One of the best ways to support your immune system is by giving it proper nutrients through what you eat. Here are a few of the best foods to boost your immune system:
Onions, garlic and other white pungent vegetables
White pungent vegetables include onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, cauliflower and radishes. These vegetables are particularly healing to your respiratory tract because they break down mucus. No matter how congested you might be, if you cut a fresh onion in half and hold it under your nose, in a few seconds, you will be able to smell the onion. White pungent vegetables, especially onions, can break through mucus and clear respiratory passages.
Try this recipe: French Onion Soup
Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, etc.) are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C fights infection and shortens the duration of symptoms. Equally as important are the benefits of citrus fruits for the liver, your main detox organ. When your body is burdened by toxins, your susceptibility to infections increases. By supporting your liver, you are also supporting your immune system.
Try this recipe: Frozen Grapefruit Spears
Cucumbers have a natural cooling effect on the body. If you have a fever, eating cucumbers can help you feel more cool while your body fights the infection. Fevers are actually a good sign that your immune system is functioning. When your body temperature increases in the presence of an infection, it becomes inhospitable to invaders like bacteria and viruses.
Try this recipe: Dill Cucumber Salad
In contrast with cucumbers, ginger has a natural warming effect on the body. Dealing with an infection can cause your body to go through bouts of shivering and cold. Sipping on some warm ginger tea can help balance your body temperature. Ginger is also excellent for your digestion and can reduce inflammation, which is immune-suppressive.
Try this recipe: Ginger Chicken
Pineapple is high in vitamin C and other nutrients that support your immune system, but pineapple also contains an important enzyme called bromelain. Enzymes are known for improving digestion and reducing inflammation, but did you know that bromelain from fresh pineapple can get rid of a sore throat? If you are suffering from a sore throat, eat fresh pineapple until you feel a bit of mouth irritation. Canned and frozen pineapple will not have the same effect; the pineapple must be fresh.
No recipe required here, but check out this cool pineapple corer/slicer!
Chicken, fish or bone broth
It’s important to consume adequate protein when you’re sick because antibodies are made from protein. That said, you don’t want to spend a lot of energy on digestion when you’re sick, and protein can be more difficult to digest. It’s best to consume proteins that are easy to digest, like chicken, fish and bone broth. Bone broth contains protein and minerals that enhance healing.
Try this recipe: Bone Broth, Homemade
What not to eat when you’re sick
Regarding your immune system, sometimes it’s more important to know what not to eat. The two most important foods to avoid for a strong immune system are sugar and anything to which you are allergic.
Sugar is highly inflammatory and immuno-suppressive. Instead, try these SHAPE-approved healthy sweeteners or fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Allergic reactions cause inflammation, which directly impacts your immune system. Common allergenic and inflammatory foods include:
- Baker’s yeast
- Fish, shellfish
- Gluten (wheat, rye, barley and some oats)
- Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and potatoes)
Finally, the immune system relies on balance. Any imbalance throughout the body can negatively impact the immune system. One of the best ways to create balance is through the SHAPE Program. The SHAPE Program reduces inflammation, detoxifies and boosts the immune system simultaneously.