Winter is coming, which means the typical coughs, colds, and sniffles are going to set in. If you’re not careful, you could end up falling victim to the many illnesses that strike around autumn and early winter. A large part of it means dressing for the weather, but you also need to EAT for the weather. Add the immune boosting foods below to your diet, and you’ll have a much easier time fighting off disease:
Did you know that there are millions of tiny bacteria floating around in your yoghurt? Those bacteria are what turn your milk into yoghurt (fermentation). It may sound bad, but the truth is that those bacteria are exactly like the bacteria that live in your gut. Eating yoghurt will reinforce the good gut bacteria and raise your immunity to disease and invading pathogens. A few servings of yoghurt per week can do wonders for your immune system.
What makes garlic one of the best immune boosting foods around? Perhaps it’s the fact that garlic is rich in allicin, an antioxidant that can improve circulation and get your immune antibodies where they need to go faster. Allicin is also an effective pathogen-killer that will help your body fight the invading microorganisms that cause disease and illness.
Aside from its delicious flavor, beef is rich in a little mineral we like to call zinc. Zinc plays a vital role in your immune system: it helps your body to produce more white blood cells. Those white blood cells help to scavenge the microorganisms that invade your body. Essentially, they’re your internal defense force. By eating more red meat, you can increase zinc intake and provide your body the protection it needs.
Oats and Barley
These two grains are loaded with fiber, but it’s a very specific type of fiber that makes them awesome. Beta-glucan is a form of fiber that can fight off microbes. It also has antioxidant properties on par with Echinacea. Animal studies have found that eating these grains can help to reduce the risk of infection and disease, and it can help to boost your immune function, speed up healing, and even make the antibiotics you’re taking more effective against the pathogens you’re trying to treat.
Oysters, shrimp, crab, and mussels are just a few of the seafood options that should go on your menu. Why’s that? Well, shellfish—all seafood, for that matter—are rich in selenium, an antioxidant that will boost your body’s defenses against invading pathogens. They’re also rich in Omega-3 fats, which can prevent low-grade inflammation from dampening your immune system.
Mushrooms may not look like much, but they’re an amazing source of immune-boosting nutrients. They can help to increase the white blood cell activity in your body. This means they will make your body even more effective at protecting itself against disease and infection. The darker the mushroom (shiitake, reishi, maitake), the higher the nutritional content, and the better it will be at protecting your body from disease. Definitely a good idea to add more mushrooms into your autumn and winter meals!
Chicken soup is made with one vital ingredient: chicken. Chicken contains cysteine, an amino acid that can help to treat the symptoms of cold and flu and boost your immunity. That cysteine is released when you boil the chicken, and the broth helps to thin out the mucus that’s causing your cough and runny nose. The addition of herbs, spices, and aromatic veggies only makes the dish even more effective at treating your ailments.