A healthy immune system is the foundation for overall health and wellness. And one of the very best ways to take good care of our immune system is with an intelligent diet. Nutrient-packed and health-promoting foods provide ongoing nourishment and support for powerful immunity.
Read on for basic guidance on how to use diet to enhance immunity and tips on what Immune-Boosting Foods provide Optimal Health & Wellness. If you are looking for healthy snacks to eat for a busy lifestyle, check out our blog.
We'll begin with a look at foods that are best avoided ...
The first step in taking good care of your immune system is to eliminate unnecessary stressors and toxins which weaken the body's immunity.
Toward this end, it's best to decrease or eliminate your intake of:
Instead of sodas, candy bars and other snacks filled with refined sugar, satisfy your sweet tooth with a fresh organic apple, orange, banana or pear; or with some dates, figs or other dried fruit.
Replace the sugar you're in the habit of sprinkling onto your cereal or into your cup of tea with healthy sweeteners such as organic raw honey, pure maple syrup, date sugar, coconut sugar, barley malt, rice syrup or molasses.
Instead of white bread, fill up with whole grains such as quinoa, rye, millet, amaranth, oats, barley or brown rice—going for organic varieties whenever possible.
Instead of toxic trans-fats, use healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, butter, and ghee—which are deeply healing and nourishing for the body. These are the best tips for immune boosting foods! Now let's see what we can eat to support your immune system with food!
Now that you know which substances are best avoided, let's explore what makes for a healthy, clean and immune-boosting diet.
A healthy diet begins with an abundance of fresh, organic vegetables and high-quality protein. A good rule of thumb is to have 50% of your lunch and dinner plate filled with fresh organic vegetables.
Vegetables such as broccoli and dark leafy greens are especially effective for providing essential vitamins and minerals to keep the immune system healthy. To benefit fully from dark leafy greens—such as spinach, kale, and chard—it's best to steam or sauté them until they're tender.
Excellent protein choices include organic free-range eggs, wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, chicken, turkey, and bone broth. Vegetarian protein sources include lentils, chick-peas, tempeh, yogurt, kefir, cheese, nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia), and seeds (chia, sunflower, and hemp).
Enjoy moderate amounts of whole grains such as quinoa, millet, oats or rice, as mentioned above. The healthiest kind of bread is whole-grain sourdough. Use these tips to provide better immunity for your body!
Citrus fruits—such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes—are especially awesome for their vitamin C content. The rainforest fruit camu-camu—available as a powdered supplement—is another fantastic source of immune-supporting vitamin C.
Among culinary spices, two stand out as particularly useful for boosting immunity:
It's of vital importance to include in your diet generous amounts of healthy fats and oils, such as coconut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, almond oil, avocado oil, butter and ghee. Coconut oil, in particular, is known to have antibacterial and antiviral qualities. That is why these foods are best for Immune Boosting.
Another great way to support your immune system is to increase your consumption of "healthy bacteria" that provide vital support to your microbiome—the fauna and flora of the intestinal tract. These healthy microorganisms, in turn, offer essential support to the immune system.
One of the best ways of doing this is to up your intake of probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sour cream, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha. Try to include one or two of these with your meals every day.
Helpful tip: Be sure to look for the "live active cultures" label on the package, to ensure you're getting the full probiotic benefit.
Drink plenty of fresh, filtered water. Adequate fluid intake allows the body to effectively flush out toxins (through sweating and urination) and keeps the cells healthy.
Supplement your water intake with immune-enhancing teas such as ginger (a strong antioxidant), green tea or matcha(one of the healthiest beverages in the world), tulsi(a proven immunomodulator), and echinacea (a super-potent anti-inflammatory and immunity booster).
Young coconut water is another excellent (and delicious!) option for keeping your body well-hydrated.
And finally, supplement your diet with medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga, Agarikon and Turkey Tail—which are renowned for their antiviral, antibacterial and immune-enhancing qualities.
By following the guidelines we've laid out here, you'll be providing your immune system with the high-powered nourishment that it needs to function at its optimal level. These are all the Immune-Boosting Foods for Optimal Health & Wellness you can use to strengthen your body and protect yourself.
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