9 Foods to Keep Your Immune System Healthy All Year Long


No one likes getting a cold or flu in the winter, but in the Spring? That’s even worse! Not only has your immune system let your wellbeing down, but you now have to suffer while all your friends are going for drinks in pub gardens and heading down to the beach. Luckily, we’ve got a list of foods that can help you to bolster your immune system, and keep you healthy all season long.


1. Greek Yoghurt: According to Candice Kumai, a Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef and author of the upcoming Clean Green Drinks, Cook Yourself Sexy and Pretty Delicious, ‘Yoghurt is packed with probiotics, which are live active cultures, or good bacteria, that help keep up your defences.’ If you can’t stretch to a daily yoghurt, Theri Griego Raby, MD, founder and medical director of the Raby Institute for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern, recommends taking a probiotic supplement. ‘Probiotics are known to boost the immune system by supporting digestive function and gut health and helping to stave off, and fight, flu symptoms,’ he explains. ‘And taking a good-quality probiotic supplement, especially in the fall and winter months when our immune systems are in overdrive is so important.’


2. Fermented Foods: Try kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh and kimchi. Kumai points out, ‘Eating these foods every day is not only great for weight loss, and balancing pH levels, but also aiding in digestion and helping to destroy and inhibit the growth of bad bacteria.’


3. Zinc: Foods such as oysters, roast beef, crab, lobster, dark chocolate, and peanuts ‘can help to regulate immune responses, attack infected or cancerous cells and alleviate the common cold,’ says Kumai.


4. Garlic: ‘It’s an extremely good natural immunity booster,’ Kumai asserts. ‘Garlic is full of selenium, manganese, vitamin B6 and anti-inflammatory agents that help to fight bacteria, protect your heart and of course is a good old remedy to fight the common cold.’


5. Avocado: Kumai details, ‘They contain heart-healthy and monounsaturated fat—and this type of fat promotes the release of bile from the gallbladder, assisting in proper elimination of toxins from the body and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as vitamin E, folate, panthotehenic acid, fibre, potassium.’


6. Super Greens: Diet wellness expert Nicole Catanese comments, ‘The less toxins your body has, the more equipped it is to fight off any germs that come its way.’ And the best way to detox? Super Greens. Kumai explains, ‘Kale, spinach, parsley, celery all contain chlorophyll, which helps to-boost to your digestive tract, rids the body of harmful environmental toxins and aids the liver.’


7. Ginger: Griego Raby outlines, ‘Fresh ginger activates T-cells, immune cells that destroy virus-infected cells. It inhibits mucous production and helps clear congestion so while you want to try and cook with ginger on a regular basis year round, do so even more consistently in cold and flu season.’


8. Sweet Potatoes: ‘Rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes aid the immune system,’ argues Griego Raby. ‘They also help maintain mucosal surfaces in our respiratory tract, digestive tract, and skin to keep microbes out of our bodies—aim for once week and more often if you’re feeling run down.’


9. Protein: Griego Raby points out, ‘Protein is vital for many biological processes including immune function.’ Kumai adds, ‘Quinoa is a complete protein that’s also gluten free and full of amino acids, which helps cleanse and detoxify the body and keep your immunity up.’ Failing that, get your protein from the obvious sources such as meat, fish and eggs, as well as plant-based options including beans, nuts, seeds, rice, and corn.

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