The Top Foods that Boost Your Immune System

The Top Foods that Boost Your Immune System

It’s the infamous flu season. The chances of you and your family getting sick are higher than ever and it might feel instinctual to stock up on vitamin C supplements. However, there are lots of other ways to boost your immune system this season! In addition to supplementing nutrients, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is a crucial part of maintaining a strong immune system. There are several foods that can help boost your immune system and keep you feeling your best. Below you’ll find a list of seven superfoods, their benefits, and ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet! 

Not all foods wear capes, but these do:

1. Citrus Fruits

Benefits: Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, and others are high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system. While vitamin C does not necessarily stop a cold from occurring, it may stop more serious symptoms from developing. Other benefits of vitamin C include reduced stress, lower risks of strokes, and reduced appearance of wrinkles and dryness on the skin. 

How to incorporate: Oranges and grapefruit are great snacks on the go, and lemons and limes make for an easy, squeezable salad dressing or water enhancer!

2. Cacao  

Benefits: Cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate, and it's naturally packed with antioxidants and vitamins C, B-6, E, and other nutrients that boost the immune system. So dark chocolate may cure more than a bad mood. Cacao is also a good source of magnesium, which is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Magnesium has also been shown to help with hormone balance, energy and so much more! 

How to incorporate: You can easily incorporate cacao, not only through yummy dark chocolate but also through our Organic Cacao + Morning Mushrooms drink and Organic Sunrise Blend! We have multiple recipes that will suit your needs—from a hearty breakfast drink to a nutritious and satisfying dessert drink like our peppermint hot chocolate recipe.

3. Turkey tail mushrooms  

Benefits: These mushrooms are a good source of beta-glucans, which are soluble fibers contained in the cell walls of mushrooms. These robust mushrooms are also known to lower cholesterol levels, and their nutritious properties can reduce the chances of heart disease. Additionally, turkey tail mushrooms are high in antioxidants, which support your immune system. 

How to incorporate: If you’re new to turkey tail, we recommend enjoying it in our Organic Cacao+ Morning Mushrooms blend—multiple superfoods in one tasty beverage sounds dreamy!

4. Red bell peppers 

Benefits:  While these colorful vegetables are also very high in vitamin C, making them a great choice for boosting your immune system, they also have Vitamin B3 (Niacin). This powerful vitamin helps with issues like indigestion, depression, and fatigue, and even promotes healthy skin, bringing more color into your life. 

How to incorporate: These veggies are very versatile so there are many ways to enjoy them. Some ideas include cutting them into slices and dipping them in your favorite organic hummus, cooking them into a stir-fry, or adding them to a salad.

5. Spinach 

Benefits: In addition to this leafy green being packed with vitamin C and vitamin E which can help to support the immune system, spinach is also filled with high amounts of beta-carotene, which has significant benefits. For one, beta carotene is known for its ability to strengthen your eye health. Studies even show that this compound, which your body metabolizes into Vitamin A, can significantly decrease your risk for eye diseases such as macular degeneration. 

How to incorporate: There is no shortage of ways to include spinach into your meal plan, but here are a few: add it as a topping on tacos or burritos, cook it into your morning omelets, or throw it into a smoothie.

6. Garlic 

Benefits: While garlic also has antiviral and antibacterial properties that support the immune system, it's also high in antioxidants and has been shown to help reduce the severity of colds and other illnesses. A study on garlic’s health benefits shows that it can reduce major health risks such as various cancers, heart disorders, and bone and skin diseases due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Go ahead, the garlic breath is worth it!

How to incorporate: In addition to its powerful and tasty flavor, this superfood is also very easy to incorporate. If you mince garlic you can add it to enhance your soups, pastas, salad dressings, and curries!

7. Ginger 

Benefits: Ginger has been used for over 5,000 years as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including frequent concerns like indigestion, nausea, and inflammation. Since ginger is also known for its pain-relieving properties, it’s a great ingredient to have on hand!

How to incorporate: Ginger is easy to incorporate by drinking it as a tea, or by throwing it into smoothies, curries, or soups.

In addition to these immune-boosting foods, try to eat a well-balanced diet of various colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as proteins and healthy fats (some of which include avocados, olive oil, and chia seeds). Incorporating all these food groups will give your body a range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that keep your immune system up to the daily fight against all kinds of viruses and diseases. 

Remember to take healthy eating one step at a time. Any improvement is better than trying too much at once and having nothing stick. As habit expert James Clear says, “If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” Building life-long healthy eating habits is a journey, not a race.     

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