The immune system helps you stay healthy, and the food you eat helps to support it. At the end of the day, it is always best to get the molecular building blocks for a strong immune system from the foods you eat, and nature absolutely provides us with many foods that do a great job of helping the immune system when you eat them in their fresh, whole food form!
This is because they have unique compounds that your immune system uses to help it stay strong. Here are just a few you can add to a healthy, whole food diet.
9 Foods for a Strong Immune System
L-Theanine and EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) are two potentially immune-activating plant compounds found in green tea. Starting your morning off with a cup of green tea can be a wonderful ritual. Add a little lemon for a bit of vitamin C!
Oranges, Kale and Red Peppers
Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in many plants that helps enhance the function of the immune cells. Per the National Institute of Health, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin C is 90mg for men and 75mg for women. 1 large orange contains 97.9 mg, 1 cup of kale contains 80 mg, and 1 medium red bell pepper contains 152 mg. Add any to smoothies, stir-frys, or a salad. Personally, I love to sauté kale with a little coconut oil and Himalayan crystal salt. Delicious!
Blueberries, Blackberries, and Grapes
Anthocyanins (big word, right?) are powerful antioxidants that have been used historically in mixtures and extracts for their immune-supporting properties. Research has been catching up, showing that anthocyanins may exhibit significant health benefits. Anthocyanins are found in many foods, including blueberries, blackberries, and grapes.
All of these are delicious, sweet additions to any smoothie or salad. If they’re not in season when you are trying to find them, look for them in the frozen aisle. I like using frozen fruits and vegetables in my smoothies because they are picked closer to ripeness and packaged shortly after picking. And they won’t go bad before you use them.
Garlic and Onions
Compounds in garlic and onions may help enhance the fighting power of white blood cells. Garlic has also been shown to be beneficial to the immune system.
In one study, people took either garlic supplements or a placebo during cold season. Those who took garlic had fewer colds than those who took a placebo. And when those taking garlic did get a cold, their symptoms went away faster.
Around the world, people have been adding garlic and onion to hearty winter soups and stews for thousands of years. Perhaps they innately knew these foods helped keep their immune systems strong in the winter. I like to add a clove or two to smoothies (warning, it will have some kick!) or include raw, chopped garlic in any sautés or soups I make during the winter.
I designed Shakeology to give your body a nutritional boost every day when it isn’t possible to get in whole food meals. This happens to me the most when I travel. Each serving of Shakeology contains the same nutritional value of:
- 3 cups of romaine lettuce
- 4 cups of raw mushrooms
- 1 shot of wheatgrass
- 1 bowl of exotic fruit
- 3 raw onions
- 7 raw carrots
- 4 cups of non-fat yogurt
- 4 cups of red radishes
- 4 cups of raw broccoli
- 1 cup of peas
- and 10 cups of cauliflower
Also, Shakeology can help reduce your hunger and food cravings (which will keep you from making poor food choices that may drag your immune system down). And, like those immune-supporting foods, Shakeology also contains antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals to help support a healthy immune system.
When you have a healthy, active lifestyle, reduce your intake of processed foods, sugar, and alcohol, and eat a plant-based diet that includes dark leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains you’ll be giving your immune system what it needs this winter!