’s time to look at what you can do now to start preparing yourself. The key to fighting illnesses like the cold and flu is boosting your immune system. Fortunately, you can do this by simply eating certain foods throughout the day. How cool is that? Need to know what foods to put on your plate so you can stay healthy – check out the list below. 

Blueberries aren’t generally thought of as winter food, but they’re great for building your immunity. Shutterstock.

Blueberries

The biggest reason blueberries boost your immunity is because they’re filled with a compound called pterostilbene. This increases your body’s ability to fight bacterial infections. It doesn’t matter how you consume the blueberries, but it’s always best to ensure they don’t have high levels of pesticides, as this can decrease its effectiveness on your system. 

You can add fresh blueberries to your salad or yogurt. They also make a great snack by themselves. You want to keep your blueberries as healthy as possible to boost your immunity, but you can also make them into a blueberry pie for an extra special treat. 

Add a little lemon in your tea for extra flavor. Shutterstock.

Ginger Tea

Tea is a standard drink for many people, especially when the weather starts to get cold. You might not like ginger tea over other flavors, but you must have some ginger tea around your home because it will boost your immune system. 

Researchers state that ginger is a great anti-inflammatory agent for your body. When you’re fighting inflammation, one of the first parts of your system to struggle is your immunity. Of course, this only allows other bacteria and viruses to enter your body. By drinking tea, you can decrease any inflammation and protect your body from most illnesses. 

Chicken noodle soup seems like one of the best foods to help you fight the cold and flu. Shutterstock.

Chicken Noodle Soup

You probably remember your mother making chicken noodle soup when you can down with a cold. She probably did this because it’s a typical food to eat when you’re not feeling well, but might not have realized the critical step she took in building up your immunity. 

Researchers from the University of California state that the soup has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps heal the upper respiratory tract during a cold. At the same time, any nasal congestion is relieved from the soup’s ingredients. 

Mushrooms hold a great flavor that can make nearly any dish taste better and help you stay healthy. Shutterstock.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are full of selenium, riboflavin, and niacin, all help in fighting against disease and improving your immune function. How they work is they attach to bacteria because mushrooms stimulate your immune system’s helper T cells. 

Because you can use mushrooms in so many dishes, it’s easy to add other ingredients, such as ginger and blueberries, that will further boost your immune system. Even though mushrooms tend to become harder to find at farmer’s markets during the winter, you can find them in stores. Always remember, the fresher, the better!

You can have oranges for breakfast, a snack, in a salad, and even add them to your water. Shutterstock.

Oranges

Oranges are packed with vitamin C, one of the main vitamins you want to consume when fighting the cold and flu. The key to vitamin C, is you want to focus on getting it into your body before you start to get sick. Then, when you begin to feel a cold coming on, it’s time to increase your intake. The more vitamin C that you put into your system, the better chance you have of fighting off the cold. 

Researchers from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at Australian National University have helped prove that vitamin C is necessary when you want to build your immune system. Their study showed that while some people fought off a cold entirely, others didn’t have the severe symptoms most colds bring. One of the most significant ways to get vitamin C is by eating an orange as it’s packed with this ingredient. Plus, it tastes a lot better than taking vitamin C supplements. 

Turmeric is a spice that not only boosts the taste of your food but also improves your health. Shutterstock.

Turmeric

You can add turmeric to any meal that you want to give a little spice to, such as tacos and casseroles. It’s also known as a great ingredient to boost your immune system, especially during cold and flu season. Turmeric has a compound called curcumin, which helps to decrease the inflammation in your body so you can fight off infections easier. The reason the spice has a vibrant orange-yellow color is because of this compound. 

The proof of the compound comes from an article written in the Journal of Clinical Immunology. The study states that the T-cells are activated by curcumin, and these cells are the main ingredient you need to fight strains of colds and the flu. 

Almonds help you get through the cold and flu season because of the amount of vitamin E. Shutterstock.

Almonds

Almonds are a great snack because they not only help you lose weight, but they also help you fight the common cold. One reason is that they have a lot of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps boost the health of your immune system. All you need is to eat about ¼ cup of almonds every day to get 50% of the vitamin E you need. 

You can also look to almond flour instead of regular flour when you’re baking. Another way to get a bit more almonds into your system is to try almond milk. You can also add them to your casseroles (you’ll be amazed at how they can help some meals taste better), salads, and on your yogurt. 

Water helps you stay hydrated, which keeps your immune system running smoothly. Shutterstock.

Water

It’s not the most appealing drink, but there’s a reason your doctor tells you to drink many fluids when you’re sick. No, they don’t mean soda and other beverages. While tea is also a great choice, they want you to drink as much water as possible. 

You probably know you’re supposed to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Have you ever noticed how much you do consume in a day? You should ensure you drink the right amount because water will loosen your mucus that traps in your body when you’re sick. Plus, it’ll help you stay hydrated, which makes you feel better all around, especially your immune system. 

You can add other ingredients, such as blueberries or almonds, to increase the fighting aids in your body. Shutterstock.

Greek Yogurt

You know that Greek yogurt is a great snack, as it’s already been mentioned in this article. But did you also know that it’s excellent for your overall health? What makes Greek yogurt healthier to eat than regular yogurt is all of the probiotics that help fight off colds and other illnesses you’ll find during the winter season. 

On top of this, Greek yogurt has a lot of protein, which is also a benefit for your health. A study published in the Korean Journal of Family Medicine states that people who eat this type of yogurt, especially daily, have an easier time fighting off the common cold. 

You can use any type of bell pepper to boost your immune system and add flavor to your food. Shutterstock.

Bell Peppers 

You’ve already read how oranges are great to boost your vitamin C levels, but bell peppers are even better. When you compare, one cup of orange juice or orange slices has less vitamin C than one cup of bell peppers. There is 190 mg of vitamin C in just one cup of bell peppers!

Vitamin C helps fight off the cold and flu by stimulating your white blood cell production and function in your body. You can snack on raw bell peppers or add them to your favorite meals. You can saute them as a side vegetable or even stuff them with meat or cream cheese. 

Ginseng tea is another type of tea that’s great to fight the common cold. Shutterstock.

Ginseng Tea

Like Ginger tea, Ginseng tea is another type that can help you get rid of the common cold and flu. Not only does it have a fantastic taste, but it can help clear upper respiratory issues that you have. Another benefit is it’s a warm drink, which is always nice to have on a cold day. 

The Canadian Medical Association Journal states that studies show Ginseng tea shown to reduce the symptoms of colds and the flu significantly. However, it’s important to note that research about Ginseng tea is new, which means other studies need to be conducted until you can know all of the benefits that it holds for your body. 

Another great food to add to your casseroles or sandwiches to boost your immunity is tomatoes. Shutterstock.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are another food that’s high in vitamin C, so you want to eat more when you’re sick. For example, just one medium tomato holds over 16 mg of the vitamin. However, eating tomatoes before you start to feel sick can help you fight off the cold and flu. 

German researchers looked into the health benefits of eating tomatoes and published their findings in the German journal Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten. The study proved that tomatoes help build up your body’s T-cells, which is an integral part of boosting your immune system. 

Garlic is not only useful to keep away any vampires but also to boost your immune system. Shutterstock.

Garlic 

You probably love garlic for a tasty flavor. It’s a spice that holds a unique taste and smell – to the point that you might not want to kiss if someone has too much. But, garlic is also great because it can help boost your immunity. It contains the component allicin, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. 

Several studies show that by adding raw garlic to your meals, you can boost the function of seven genes related to immune health. Of course, you can always saute and cook the garlic and receive the same benefits. So, the next time you’re thinking of adding spice to your meal, think of chopping up a little garlic. 

You now have another reason to eat dark chocolate because it helps boost your immune system. Shutterstock.

Dark Chocolate

You didn’t think you would get through the list without reading about chocolate, did you? While you might not be a dark chocolate lover, you might want to acquire the taste because it can help boost your immune system. Dark chocolate is filled with theobromine, which is an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing and eases symptoms of the common cold. 

The journal Frontiers in Pharmacology published a study that explained the benefits of dark chocolate concerning your health. The study proved that not only is theobromine good to ease coughing, but it also helps you manage upper respiratory symptoms from bronchitis. 

Eating broccoli can help prevent a common cold. Shutterstock.

Broccoli 

You’ve probably noticed there are many vegetables on this list. That’s because they are filled with great vitamins and minerals that can help you get through the cold and flu season. Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles conducted studies that prove broccoli is a building block for your immune system. 

According to the research, there is a chemical in the vegetable called sulforaphane that turns on antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells. When this happens, the enzymes fight off free radicals in your body and prevent you from getting sick. Even if you need to dip your broccoli in cheese or ranch, it’ll help you stay healthy. 

Beef holds a lot of zinc, which is essential to keeping you healthy. Shutterstock.

Beef

You’re probably a bit surprised to see beef on the list. If you eat meat, it’s a great food that can help you fight off the cold and flu. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, no worries because there are tons of delicious meals available to help you build up your immunity. 

Beef is on this list because it contains zinc, which helps you fight off illnesses. It’s essential to get enough zinc in your system to stay healthy. It’s vital to grow your white blood cells, which are responsible for going into battle with diseases that make their way into your body. It’s possible to have a zinc deficiency, which will make you sick more often. Therefore, you want to ensure you’re getting enough into your system. 

Extra virgin olive oil is a great way to boost your immune system. Shutterstock.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The next time you reach for an oil to add to your food, look for Extra virgin olive oil. It holds excellent benefits that help keep you healthy. One reason it’s such a great ingredient to add is that it can make nearly any dish taste that much better. Plus, it can aid in weight loss!

The British Journal of Nutrition published an article by researchers that prove the health benefits of the oil. The study showed that olive oil has a high prevalence of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are healthy fats. It’s an anti-inflammatory agent that fights the common cold and other diseases. 

Salmon has a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids that help keep you healthy and gives you energy. Shutterstock.

Salmon

There are many great benefits of salmon, and one is that you can fight off colds and flu. On top of this, you can also get a little more energy because salmon is filled with Omega-3 fatty acids that aid in both of these benefits. Salmon has enzymes that help reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. When you deal with inflammation, which happens when you get sick, your immune system breaks down. Therefore, you want anti-inflammatory foods. 

Salmon is also a great source of vitamin D, which you can struggle to get during the winter because you’re not in the sun often. The most vitamin D you have, the easier it is for your body to fight infections. You can add salmon to your dishes and give it an extra taste with spices or squeezing a lemon on top. 

Green tea is a popular one among the drinks, so you’re probably receiving health benefits without even realizing it. Shutterstock.

Green Tea

Yes, another tea on the list, but you’re probably not complaining. Along with other teas, green tea is a great drink to have during the winter. It’s also great to have around your home because it will help you fight off the flu and cold that tends to plague your house during the coldest months of the year. 

When it comes to foods that boost your immune system, green tea is one of the best. On top of that, it’s also a great tea to help you lose weight. Bonus! Green tea contains an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties known as flavonoids. A study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology shows that tea also contains catechin, an antioxidant that can kill off many different illnesses. 

Eating whole grain bread is a great way to get in your grain intake and help fight off the common cold. Shutterstock.

Whole Grain Bread

You’ve heard for years that you should choose whole grain bread over other types of bread because it’s healthier, but you probably haven’t read much more than that. One main reason is that whole grain bread includes anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers proved this through a study and wrote about the results in a journal titled The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Researchers state that whole grain bread aims at fighting off strains of cold, flu, and other diseases that head to your gut. This is because about 70% of your immune system is in your stomach. 

Apples truly do help keep the doctor away. Shutterstock.

Apples

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This saying isn’t just a saying. It has much truth to it because apples help boost your immunity. Therefore, the more you eat them, the less you’ll need to make a trip to see your doctor. 

The fact is that apples contain phytochemical antioxidants that help boost your immune system. According to an article in the Nutritional Journal, these antioxidants reduce the risk of chronic illnesses and burst your immune system. 

No matter how you cook an egg or what you make with an egg, you can benefit from it. Shutterstock.

Eggs

Eggs are indeed one of the best foods in the world – well, at least for some people. However, after you learn that eggs can boost your immune system, you might feel they’re a little more critical at the breakfast table. The best health benefits you receive from eggs come when you include the yolk. 

Eggs contain vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient for your body. It gives you more energy, but it also helps fight off infections because your immune system has an easier time fighting off the common cold. A study published in the journal JAMA states that people who eat eggs fought off respiratory illnesses better than people who didn’t. 

Several types of nuts help you fight off the common cold, and the best part is they make the perfect snack! Shutterstock.

Nuts

You already read that almonds are a great ingredient to help you fight off the common cold and flu, but so are other nuts. One reason is that most nuts contain the right amount of vitamin E, which fights off diseases by decreasing inflammation. 

Researchers published a study they concluded in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that looked at how nuts help boost your immunity. The study found that people who ate about 50 mg of vitamin E through nuts reduced their risk of catching a cold by 28 percent in people 65 years old and above who were daily smokers. 

Sweet potatoes are one of the tastiest potatoes that you can add to your meal for a particular taste. Shutterstock.

Sweet Potatoes

If you love potatoes, you’ll be happy to know that one type has made this list, sweet potatoes. Usually, people only eat them during the holiday season or other exceptional times throughout the year. However, it might not be a bad idea to include them in your diet more often to improve your immune system. 

Sweet potatoes contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which holds vitamin A. This is a type of vitamin that’s essential for your body because it helps the function of the immune cells. You don’t even need to eat a lot of sweet potatoes because 5-inches of one potato contains 100% of the vitamin A you need in your daily diet. 

One fact about bone broth is that you don’t need to add it to any soups or main dish. You can simply warm it up and drink it. Shutterstock.

Bone Broth

You couldn’t get through this list without seeing bone broth, and it’s one of the best ingredients to add that can boost your immune health. It’s usually a part of chicken noodle soup and many other dishes, so this helps you find a recipe to make it with. One of the main reasons why soups help you fight off the common cold is because of bone broth. 

The American College Of Chest Physicians conducted a study to prove the effectiveness of this broth. At the end of the study, they concluded it contains a large number of anti-inflammatory agents, which is the leading reason you can fight off colds, the flu, and other diseases. 

Sources:

“13 Immunity-boosting Foods for Cold and Flu Season.” Christy Brissette, Men’s Journal. 

“17 immune-boosting foods to get you through cold and flu season.” Gabrielle Frank, Today. December 2017. 

“30 Best Immune-Boosting Foods.” Jennifer Hussein, Eat This Not That. April 2020. 

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