Now that school is in session and the days are growing colder, we are reminded that “cold season” is just around the corner. Classrooms, offices, and other high traffic, close contact areas are perfect for sharing germs. One way you can help your body fight off these germs is through a healthy diet, so we’ve rounded up our favorite immune boosting foods to strengthen your immune system.
- Garlic (1 tsp. | 1 Condiment) is a great source of vitamin C manganese, vitamin B6, and selenium to keep your immune system on track. Garlic is also known to boost the number of your blood’s virus-fighting T-cells and lower the oxidative stress of inflammation.
- Cauliflower (1/2 cup | 1 Green) is bursting with immune boosting vitamins and minerals. One serving of cauliflower has over 70% your daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. It also is rich in glutathione, an important antioxidant that helps fight off infection.
- Bell Peppers (1/2 cup | 1 Green) have more vitamin C than you think. One cup of diced bell peppers provides you 157% of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin C. Bell peppers also a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps with eye and skin health.
- Cinnamon (1/2 tsp. | 1 Condiment) is one of the world’s oldest documented spices. It’s hard to beat this immune boosting food, and is actually a pathogen fighting food – an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial powerhouse.
- Mushrooms (1/2 cup | 1 Green) don’t often come to mind when we think of immune boosting foods, but they should. Edible mushrooms are full of zinc, which not only helps improve metabolic function, but also improves the immune system. Studies have shown that people with a zinc deficiency often have fewer white blood cells, thus having a weaker immune system.
- Kale (1/2 cup | 1 Green) has recently pushed its way to the forefront of healthy eating and for good reason. One cup of steamed kale offers 1180% of the recommended daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 98% of the DV of vitamin A, and 71% of the DV of vitamin C, which adds up to one seriously amazing immune-boosting, antioxidant, folate-rich food.
- Wheat Germ (1/2 tsp. | 1 Condiment) boasts a potent nutritional punch – a little bit goes a long way. Wheat germ is full of fiber, but more importantly, it is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that is thought to improve cell signaling (like telling your white blood cells to wake up).
- Broccoli (1/2 cup | 1 Green) is a detoxifying, immune boosting dream. One cup of broccoli has 245% DV of vitamin K and 135% DV of vitamin C – those are some healthy numbers!
- Spinach (1 cup | 1 Green) is a vitamin rock star; Popeye is “living” proof of that. While it won’t bulk you up instantaneously, it will supercharge your immune system, as one cup of cooked spinach has 987% DV of vitamin K, 105% DV of vitamin A, and 84% DV of manganese, a free radical damage combatant.
- Almonds (1/2 oz. | 1 Healthy Fat) have been deemed as by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food. They are rich in vitamin E, which gives them antioxidant properties and have a lot of flavonoids, which help with cell signaling pathways.
Looking for some meal and side dish suggestions to amp up your immune system? Here are a few ideas:
- Spinach and kale salad topped with sliced almonds and light dressing
- Steamed cauliflower, garlic, and broccoli with an almond garnish
- Medifast Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins sprinkled with cinnamon and wheat germ
- Spinach salad with mushrooms, bell peppers, and broccoli with a light dressing
All nutritional data sourced from The World’s Healthiest Foods.