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…

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

Sources: WebMd, Ask Dr. Sears, Core Performance, Organic Gardening, Prevention.com, Healthaliciousness, Baseline of Health