As we reach the peak of sick season, it’s important to be fueling your body with immune boosting foods – especially this year! Consuming a well-rounded diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other immune boosting foods is a great way to help your body fight off the flu or any other infections. The Tacoma Boys list of favorite immune boosting foods is the perfect place to start when incorporating more of these foods into your daily diet.
Immune Boosting Foods & Why They’re Important
Before we tap into immune boosting foods, let’s cover our immune system, what it is, and how it works for us. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, our immune system is “a network of intricate stages and pathways in the body, that protects us against these harmful microbes as well as certain diseases. It recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites and takes immediate action.”
There are many different factors that play a role in a healthy immune system; sleep, stress, age, chronic illness, diet, and more. Although diet is only one component of a healthy immune system, it is an important one. A diet lacking certain micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals can lead to chronic inflammation and a weak immune system. This is why immune boosting foods are important – they have naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help prepare your body to fight off any free radicals or unforeseen illness such as a common cold.
Fresh Local Produce
It should be no surprise that fresh local produce is on the list of immune boosting foods. All fresh and local produce have a wide variety of health benefits, and you can find a large selection of produce at your local Tacoma Boys.
Citrus is a common go-to food when people get sick due to its high Vitamin C content. According to Healthline, Vitamin C is known to increase white blood cells which are crucial for fighting infections. Some of the most common citrus fruits are:
Berries are among some of the highest antioxidant-rich foods. From blueberries to strawberries, raspberries, and even blackberries, incorporating these into your diet is a great way to give your immune system a boost.
There’s no denying that a diet rich in vegetables is beneficial all-around. Adding an abundance of various greens and other vegetables will aid in your vitamin and mineral intake. Try adding spinach to soup, spaghetti sauce, or a huge handful of mixed greens to a smoothie. There are many ways to incorporate these phytonutrient rich vegetables into your daily lifestyle.
- Kale – high in fiber and a great source of Vitamin C, A, K, B6, and more
- Spinach – great source of iron, Vitamin C, K, A, magnesium, and more
- Mixed Greens – high in Vitamin A, C, beta-carotene, fiber, and more
- Red Bell Peppers – source of Vitamin C, A, and beta-carotene – according to Healthline, red bell peppers contain 3x more Vitamin C than a Florida Orange
- Broccoli – another high source of Vitamin C, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals
Aromatics are vegetables that add a depth of flavor to any dish. This can be spices, onions, garlic, and more. A lot of aromatics are packed full of nutrients which is why adding them to dishes is a great way to boost your food with additional vitamins and minerals.
- Garlic is one of the most commonly used aromatics in the kitchen. But did you know that it packs a punch when it comes to nutrients? Garlic contains trace amounts of various vitamins and minerals and is loaded with Vitamin C, B6, manganese, fiber, and selenium. Adding extra garlic to soups when feeling unwell may have the ability to help your body heal faster.
- Similar to garlic, onions are found in many dishes and recipes. Onions are high in Vitamin C and flavonoids which are known to be similar to antioxidants. These help your body naturally fight off any unwanted sickness.
Ginger & Turmeric
- Ginger and turmeric are both aromatics that have been used in alternative medicine healing for years. Both are known to help decrease inflammation and aid in immune health. Ginger and turmeric can be found in its whole root form, or you can buy it dried and ground in the spice section. Pair these aromatics with tea, smoothies, soups, and more.
Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and more have been shown to aid in a healthy immune system. When foods are fermented they gain a load of healthy bacteria commonly known and probiotics. Fermented foods are great for gut health, and a healthy gut positively affects your immune system by boosting the ability to fight off infections and viruses.
Be Kind to Your Immune System
As we are in unprecedented times, it’s even more important to be kind to our immune systems and give them a little extra boost! When you pop into your local Tacoma Boys, take a look around at the fresh fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, aromatics, local honey, bone broth, and more. There are endless ways to add a variety of these foods into your already existing diet. If you have any questions while shopping or are looking for a specific immune-boosting item, don’t hesitate to ask one of Tacoma Boys’ workers – we’re here to help!