People always talk about the “dog days” of summer, but right now, we’re deep in the “dog days” of winter – it’s cold, gloomy, and dreary, and everyone’s coming down with some kind of funk. No one likes to get sick, so today we want to explore the top 8 foods that are proven to help boost your immune system so you can be prepared for whatever the rest of this year’s cold and flu season has in store!
Food is powerful medicine and eating is something that we all do everyday. So it only makes sense that what we eat informs how we feel, how we respond to stress, and how we combat all the pesky bugs and viruses that seem to run rampant this time of year.
Before we share with you our top favorite foods that can help boost your immune system, let’s review one of the most important foods you should avoid if you want a strong and healthy immune system…Sugar!
Studies have shown that refined sugar suppresses your immune system for hours after eating it, making you more vulnerable to picking up germs that you can’t fight off. So in place of all the sweet treats, desserts, cupcakes, candy bars, and soda, reach for a piece of fruit like an apple, pear, or a cup of wild blueberries. Fruit is full of antioxidants that will support your immune system and is one of the most healing foods on the planet.
Start incorporating the foods listed below into your diet, get lots of good sleep, and stay healthy the rest of this winter!
Jo and Jules
8 Foods To Boost Your Immune System
- Stay Hydrated: Although not technically a “food,” staying well hydrated is at the top of our list because it’s the foundation of a healthy immune system. Drink plenty of purified, room temperature water, warm lemon water first thing in the morning, and green or herbal teas to help support a strong immune system.
- Eat the Rainbow: Colorful foods, especially fruits and vegetables pack a serious antioxidant and phytonutrient punch fueling your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. Foods high in vitamin C are especially helpful, things like bell peppers, papaya, pineapple, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, parsley, and kale.
- Cook with Ginger, Onions and Garlic: Ginger, onions and garlic are well-known fighters of infection, bugs, and bacteria. In fact, garlic has been called nature’s antibiotic. So toss this immune-fighting trio into your soups, stir fries, and marinades to protect you from getting sick and to help you recover fast if you do catch a bug.
- Add in Fermented Veggies: Loaded with probiotics and strains of good bacteria, fermented veggies like kimchi and sauerkraut can help balance your microbiome. Since your gut and immune system are very closely linked, (it’s said that 80 percent of your immune tissue is situated in your digestive tract), incorporating 2-3 servings of fermented veggies per day can be a real game changer for boosting your immune system.
- Eat Foods High in Vitamin D: Although we get the best vitamin D from the sun, foods like salmon and eggs (specifically egg yolks) are high in vitamin D and a great way to add to your vitamin D stores, which tend to be compromised especially in the winter months. Salmon is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, helping to ward off inflammation, which is the precursor to all disease.
- Take Turmeric: Turmeric, a relative of ginger, is one of nature’s most potent immune-boosting spices. Known for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-fungal qualities, turmeric is delicious in soups, smoothies, warmed in a turmeric nut milk latte, or simply brewed up as a tea.
- Bone Broth: There’s a reason why your mother always told you to have chicken noodle soup when you were sick! Bone broth is an amazing tonic that helps repair the gut lining and reduce inflammation. Nutrient-dense and easy to digest, bone broth will boost the immune system and improve liver function, aiding your body in detoxification.
- Load up on Zinc: Known to act like an antioxidant, this free-radical fighting trace mineral is a well-known way to reduce the length of a cold. Get your daily dose of zinc by eating pumpkin seeds, lamb, garbanzo beans, grass-fed beef, cashews, and cacao.
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