The Five Best Immune-Boosting Foods to Add to Your Diet

The Five Best Immune-Boosting Foods to Add to Your Diet

If you find yourself constantly run down with colds and flu, and frequently feel under the weather, then you may not be consuming enough vital immune-boosting foods.

So, what are the best foods for your immune system? We all know that the key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to have a well-balanced diet that is rich in the nutrients and vitamins found in fruit, vegetables, quality proteins, unsaturated fats, starchy carbohydrates, dairy and other whole foods.

Following a diet like this will do wonders for your health, but there are some standout foods packed full of goodness and have extra-special health benefits. So, we’ve rounded up our favourite immune-boosting foods to supercharge your diet when you need a little pick-me-up.

Prepare to add all of these to your next shopping list!

Note: the foods listed here can help to ease mild symptoms and improve general health and wellbeing, but cannot alone cure or prevent diseases or ailments. If you are worried about your health, please speak to your GP for professional advice and treatment.

Blueberries

Whilst blueberries might look like a small and humble fruit, you shouldn’t underestimate them as they are full of essential vitamins, nutrients and flavonoids. Flavonoids have antioxidant properties (antioxidants are molecules that can prevent or delay some types of cell damage), and, according to a study done by the University of Auckland, can reduce your chance of getting upper respiratory tract infections. That’s why the blueberry is one of the best fruits for your immune system.

One cup of blueberries constitutes one serving; sprinkle them on your morning porridge or in some Greek yoghurt to power up your breakfast and give yourself the best start to the day.

Immune-Boosting Blueberries

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes are great examples of foods that can boost your immune system due to their high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C has many important roles within the body, including helping to protect cells, and maintain healthy skin, blood vessels and bones. A scientific study also found that citrus phytochemicals found in all citrus fruits can help to safeguard against serious conditions like heart disease and cancer. Perhaps they should change the saying to one orange a day…

Get your recommended daily dose of vitamin C from a medium-sized orange. Why not have one as a sweet mid-afternoon snack or chop one up into a vibrant fruit salad to enjoy as a dessert?

Immune-Boosting Citrus Fruit

Ginger

An ancient aromatic spice from Southeast Asia, not only is ginger bursting with delicious flavour, but it has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Ginger can be used to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold as it’s a diaphoretic, encouraging you to sweat out a fever. Studies also show that it can be used to help nausea, especially morning sickness in pregnant women. Ginger is what’s known as a carminative, meaning it can get rid of excess gas in the digestive system which can reduce stomach cramps and help digestion.

Try adding some fresh ginger to your next stir fry to give it a real zing, or pour yourself a cup of ginger tea and start reaping the benefits of this immune-boosting food.

Immune-Boosting Ginger

Turmeric

Turmeric belongs to the same family as ginger, so it makes sense that it has lots of the same fantastic health benefits. It contains curcumin which gives it its characteristic orange/yellow colour and is a bioactive compound with powerful protective properties. Curcumin can help to limit the effects of oxidation and reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Turmeric can even down-regulate other harmful inflammatory compounds known as cytokines, and studies have shown that it can ease the symptoms of arthritis – so it’s definitely a good food for the immune system.

We suggest adding to it your curries, or you could even try a turmeric latte if you’re feeling adventurous and want to reap the health benefits of this ancient spice.

Immune-Boosting Turmeric

Spinach

This leafy green vegetable has a very high content of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, fibre, magnesium and iron – all essential for maintaining a healthy body and immune system.

Spinach’s rich iron content can improve the quality of your blood and boost energy levels, plus it’s an excellent source of vitamin K which is vital for healthy bones. The health benefits of spinach don’t stop there; it also contains nitrates which improve blood flow and promote arterial dilation which has been associated with a decreased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Chlorophyll and carotenoids give spinach its dark green colour and are important for healthy eyesight. Now, that’s a lot of goodness packed into a thin green leaf!

Spinach is great as you can add it to just about anything and it shrinks down into small manageable chunks. Add it to your lasagne, pies and pastas – it’s one of the best vegetables for your immune system.

Immune-Boosting Spinach

We hope that adding these best immune-boosting foods to your diet when you’re a little under the weather will help you to feel refreshed and revitalised. Find more health and wellness advice on our blog, including How Diet Can Affect Your Mental Health and Foods to Avoid for Arthritis.

At HSL, your comfort and wellbeing are our top priority, so we offer a range of practical and comfortable chairs and sofas that have all been approved by our Occupational Therapist, Julie Jennings Dip COT HCPC, to support a healthy lifestyle.

 

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