One of the most import factors in a healthy immune system is your diet. Eating plenty of vitamin-rich foods can strengthen your defenses against germs. Try these four natural-health superstars:
1. Citrus Fruits
Tangy oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons and limes are a delicious way to make meals more exciting. They also give your immune system a lot of vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins for staying healthy. Vitamin C increases production of white blood cells, giving you a tiny army that searches for and destroys viruses.
Easy Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe
The next time you make a salad, instead of pouring ranch dressing on it, make your own refreshing citrus vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon juice works also)
1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
All you have to do is stir these ingredients together and pour them on your favorite salad.
Low on zinc? Oysters and other shellfish are a great source of this immune-boosting mineral. Zinc helps the immune system function correctly.
3. Red and Green Bell Peppers
Did you know that bell peppers have even more vitamin C than oranges? They also give your immune system extra vitamin A, an antioxidant. Vitamin A helps build your immune system and makes it react more quickly to infections.Tip: To get the most nutrients possible, keep these colorful veggies tender and crisp. Enjoy them fresh in salads, sauté them in stir fries or char them lightly on the grill.
4. Ginger and Garlic
Garlic and ginger are a dynamic duo for enhancing your immune response. Garlic has powerful medicinal properties. Adding fresh garlic to your meals won’t prevent you from getting sick, but it may speed up your recovery.
Ginger is an herb that can neutralize microbes. It increases some of the main lines of defense your body has against infections. This spicy root is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, so it’s not surprising that ginger is so good for you.
Zesty Garlic-Ginger Chicken Soup Recipe
Remember the chicken soup your mother used to make when you were sick with a cold? This is the same thing only even better for your immune system:
2 tablespoons fresh garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger
1 large red onion, chopped
2 pounds skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into pieces
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup mushrooms
4 cups organic chicken broth
6 cups water
Sauté fresh garlic, ginger and onion in a large pan with olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes.
Add the chicken, water, chicken broth, mushrooms and carrots. After bringing the liquid to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 30–60 minutes. Add salt to taste, along with extra garlic and ginger if you want additional zing.
Enjoy a bowl of soup while it’s pleasantly warm.
The Importance of Good Nutrition for a Healthy Immune System
According to Harvard Medical School, senior adults have a higher chance of getting sick than younger people. This may be because the body produces fewer immune cells. It may also be from vitamin deficiencies. Whatever the cause, as you age, you need to stay focused on eating nutritious superfoods. Healthy foods enhance your immune system and take care of the rest of your body, too.