Five Immune Boosting Foods
We all know bacteria and viruses cause many illnesses. Your body has the ability to fight these antigens with your immune system. While different behaviors you include in your life affect your immune health, the food you eat is extremely important. The good news is that what you eat is something you have the most control over. Here are five immune boosting foods known to help support and strengthen your immune system.
Fish is an excellent source of selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and is one of the essential minerals for our health and immunity. The daily intake recommendation is 55 micrograms of selenium for an adult. While tuna is one of the highest selenium providing fish, you need to balance your intake of tuna with the caution that it is a fish that’s high in mercury. An occasional meal of tuna is suggested, and one ounce of tuna can provide around 30 mcg of selenium. Other fish and seafood usually contain between 12 mcg and 20 mcg of selenium per ounce.
Salmon is also an excellent choice to help support your immune system. It contains a significant amount of “healthy fat”, known as Omega-3 fat, which is known to strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
If you eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, lentils are a great substitute for fish. One cup of lentils can provide around six mcg of selenium. They are also a good source of immune-boosting nutrients, fiber, and protein. Even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, adding lentils to your diet is a great idea!
Another vegetable that has a positive effect on our immune system is garlic. Garlic has the ability, according to some research, to keep a cold at bay (and perhaps even vampires?). Some studies have shown individuals who were living with cancer were able to boost their immune system by increasing their intake of garlic. It’s interesting that garlic is a member of the lily family as are other delicious veggies such as onions, leeks and shallots! Garlic gives us calcium, phosphorus and selenium.
One of our top immune boosting foods is blueberries. While delicious without even considering their nutritional value, these little blue balls of goodness are loaded with antioxidants. Blueberries are at the top of all the fruits and vegetables for the antioxidants they provide. Not only does research show the positive effect blueberries have on our immune system, additional benefits include lower risk of stomach fat, cholesterol, heart diseases, and cancer. They are little blue powerhouses!
Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E. One ounce of these seeds can provide 75% of your daily intake, which is 15 milligrams. Vitamin E is also a potent antioxidant much like selenium, and helps fight infection since it supports your immune system.
I hope you’ll consider adding these five immune boosting foods to your meals. Be creative! You can make a salad and top it with lentils and sunflower seeds and finish it off with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette!
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Cheryl A Major, CNWC
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