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30 Foods That Boost Your Immune System

Miso

Miso is a delicious soup that contains soy, which is an isoflavone antioxidant. According to the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, the soy in miso reduced inflammation and boosted the immunity of postmenopausal women. If you feel a little cold coming on, pick up some miso instead of egg drop.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is fantastic for your body in small amounts. It contains a heavy concentration of theobromine, an antioxidant that alleviates coughing. Just make sure to reach for chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa. Otherwise, you’re getting all the fat, calories, and sugar without any of the benefits!

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Ginger Tea

Ginger has been used for centuries for its health benefits. Most recently, the International Journal of Preventative Medicine found that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help combat illness. Inflammation plays a huge role in your body’s immune response, so ginger can help stave off that cold you’re so worried about.

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Blueberries

Blueberries are pretty much a superfood. They’re incredibly nutrient dense and contain tons of antioxidants to help prevent coughing. On top of that, the University of Auckland found that they’re particularly strong in flavonoids, which can help you avoid getting sick – 33% less likely, in fact!

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Turmeric

Turmeric is a little spice that’s sweeping the nation in the form of lattes. Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to drink it with milk, but we do think you should eat it. Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. The Journal of Clinic Immunology found that curcumin activates the production of T-cells – the little cells that fight for your health.

Salmon

We all know that salmon as plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, but that’s not the only reason you should eat it. The Journal of Family Practice found that wild caught salmon has tons of zinc, which can help fight the common cold. Unfortunately, you have to make sure it’s wild caught and not farm raised. 

Broccoli

Eat your broccoli! The University of California in Los Angeles found that broccoli contains sulforaphane, a chemical that switches on antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells. This, in turn, combats free radicals in your body, preventing you from getting sick.

Oranges

Oranges have tons of vitamin C. One orange provides 130% of your daily recommended dose. According to a recent review by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, vitamin C has been proven to help prevent the common cold for people who are exposed to sickness-inducing environments. 

Oysters

Oysters have more than beautiful pearls; they also have tons of zinc! Ohio State University researchers found that zinc helps reduce inflammation. It was even suggested that supplementation could help sick ICU patients. If you're thinking about starting zinc supplementation, it’s important to remember to speak to your doctor before beginning any new medication.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are super good for you, especially shiitake. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences found that eating shiitake every day for four weeks significantly increased T-cells. That being said, any mushrooms can have the same effect since they’re high in vitamin B and selenium. 

Water

Often, people will ignore those that tell them to drink water, but it’s more important than you may think. Staying hydrated helps loosen trapped mucus that can cause a myriad of issues from sinusitis to pneumonia. Try drinking at least eight glasses a day. It’s tough but staying hydrated is totally worth it.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has tons of live cultures that can help your stomach. Not to mention, it also has more protein than regular yogurt. The Korean Journal of Family Medicine found that probiotics found in Greek yogurt can help prevent and treat the common cold. Researchers also found that those who ate probiotics daily have a lower risk of catching a cold. 

Sweet Potatoes

A new study by Cell Press discovered that vitamin A plays a huge part in our immunity system. Deficiency can lead to our inability to resist infections. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A! By adding more to your diet, you’ll boost your immune system and your skin’s defense against sun damage. 

Spinach

If you’re not eating spinach, you gotta start. Spinach is full of flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E. One serving of spinach contains 217% of your daily dose of vitamin C when eaten raw. Don’t worry! You can also cook it because you’ll still be getting 130% of your daily recommended value.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are extremely high in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes are also a great source of potassium, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Red Peppers

A 2013 Harvard Health Letter discovered that eating 90 milligrams of Vitamin C can cut your risk of getting a cold in half. You’ve eaten all the oranges and spinach you can stand, so what else can you eat? Red bell peppers! Eating this vegetable can also reduce the duration of your symptoms of colds by 8%. 

Garlic

Garlic has a longstanding reputation of being incredibly healthy. In fact, some cultures do what they can to eat as much garlic as possible. A review by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that participants who ate garlic over three months had a significantly less chance of getting the common cold. 

Kefir

Kefir may not be something you noticed unless you love standing in the yogurt aisle. It’s essentially a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that can help your stomach. Like yogurt, kefir can help fight bad bacteria, reduce inflammation, and increase antioxidant activity. 

Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most recommended teas on the market for weight loss, but it can do so much more. It contains a large number of flavonoids and has been proven to boost immunity. The Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology published a study that detailed how green tea helps your immune system and even has anti-inflammatory properties.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to any salad, and they’re a rich source of vitamin E. This antioxidant helps improve your immune function by fighting off free radicals, which are known to damage cells.

Almonds

Eating almonds can really help your immune system. They’ve been proven to help the body fight off viral infections like the common cold or even the flu. Much of this is thanks to its high vitamin E content, which is crucial for a lot of enzymes that are part of our immune systems.

Kiwis

People underestimate this little brown furry fruit. It contains a significant amount of fiber and antioxidants, pretty much making it a superfood. One of the best characteristics is that kiwi can protect us from getting sick thanks to the high vitamin C content. If you’re eating one, also consume the seeds because they contain alpha-linoleic acids and omega-3 fatty acids.

Eggs

Eggs have a good amount of vitamin D, which is essential in regulating and strengthening our immune system. An article published in JAMA found that those who took a daily serving of vitamin D were less likely to catch a cold or get an upper respiratory infection. Just make sure to eat the whole egg – not just the egg whites.

Apples

There’s a little truth to “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” A study in Nutrition Journal found that apples contain phytochemical antioxidants. Not only do these antioxidants help to boost your immunity, but they can also reduce your risk of chronic diseases.

Light White Tuna

Light white tuna is packed with zinc and having zinc deficiency can increase the likelihood of you getting sick. A study by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that people who ate at least 75mg of zinc got better faster compared to those who did not. If you plan on taking a zinc supplement, talk to your doctor before starting a new medication regimen. 

Rosemary

Rosemary is a tasty herb, but it’s so much more than that. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that herbs like rosemary have antioxidants that can help your body fight inflammation. This allows better digestive health, which boosts your immune system. 

Bone Broth

Bone broth may not sound appealing, but it’s great for when you’re feeling under the weather. Making soup with bone broth can decrease inflammation and help relieve some of the worst symptoms of a cold. Next time you make chicken soup, grab bone broth instead of the regular stuff.

Raw Honey

Honey is actually an antibacterial! When you add it to your tea, it can help relieve an itchy, scratchy throat. A study published by Iran Journal of Basic Medicine discovered that it kills any germs in the body that are causing you to get sick. Just try not to eat a lot of it. 

Fennel

Fennel is an immune boosting food that can help relieve symptoms of viral infections. A study published by BioMed Research International found that fennel could decrease symptoms of diarrhea, fever, and stomach ache. This is all thanks to the phytochemicals that act as antioxidants.

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Anise

Anise can be tough to work with, but if you turn it into a tea, you can get plenty of benefits with little effort. Anise acts as an antibacterial and an antifungal. This comes from an article published in The International Scholarly Research Notices: Pharmacology. The same study also claimed that anise can be an anti-viral.

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