8 Foods That Boost Immunity

11/17/2012

Yogurt main photo

The vibrant colors of fall are slowly being replaced by the frigid nakedness of winter. The cold wind blows with almost the intent of getting you sick. But in the end, it’s not the weather or the changes in the seasons that make you sick, it’s your immunity or lack there of. Your immune system is designed to defend against millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins, and parasites that would love to invade your body. 

Each day you inhale or come in contact with germs of nearly every variety and it's a break in your body armor or immunity that gets you sick, not the germ itself. Maintaining a strong immune system is one of the most important things that you can do for your health. Here are eight foods that boost your body’s immunity:

1. Yogurt

Yogurt has probiotics and probiotics have a huge impact on your immune system. Probiotics are living micro-organisms that work by restoring the balance of intestinal bacteria and raising resistance to certain harmful germs. Studies have linked probiotics to immune strengthening and said that gastrointestinal health was important for immune health. Keeping your gut health in check is important to keeping your immune system up to snuff. 

2. Garlic 

Garlic contains allicin, ajoene, and thiosulfinates and it's these powerful compounds that help your body fight various infections. Make garlic a potent ingredient in all your favorite soups and winter stews for an extra immunity kick.

3. Carrots 

Carrots contain beta carotene, a phytonutrient that's responsible for the immune system's production of T cells and other microbes that boost immunity. It's another hearty winter vegetable that's present in so many yummy winter recipes like roasted root vegetables, beef stew, roast beef and vegetables, etc.

Hot tea photo

4. Green Tea

Evidence suggests that green tea has a positive effect on immune health. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that green tea helps prime the immune system and fight off infection

5. Elderberry

According to Herb Wisdom, elderberry has been used as a natural remedy for centuries in North America, North Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. "Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not."

6. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is loaded with immune boosting Vitamin C -- 73.3 percent of your daily allowance to be exact. Vitamin C is one of the most easily accessable means of building up your immunity just in time for flu season. 

Fresh turmeric photo

7. Turmeric 

Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric increases levels of a protein called CAMP that in turn helps your immune system fend off bacteria and viruses that your body may come in contact with in the heart of cold season.

8. Cabbage

Cabbage is known for glucosinates, an antioxidant that's incredibly important to building the body's defense mechanisms. Cabbage falls within a group of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale and are known for a compound that neutralizes toxins in the liver and helps cleanse the entire system as a result.

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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