Michelle Welling

8 Foods with Immune System Benefits

Words by Charlotte Lindsay

immunity boosting tea

With a winter "cold snap" set to hit the U.K., it's time to look at ways to incorporate high quality foods that will help your body fight off the seasonal flu all while tasting great too. There are plenty of foods that might already be part of your weekly shop, that have immunity boosting properties. We've listed some of our favourites to look out for on your next trip to the market or grocery store. Read on to learn more about protecting your immune system through food.  

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM?

Your immune system health is crucial. A strong and active immune system is fundamental in keeping you fighting fit. Your immune system protects your body from sicknesses, bacteria and antigens that try to make you weak. The immune system produces white blood cells which move throughout your body to fight off and attack viruses and parasites, which in turn, enables us to be healthy and stronger than these bacterial infections. So, keep your immune system in check, your body will thank you.

3 signs of a weak immune system 

If you're worried your immune system may not be up to scratch, keep a check of these 3 easily noticeable factors…

  1. You are constantly feeling weak, tired and stressed

  2. You are fighting infections more often than not

  3. You are having digestive issues

antioxidant benefits of blueberries

KEY FOODS TO HELP BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

1. Blueberries

These berries are a go-to for nutritionists, they have a broad range of properties that benefit the body and immune system, high in vitamin C, potassium and flavonoids which means high in antioxidants. 

2. Turmeric

Anti-viral and immune boosting, what more could you wish for? Don’t be fooled, turmeric isn’t just for curries and lattes, try adding some into salad dressing, when marinating chicken breasts, sliced up finely in your tea infusion. There is no limit to delicious  turmeric so get experimenting! 

3. Garlic

Not only does this small but mighty food pack a flavour punch it provides a health punch too, from assisting in lowering blood pressure to being able to combat sicknesses, not to mention it improves levels of cholesterol, which in turn, results in a healthier heart and a lower chance of heart disease.

4. Ginger

From fighting inflammation to helping with nausea, ginger is a super food that not only boosts immunity, but adds freshness and flavour to any recipe, whether you make a ginger chilli chicken dish, an apple and ginger crumble or even a hot water, lemon and ginger infusion, don’t hold back! 

health benefits of spinach

5. Spinach

Loaded with Vitamin, A, B, and C, is that enough? No, the supercharged spinach is also first place in the veggie line up when it comes to the crucial vitamin k, pack in the spinach to keep the vitamins flowing and your bone health growing. 

6. Green tea

Looking for a tea that is bursting with antioxidants, green tea should be your go too, not only does this cup of magic promote fat burning and brain fog, this simple drink may improve bad breath.

7. Citrus fruits

Grapefruit, lemons and tangerines boost your immune system naturally by pumping your body with a controlled daily dose of vitamin C. An orange a day keeps the doctor away – a citrusy spin on long-held idea. It's not wrong, from aiding infighting a cold to boosting your body's immunity, don’t cut back on vitamin C.

8. Dark chocolate

Naughty or nice? The truth might surprise you! Did you know that high quality dark chocolate contains phenolic compounds, which can boost the responses our immune systems have? If this isn’t enough, remember that the flavonoids of dark chocolate have been seen to improve memory. It is time to add a high quality dark chocolate to your store cupboard essentials list. 

why chocolate is actually good for you

HOW TO INCORPORATE THESE FOOD INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE

With such an array of immune boosting foods, you may be wondering where to start. Here are some of our favourites to get your ideas brewing.

Make immune-boosting juices

Juice, blueberries, citrus fruit, spinach and ginger are four ingredients that together make one tasty juice. Sip at this instead of your elevenses cappuccino? Green tea packs a caffeine punch so try swapping your morning Americano for a freshly brewed green tea. Grab some ginger and turmeric and slice or dice them, then drop these vibrant ingredients into your evening hot tea infusion.

Immune-boosting winter warmer recipes

Grated ginger and turmeric are the perfect addition to marinate your chicken breast with, try combining them with the almighty garlic clove when cooking your chicken in the pan for a vibrant and fragrant protein.Add a handful of blueberries to your overnight oats, your superfood salad or to your after-dinner cookie recipe to feel a burst of flavourful benefits, a simple yet nutritious easy add in to any recipes. Spinach, where to start? 

Whether an essential to your go-to omelet recipe, the base to your favourite salad, boiled and drizzled with olive oil to accompany any main meal, or folded into your Italian grandma’s secret pasta recipe, this leafy green can be added to almost any recipe and will guarantee a tone of body benefits. Embrace the citrus fruit, slice them up and add them into your salad, squeeze and drizzle them over your dishes, get fruity.

health benefits of citrus fruit for your immunity

CONCLUSION

Overall, it is important to remember that like in all aspects of life balance is essential. Although maintaining a healthy diet is key in boosting your immune system, balance this by; staying as hydrated as possible, refreshed by sleeping optimum amounts, as calm and less stressed as possible and exercising frequently… Keep at it and you will be sure to see the improvements.