The first inklings of an illness can be a warning signal for many of us, an alarm that sends us scurrying through the vitamin section of our local drugstores, all the while downing Emergen-C packets like they’re our morning coffee. While it’s good to take those first steps when you feel your symptoms coming on, it’s even better to avoid those feelings all together. Here are four immune boosting foods to incorporate into your diet so you can fight illness all year long—no icky symptoms required.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are full of zinc, which helps white blood cells fight off illness. With Halloween right around the corner, it may be a good time to repurpose your decorative seasonal vegetables! There are a lot of great recipes for pumpkin seeds, but my personal favorite is to bake them in the oven until crispy with a small amount of olive oil and salt. They make for a tasty, healthy treat!
2. Sweet Potatoes
Can't get enough sweet potatoes this time of year? That's a good thing: Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which fights free radicals that could weaken your immune system. Just remember to hold the brown sugar and marshmallows!
The probiotics, found in yogurt and other naturally fermented foods, such as cold culture sauerkraut, kimchee, and kefir, help your body maintain a healthy and strong immune system. The all contain good bacteria that improves your gut health and will help fight off infections. Pick yogurts that are low in sugar and free of artificial sweeteners.
4. Bone Broth
Bone broth has been heralded a superfood thanks to the high concentration of minerals. While there are many health benefits of the broth, the bone marrow has been shown to help strengthen your immune system. A Harvard study even indicated that some people with auto-immune disorders experienced a relief of symptoms when drinking bone broth, with some achieving a complete remission. Check out our Bone Broth recipe of the month!
Sometimes all of our best-laid plans aren’t enough, and illness finds us after all. When that happens, it’s time to break out the chicken soup – really! Studies have shown that there are illness fighting properties to this time honored, grandmothers’ favorite.
First off, we should clarify that we’re talking about homemade (read, unprocessed) chicken soup with vegetables. This soup will contain lots of healthy nutrients, increase hydration, and taste good, too! The chicken in this soothing concoction contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. The hot steam from the soup will open up your nasal passageways, and the minerals contained in the broth and veggies will be easy for your body to absorb and process. Chicken soup really may be your ticket to wellness!