planning, extended family visits all contribute to a challenging season full of
icky viruses. We often see patients seeking help boosting their immune system
before, during and after the holidays.
immune system provides a robust anatomical barrier that serves as a host
defense mechanism. One of these anatomical barriers is the gastrointestinal tract, full of digestive enzymes, bile acids and
gut flora to name a few.
these essential defense mechanisms rely heavily on the entire gastrointestinal tract functioning efficiently.
meals that benefit the immune system is a great way of fighting off infection.
Avoiding infection promoting foods such as potato chips, sugar and soda is also
a key to enrich the microbiome and boost immunity.
6 types of foods that boost the immune system
Yellow Bell Peppers
to popular belief, oranges are not particularly high in vitamin C when compared
to other fruits. One orange provides 78% DV of vitamin C, which is ok. The
reason that yellow bell peppers are top of our list is they are easy to get in
most parts of the world and contain
152%DV of vitamin C. Yellow bell peppers contain more vitamin C
as they mature (up to a point). Green bell peppers have half the amount of
vitamin C, about the same amount as an orange.
C boosts the immune system by influencing the development and
functioning of lymphocytes. About half a cup of yellow bell peppers will
provide 152% DV of vitamin C.
vitamin C rich foods include: Acerola Cherries (913% DV), Rose Hips (132% DV),
Green Chili Peppers (121% DV), Guava (140% DV), and Blackcurrants (112% DV)
is a perfect source of nutrients and we are right in the middle of the winter
‘guava season’. Peeled guava contains 140% DV of
vitamin C and is also rich in lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful
antioxidant and plays an important role in the enzyme activities of the
randomized controlled study found that eating 400g of guava per day
lowered blood pressure as well as serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and
foods that are rich in lycopene include: Tomatoes (sun-dried, pureed, fresh and
canned), watermelon and red/ pink grapefruit.
is high in phytonutrients like vitamin A, C and E. Ensuring high-quality intake
of essential nutrients boosts the immune system. It’s important to note that raw broccoli or
broccoli sprouts contain the highest levels of sulforaphane. Minimizing boiling
or cooking and eating sulforaphane-rich foods as raw as possible will provide
maximum health benefits.
has been found to support
healthy inflammation pathways and blood pressure in animal models. Sulforaphane
has a wide range of health benefits that include cognitive protection and
blood stabilization. In one study,
fasting blood sugar was significantly reduced (by 6.5%) in participants that
foods that contain sulforaphane include: Kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok
choy, watercress and cauliflower
is a great immune-boosting food due to its support of healthy inflammatory pathways.
Inflammation is implicated in the pathophysiology of many health-compromising
situations, so consuming pro-healthy-inflammation foods is an ideal way to
boost the immune system.
has a host of other beneficial health-promoting mechanisms, including its anti-oxidative, anti-cytotoxic, neurorestorative properties,
as well as having metal-chelating properties, making it an important staple in
an immune-boosting pantry. Curcumin is the active component in turmeric that
offers all of the health benefits of this ancient golden root.
is the only food that contains curcumin.
tea contains L-theanine, which promotes relaxation and the formation of healthy
T-cells. Black tea also contains L-theanine (sometimes in higher doses).
However, black tea is often fermented, reducing the L-theanine properties.
tea is packed with flavonoids and
epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Flavonoids are one of big the reasons plants
are good for you as flavonoids boost the immune system.
flavonoid rich foods include: Cranberries, apples, blueberries, broccoli, and
are rich in fat-soluble vitamin E. Vitamin E boosts the immune system as it’s a
free radical scavenging antioxidant. Almonds are easy to find and store in any
season, making them a great winter pantry staple.
Additional immune boosting foods
E rich foods include: Sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, peanuts and wheat germ oil. Prebiotic foods; garlic, leeks and
onions and probiotic foods like miso,
pickles, sauerkraut and tempeh go a long way toward good health.
a varied diet bursting with plant-based nutrition is the key to boosting the
and flu season (the stress season) approaches, be sure to stock your fridge
with foods that will fight for your health.