These are the best immune-boosting foods, according to nutrition experts

These are the best immune-boosting foods, according to nutrition experts

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To support your immunity, consider eating these expert-approved foods.

“When we consume foods that lack adequate intake and a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as the standard Western diet high in simple carbohydrates and sugars, our bodies lack the reserves to fight properly. infections and maintain immune function,” says Paulina Lee, a functional dietitian and founder of Savvy Stummy, LLC. “Therefore, it’s important to include a variety of whole foods and complex carbohydrates in order to support our immune system.”

“Diets high in processed foods, simple carbohydrates and sugars tend to increase inflammation, which can lead to many diseases,” adds Lee.

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For optimal health, eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising, abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, and limiting stressors can go a long way, according to Dr. Annelie Vogt von Heselholt, dietician and founder of dietitiandoc.com.

“If your immune system isn’t in top shape, the daily stresses of work and life can leave you feeling drained and developing inflammation and chronic disease,” Vogt von Heselholt said. “By eating foods that boost the immune system, you can help your body be stronger and better able to resist stress and illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.”

Blueberries

“A 2021 Journal of Food Science study shows that blueberries may help improve immune function,” adds Vogt von Heselholt.

Stock up on these tiny-but-mighty berries by adding them to your oatmeal or adding them to a salad. Bonus: Blueberries can also help you look and feel younger.

yellow peppers

Kim Yawitz, registered dietitian and owner of Two Six Fitness (crossfit26.com) in St. Louis, Mo., is a big fan of this nutritious pepper.

“According to a 2018 review in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, taking 100 to 200 milligrams of vitamin C can shorten the duration of a cold by up to 14 percent,” she says. “Since one yellow bell pepper contains 341 milligrams of vitamin C, snacking on one when you sniffle could help you feel better faster.”

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Suggestion: eat as a snack or add to pasta or salads.

Goji berries

“Goji berries (aka goji) are a well-known superfood due to their high content of vitamins C and A and their antioxidant abilities,” says Lee, adding that goji berries are an important part of traditional medicine. Chinese for more than 2,000 years due to their rich chemical composition and medical properties.

“A study found that daily consumption of goji juice boosted the immune system by increasing several immunological responses, such as increased lymphocytes [a type of white blood cell present in your immune system]“, she says, referring to a 2009 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

Fermented Dairy Products

Fermented milk products, like kefir, contain lactobacilli and other beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) which are believed to increase the number of certain antimicrobial proteins in the body.

Fermented milk products, like kefir, contain lactobacilli and other beneficial bacteria (called probiotics) which are believed to increase the number of certain antimicrobial proteins in the body.
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Fermented dairy products, like kefir, contain lactobacilli and other beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) that are believed to increase the number of certain antimicrobial proteins in the body, Yawitz says, referring to a study in the magazine Age (Dordr).

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“In [another] According to a 2017 study published in The European Journal of Nutrition, men who drank a fermented milk drink every day during cold and flu season had 31% fewer upper respiratory tract infections than men. who drank plain milk,” she adds.

In addition to kefir, try yogurt and cottage cheese. Be sure to look for products that have active cultures, Yawitz says.

Other Probiotic-Rich Foods

Probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi "are all beneficial for gut and immune health," said Paulina Lee.

Probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi “all benefit gut and immune health,” says Paulina Lee.
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In addition to dairy, Lee points out that other probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi “all benefit gut and immune health.”

“The link between our gut and our immune system continues to be researched. With 70-80% of our immune cells located in our gut, daily intake of probiotic foods can help supply a variety of gut bacteria healthy to keep the gut and the immune system in balance,” she says.

Garlic

"Garlic has been studied for its ability to increase natural killer cells which are involved in both adaptive and innate immunity, as well as tumor destruction," said Lee.

“Garlic has been researched for its ability to increase natural killer cells that are involved in both adaptive and innate immunity, as well as tumor destruction,” says Lee.
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“Garlic has been researched for its ability to increase natural killer cells that are involved in both adaptive and innate immunity, as well as tumor destruction,” says Lee. “A study [published in the journal Clinical Nutrition in 2012] found that aged garlic extract can improve immune cell function, thereby reducing the severity of colds and flu. The main active ingredient, allicin, is thought to drive garlic’s immune-boosting abilities.”

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On top of that, Vogt von Heselholt mentions another study in the journal Medical Hypotheses in 2020 that “shows that garlic can help boost the immune system.”

Also, on its website, the University of Rochester Medical Center describes allicin as “a potent antibiotic.”

Oysters

Oysters are the highest dietary source of zinc, Lee says.

Oysters are the highest dietary source of zinc, Lee says.
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Oysters are the highest dietary source of zinc, Lee says.

“Zinc is essential for the immune system, and zinc deficiency affects multiple aspects of innate and adaptive immunity,” she explains. “Study Shows Zinc Supplementation May Reduce Incidence of Infections and Markers of Oxidative Stress.”

Other foods that contain zinc include legumes like lentils and beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.

Broccoli

"A study in Molecules in 2021 shows that the sulforaphane in broccoli can act as natural immune system enhancers," says Dr. Annelie Vogt von Heselholt.

“A study in Molecules in 2021 shows that the sulforaphane in broccoli may act as natural immune system enhancers,” says Dr. Annelie Vogt von Heselholt.
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Here’s a reason to stock up on broccoli, whether raw, steamed, or roasted: “Study published in Molecules in 2021 shows sulforaphane in broccoli may act as natural immune system enhancers,” says Vogt von Heselholt.

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Green tea

Green tea is worth incorporating into your diet to help boost your immune system.

Green tea is worth incorporating into your diet to help boost your immune system.
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We know it’s not a food, but experts say this nutritious drink is worth incorporating into your diet to help boost your immune system.

“Green tea is an abundant source of EGCG, a catechin. Catechins are polyphenols that generally have an overall beneficial effect on well-being and are notable antioxidants,” says Lee.

“Based on what we know about the actions of polyphenols and antioxidants, we can infer that EGCG in green tea will have similar effects on our immune health. Study shows direct impact of EGCG on health immune system and how it can modulate immune cell function and ameliorate certain autoimmune diseases in animal models,” she continues, pointing to a 2016 study from the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

Turmeric

In addition to boosting your immune system, turmeric can help relieve osteoarthritis knee pain, irritable bowel syndrome, eye and skin conditions, certain types of cancer and more.

In addition to boosting your immune system, turmeric can help relieve osteoarthritis knee pain, irritable bowel syndrome, eye and skin conditions, certain types of cancer and more.
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“A study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology in 2018 shows that the curcumin in turmeric can affect immune cells and lead to less severe immune diseases,” says Vogt von Heselholt.

More reasons to love turmeric? It can help relieve osteoarthritis knee pain, irritable bowel syndrome, eye and skin conditions, certain types of cancer and more.

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