Win Immunity with Superfoods!
Eating a healthy whole-foods based diet is a great way to improve your immune system, but sometimes that may not be enough. To give your immune system a boost, try adding some superfoods to your diet.
Superfoods can be thought of as foods that have beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants –specifically certain fresh vegetables and fruits. There are many classes of superfoods, such as: greens (grasses and algaes), bee by-products, herbs, sea vegetables, leafy vegetables, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
(Alfalfa, green barley and wheatgrass) as well as algae (blue-green algae, spirulina and chlorella) are all easy to digest, and contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals as well as essential fatty acids, proteins and healthy bacteria.
Such as Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen and Propolis are great for strengthening the immune system by increasing energy levels and fighting stress, and they also have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties.
Are very rich in minerals and protein –essentials for a strong immune system. They’re usually found in dried forms, so just rinse and soak them to make the soft again, or add them to cooking in stews, soups and sauces. Green seaweeds include: nori (sushi wrapping), kelp, dulse, kombu, wakame, arame and hijiki. They have strong flavors, so if you’re not used to them start with small amounts a couple times per week.
Such as echinacea, ginseng root, astragulus, ginger root, licorice root and pau d’arco are also great immune boosters. Dried mushrooms (reishi and shiitake) contain a high concentration of protein and antioxidants that also support the immune system.
Vegetables (yellow, orange and dark greens) high in carotenes are important for immune function. They include carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, red peppers, yellow and orange squash, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower, collards and kale, as well as turnip and mustard greens. Try adding them, as well as berries and citrus fruits – which contain other flavanoids important for immune function – to your diet.
Supplements high in Lactobacillus acidiophilus and Bifidoacterium bifidumare are also good for strengthening the immune system by supporting the intestines and the good bacteria in your body. And of course, Fish Oil –rich in Omega3 EPA – is great for supporting the immune system. If you’re vegetarian, try chia seeds, ground flax seeds or other vegetarian omega-3 oil.
Don’t forget to think about the items in your life that may be sabotaging your immune system including:
- Repeatedly consuming foods that you have an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity
- Consuming too much sugar, even natural sugar and alcohol. Studies have shown that consuming 100-gram portions of sugar (including glucose, fructose, sucrose) can reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria and reduce vitamin C transport in the body
- Not getting sufficient sleep and exercise
- High stress (physical, emotional, lifestyle and environmental)
Remember – staying well hydrated and enjoying a well-balanced, whole-foods based diet are the best places to start for a strong immune system. And if you’re looking for that extra immune boost, try adding superfoods to your diet.
Consult your primary care practitioner before starting any supplements or herbal protocol.