Boost Your Immunity Through Food
With what seems like the world going into an all out crisis, people are starting to look for ways of becoming healthier individuals. There has been quite the surge of at home workouts, creative hobbies, and reading recommendations. However for some reason food and diet seems to be one thing that has been thrown out the window. People are giving into temptation because they are only feet away from their kitchen at any given point of the day. We’ve seen plenty of memes talking about how many trips to the fridge people have been taking, and how they’re not sure they will come out of this whole thing healthy. The irony is too real, here we are staying in our homes in order to protect our health from external sources, yet we can’t seem to protect our health from ourselves.
We believe that this is a dangerous and unnecessary road to travel, given that the main causes of death during this pandemic are pre-existing conditions, and obesity. So we wanted to offer a couple food choices that may help in this regard. The foods we recommend, along with having the science to back up an assortment of health benefits, are relatively low calorie, so even eating copious quantities shouldn’t leave you feeling guilty, or in worse shape.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help keep our immune system running in tip top shape. A good diet, rich in fruits and vegetables paired with consistent exercise and sleep will fuel our immune system so it’s at its best.
However not everyone particularly enjoys eating these foods, and would like to know what are “the best” sources so we can eat them and get this whole thing over with. Although we would love to say that simply any veggies will do, we do know through research that not all plants are created equal. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, a few of them lead the pack with the vitamins and nutrients to best help our immunity.
Our first favorite immunity boosting food is: Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables are at the head of the pack, because they are loaded with vitamins C, E, and B6. Our bodies can’t produce or store vitamin C, so it is essential to get plenty through diet on the daily, and if we don’t get enough we’re more likely to get sick. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, so it’s helpful in protecting cells from damage. Vitamin B6 supports the chemical reactions in the immune system. Some great veggies to choose from are:
Best when eaten cooked:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bok Choy
Filling up on veggies helps with weight management, and maintaining a healthy weight is key to helping your immune system.
Our second favorite immunity boosting food is: Berries
Berries are full of antioxidants and vitamin C, working to serve and protect our bodies. Vitamin C is known to stimulate the immune system as well. The flavonoid antioxidant in berries fights against heart disease, cancer, arthritis, memory loss, stroke, cataracts, and infection. Most of the nutrients in fruits are found in the skin, so go for the fruits with edible skin. Be sure to include a variety in your berries, and consume them on the daily. Eating a ton of berries just one day a week won’t cut it, consistency is key. Think of nutrition as the water filling a moat around the castle that is your organs. Without it, your body is more susceptible to invaders and vulnerable to damage.
The top berries include:
Our third and final favorite immunity boosting food is: Mushrooms
Mushrooms have been found to help our immune system create 50% more antibodies, while at the same time having an anti-inflammatory effect on our bodies. Specifically, mushrooms help in the production of Immunoglobulin A, which is at the front lines of our mucous membranes. Surprisingly, it isn’t our skin that interacts most with the outside world, it is actually areas with a mucous membrane like: eyes, mouths, digestive tract and reproductive organs. So making sure we are eating a food that helps create plenty of Immunoglobulin A will reduce our chances of infection. That way if anything does get through our masks, our soldiers will be well equipped and ready to fight. Some great mushrooms are:
- White button
- Baby bella
As you can see, eating a combination of fruits and veggies will best arm your immune system in the fight against infection and diseases. Given that a large part of the immune system is located in the intestines it is more important than ever to make sure we are consuming healthy foods. Getting plenty of water (¾ oz per pound of body weight) and sleep (at least 7 hours) on top of a good diet is the recipe to keeping our immune systems running smoothly.
Author: Carla Castro Trainer at Bare Health
- M Veldhoen, V Bruchlacher-Waldert. Dietary influences on intestinal immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Oct;12(10):696-708.
- A Gibson, J D Edgar, C E Neville, S E Gilchrist, M C McKinley, C C Patterson, I S Young, J V Woodside. Effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on immune function in older people: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;96(6):1429-36.
- Nishi K, Kondo A, Okamoto T, Nakano H, Daifuku M, Nishimoto S, Ochi K, Takaoka T, Sugahara T. Immunostimulatory in vitro and in vivo effects of a water-soluble extract from kale. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;75(1):40-6.