It is well known that what you eat determines how you feel. Our bodies need vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients in order to function properly so that you could be your best self. However, bacteria and viruses do attack and people do get sick once their immune system weakens. Whether your immune system is weak because of stress, or malnutrition or a chronic disease, the right food will help.

1. Garlic

Garlic is one of the most cited foods to fight bacteria and viruses and help you be and stay healthy. What separates garlic from other alliums is allicin, which can’t be found in the necessary amounts in other members of the onion family. Perhaps the smell will put you off, but you can easily put some in your salad, in a sauce or a home cooked meal, and still reap the benefits.

2. Chicken Soup

This is a well-known fact, and if you ever wondered why, here’s the answer: Cystein, which is an amino acid that gets released from chicken during cooking, bears a certain chemical resemblance to acetylcysteine—the bronchitis drug. This is how it works: Cystein stops the accumulation of inflammatory white cells in the bronchial tubes, and the broth keeps mucus thin. In order to further boost its immune power, add garlic and mushrooms.

3. Mushrooms

Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are your answer as they contain the biggest amount of immunity boosters out of all mushrooms. They are efficient because they help your body produce more white blood cells and making them active and aggressive (in a good way).

4. Beef

We are citing beef because of zinc. Zinc deficiency is one of the biggest nutritional shortfalls. With so many vegetarians and people cutting back on beef (or any red meat for that matter) it is no wonder that this is the main reason why some people get ill. This immunity boosting mineral can also be found (in nor so great amounts) in oysters, milk or yoghurt, poultry (see the pattern here) and pork.

5. Sweet Potatoes

When talking about the immune system, we are not just talking about the blood; we are also talking about the other organs, especially skin. As the largest human organ, skin is also the biggest barrier between you and bacteria/viruses. In order to keep her healthy, you need vitamin A, and our recommended source for it is sweet potato. It will deliver the right amount of beta carotene, that will then be transformed into vitamin A and used to produce connective tissue. You can also vary by eating cantaloupe, carrots, pumpkins etc.

6. Fish

We cannot accentuate the importance of this food. Fish, as well as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams, are effective and can help white blood cells produce cytokines (basically proteins that help eradicate flu viruses from your body. Additionally, don’t forget that they are a fantastic source of omega 3 acids.

7. Grapefruit

The benefits of citruses have been known for quite some time, and we don’t need to list in detail why vitamin C, present in grapefruit, lemon, oranges etc. is good for your health. We will, however, say, that red grapefruit is high in bioflavanoids, which produce positive reactions in your system and boost your immunity.

8. Cauliflower

Broccoli, sprouts and cauliflower are high in antioxidants, especially gluthatione, which fends off viruses. Not only do they improve your overall health, they are a big source of choline. This nutrient keeps bacteria out of your system, keep your cells properly functioning and help in the gastrointestinal area

9. Honey

Buckwheat honey does not only cure your sore throat by coating it, it also has antioxidants and antimicrobial properties.

DRINK:

10. Tea

The key words here are “amino acids”. Green and black tea have an abundance of L-theanine; a substance that will give you enough virus-fighting interferon in your blood stream—even decaf versions.

11. Yogurt

The difference between a yoghurt that helps your digestion and a yoghurt that boosts your immune system is the bacteria involved. What you need is Lactobacillus reuteri—a specific probiotic that appears to stimulate white blood cells. If you don’t find it, rest assured that every yoghurt has it, but only in small quantities.

DO NOT FORGET

Step 1: Identify what you need.

Let’s say that you love eating vegetables, yoghurt, and foods rich in vitamin C. It’s not the increased quantities of yoghurt you need. It’s a good old chicken soup.

Step 2. Don’t overdo it.

Eating two liters of chicken soup will only make you sick. One plate with a salad and some beef will be more than enough.

Step 3: Opt for natural, rather than synthetic.

By synthetic we mean pills. All the useful elements can be extracted from the food and packed in a pill, but a lot of the good stuff is lost in the process. Sometimes it is more useful to eat a clove of garlic in a salad than to pop a pill or two.

Step 4. Combine

Above we have listed a perfect combination: Warm tea-containing L-theanine, honey to coat your sore throat, and lemon to add some vitamin C. Do not rely on only one food to help you be healthy.

These foods are not just good for your immune system—they keep you fit, keep your teeth healthy, keep you in a good mood… they are simply fabulous. So why wait?

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Featured photo credit: minxlj via photopin cc

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