A strong immune system can help us stay healthy and strong even in times of distress. But what should we actually eat to boost our immunity? Let’s take a look at some specific immunity boosting foods to strengthen your immune response.
Foods that improve your immune system
We’ve all heard that chicken soup is the best food you can have when you’re coming down with the flu. But does chicken soup actually help? Studies have found that “chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity.”
However, it’s not just chicken soup. When coupled with good sleep, being physically active, reducing stress, and washing hands frequently, certain foods can actually help boost your immunity and keep you safe from diseases. Although immunity boosting foods can’t absolutely cure diseases, they can definitely help you to fight against them.
10 immunity boosting foods you must eat
Your immune system continually works to defend and protect your body from viruses, diseases, and infections. It is a complex system that primarily depends on a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition to function effectively.
Here are 10 immunity boosting foods that you need to include in your daily diet and eating habits:
Probiotics are regarded as the good bacteria in our gut. High-quality, multi-strain probiotic supplements help to reintroduce good bacteria in your gut and boost your immune system.
These are live microorganisms that act as the first line of defense against external threats in your gut and protect other organs in your body. Foods like sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, and kombucha are rich in probiotics.
Moreover, multiple studies have shown that “Probiotics may provide novel approaches for both disease prevention and treatment.” Another recent 2019 study revealed that “Probiotic bacteria, their cell walls or probiotic fermented milk have significant effects on the functionality of the mucosal and systemic immune systems through the activation of multiple immune mechanisms.”
As I said earlier, chicken soup is one of the most beneficial immunity boosting foods. In fact, according to an article in Healthline, it protects us from diseases, to begin with. The post, medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD, states “Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.”
Broth or stock, prepared by boiling bones, consists of nutrients like chondroitin and gelatin which help in improving immunity and gut health.
3. Oily fish
Oily fish like pilchards, tuna, salmon, and others are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. One study has found that omega-3 fatty acids have certain effects “on different cells from the immune system and their possible molecular mechanisms.”
Moreover, another 2014 report revealed that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids over a long period of time can help to decrease the risk of RA (rheumatoid arthritis).
Did you know something as simple and essential as water can help you avoid falling sick or help you get better? In a Good Housekeeping post, Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist, writes “Since our body’s fluid needs increase when we’re fighting infection, drinking an extra two cups of water plus your daily minimum can fuel regeneration of immune-fighting lymphatic cells to get your body feeling stronger.”
Although fruit juices are an excellent alternative, they can really mess up your blood sugar levels. So stick to water or soups and stews. Stefani adds “Chicken soup also provides more protein plus H2O. There’s a reason they call it Grandma’s penicillin!”
Blueberries contain certain antioxidant properties that result in improving our immune system. Moreover, blueberries consist of flavonoids, which are crucial for the immune defense system of our respiratory tract, as revealed by a 2016 study. So make sure to add blueberries to your diet as this is one of the most effective immunity boosting foods.