Tuesday Ten: Immune Boosting Foods

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I truly believe that you are what you eat. If you put good things into your body, you will be rewarded with good things in return. In the past, I’ve covered what foods you should eat for shiny hair, clear skin, and a flat belly. But today I’m teaching you a lesson in foods that keep you healthy from the inside out—otherwise known as foods that boost the immune system. I did a little research on this topic with my team and came up with some fun facts I’m excited to share with you all today. Here’s what I discovered:

Your body’s immune system works hard every day to fight off disease and maintain a healthy, functioning equilibrium for your organs. That said, it’s about time to treat your body like the temple it is by stocking up on these cold fighting eats…

Tuesday Ten: Immune Boosting Foods

Here’s a little bit about what each of these foods does for you:

1. Yogurt is a natural probiotic, which means it replaces all the good bacteria in your system. According to a recent study, those who fueled their body with probiotics had 33 percent less sick days than those who didn’t. Eat up!

2. Garlic contains an ingredient called allicin, which fights infection and bacteria according to Baseline of Health. Eating these cloves raw has shown to decrease the chances of catching a cold.

3. Chicken soup (yep, chicken soup!) helps to reduce inflammation and thin mucus the same way cough medicines do, according to a study from the University of Nebraska. The amino acid cysteine, which is found in chicken broth, is similar to a chemical in an antibiotic that fights bronchitis. Now that’s chicken soup for the soul.

4. Tea, which is quite a soothing remedy for a sore throat, also doubles as a virus fighter. According to Prevention.com, a Harvard study shows that people who drank 5 cups of black tea for 2 weeks had more of the immune boosting protein interferon in their blood than those who didn’t.

5. Mushrooms promote white blood cell production, which helps your body fight off an infection. According to the director of the Institute of Herbal Medicine, people have been using mushrooms as immune boosters for centuries.

6. Strawberries, like citrus, come packed with vitamin C—a common cold remedy most people turn to when they start feeling sick. Vitamin C battles viruses before you even get sick, it also breaks down stress hormones. Whipping up a strawberry orange smoothie for breakfast is a great way to start your day (and it will feel soothing on a sore throat).

7. Brussels sprouts help nourish the thymus gland, which controls much of your immune system function. Eat two servings a day of these beta-carotene rich sprouts for optimal health.

8. Oatmeal is not only a great comfort food when you’re under the weather, it’s also chock-full of beta-glucan, which has antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities that are as strong as those found in Echinacea. Eat your oatmeal (or whip up some of my favorite overnight oats) and you will notice wounds healing faster and antibiotics working better.

9. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash are members of the beta carotene-rich family. Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells and it’s a powerful antioxidant that helps eliminates free radicals, according to Ask Dr. Sears. Studies have shown that beta-carotene can also lower the risk of heart disease. So just remember…a carrot a day keeps the doctor away!

10. Dark chocolate—get excited chocolate lovers—is one of the best sources zinc, which will decrease your risk of infection and promote the growth of white blood cells. Buy a dark chocolate bar if you’re taking a sick day, and treat yourself to a square or two. Just make sure you buy it unsweetened, because extra sugar surely won’t help a cold.

Which of these immune boosters do you eat most often?

Is there one you’ve never tried before?

XO Lauren

Photos: All You, The Satvik Blog, Peaceful Mind, Integrative Health Institute, Pafarmsca, Our Tiny Earth, Public Broadcasting, Chik-Fil-A, Yo Mama Morris, Science Daily
Sources: WebMd, Ask Dr. Sears, Core Performance, Organic Gardening, Prevention.com, Healthaliciousness, Baseline of Health
Categories: Grow, Health, Tuesday Ten
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  • sarat1011

    I don’t know about raw garlic, but I do cook with garlic. I love it! I also eat Greek yogurt just about everyday (though I add honey and granola). For breakfast, I eat steel cut oats with milk, an egg, and a little brown sugar.

    It’s funny to read about strawberries because I’ve been packing some for lunch lately.

  • Ariana Maguire

    This is just what I need today. I’ll have to try it all!

  • xo Madie

    Seriously, my entire office is sick! Maybe I’ll print this out and tape it on the walls, haha. Thankfully I’ve had a lot of mushrooms and dark chocolate lately – though not together. :P

    xo Madie
    girlnamedfiddy.blogspot.com

  • kasia swierzewska

    Wow, thanks! I didn’t know that drinking black tea is actually good for you! Love it!

  • Allison Norton

    Glad you liked it! xx

  • Allison Norton

    Haha, that’s a great idea! You should totally do it! A healthy office is a happy office :)

  • LaurenConrad.com

    See! You’re already doing it and you didn’t even know it! Has it helped you stay healthy??

  • LaurenConrad.com

    We would know! Right, Allison!? ;-)

  • Emma Harding

    I would like to get into drinking tea for the health benefits, but found I don’t like the flavor of many teas. Do have any suggestions? Perhaps you could write a post all about the dif. kinds of tea? Thanks!

  • NINA

    I actually love everything except garlic :(..i really hate garlic but others, i will start eating more of them from tomorrow on

  • Cluny Grey

    You have to get used to drinking tea and learn to savor the flavors. I am now drinking pure green tea (iced) with no sweetener whatsoever. I started by brewing it with black tea and gradually cut down. It’s a little like drinking beer or wine; you get used to the taste. Try some jasmine tea, also, since the aroma is wonderful and aroma is so closely associated with taste.
    Good luck!

    http://jewelrytrends.blogspot.com

  • sarat1011

    Yep! :) I got through an East Coast winter without so much as a scratchy throat! Yay!

  • Emma Harding

    Thanks for the helpful suggestions!

  • Michelle Longdon

    What about water? does that also boost your immune system

  • Rafael Centenera

    \(O) //

  • Pooja R

    Hi guys! Last year I was diagnosed with a disease and ever since I’ve been very careful with what I eat. All the food presented by Lauren are real immune system boosters!

  • Andyclare

    Tea can be quite the acquired taste!
    I suggest trying Earl Gray for a black tea or Mint Green Tea, the added flavours seem to mask the earthy flavours many people are turned off by!

    Good luck :)

  • shel billett

    so happy to see only brussels sprouts and dark chocolate are m.i.a in my diet. im sure my sore throat is from sleep deprivation! x

  • Urzoladaniela

    Lauren: What do you think of paleo diet? I just want to know your opinion on this subject. Thank you!

  • TStrahlendberg

    I love all of those! Isn’t that funny how the body is simply “”urging”” for those power foods during the colder seasons? I just bought the MOST amazing dark chocolate which is only made with cane sugar and nothing else. Pretty good! Funny how I felt satisfied after only one piece. Even better to read that it is a very important piece of a healthy died according to your tips!

    Thank you for sharing!!!
    xx Taty*

    http://taty-in-newyork.blogspot.com

  • mai salvatore

    I really do agree that dark chocolates does help boost the Immune system…It’s always been my secret weapon (what to eat) in order not to get sick.

    Garlic is also very effective…but in case you got sick (fever and cold) make a cup of this with hot water and chili pepper and li’l bit of salt. I swear it’s very comforting.

  • Katie Albury

    This is really useful…particularly as I’m ready in bed feeling poorly! Next week I’m going to make a fresh start on my diet choices…hate feeling ill! x

    Katie

    http://www.missenchanting.co.uk/

  • http://www.shaynjordan.com/ Shay

    I love garlic and chicken noodle soup :) Now I need to make some LOL

  • lindsay

    I drink regular lipton tea. I love ice tea and its taste just like it except its hot. Also if you put honey and lemon in it, it helps with sore throats.

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