Foods To Boost Your Immune System

To keep your immune system healthy, it's important to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, and to manage your stress. Although supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and other nutrients found in whole foods are often touted as natural immune boosters, some research indicates that taking dietary supplements may have limited benefits for the immune system. To maximise your vitamin intake try eating a variety of colourful and nutritious food everyday into your diet.

Foods high in vitamin C - An essential nutrient, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, a type of unstable molecule known to damage the immune system. There's some evidence that vitamin C may be particularly helpful in boosting the immune systems of people under major stress. 
To increase your vitamin C intake, add these foods to your diet:
  • citrus fruits such as orange, lemons and grapefruit
  • kiwi fruit    
  • red and green peppers
  • broccoli
  • strawberries 
Foods high in vitamin E - Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Research suggests maintaining ample levels of vitamin E is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system, especially among older people. To get enough of vitamin E, look at increasing these foods:
  • wheat germ oil
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • hazelnuts
  • peanut butter
Foods high in zinc - Zinc is an essential mineral involved in the production of certain immune cells. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) caution that even mildly low levels of zinc may impair your immune function. Here are some top food sources of zinc:
  • oysters
  • baked beans
  • cashews
  • raisin bran
  • chickpeas
Foods high in carotenoids - Another type of antioxidant, carotenoids are a class of pigments found naturally in several plants. When consumed, carotenoids are converted into vitamin A (a nutrient that helps regulate the immune system). Look to these foods to boost your carotenoids:
  • carrots
  • kale
  • apricots
  • papaya
  • mango
Foods high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of essential fatty acid known to suppress inflammation and keep the immune system in check. Although it's not known whether omega-3s can help fight off infections (such as the common cold), research suggests that omega-3s can protect against immune system disorders like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis
Try these omega-3-rich foods: 
  • oily fish (including mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, and trout)
  • flaxseed
  • walnuts

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