Once the autumn months come around, many begin to focus on how to boost their immunity. This is because colder weather can weaken the body’s response to infection. In fact, according to TIME Magazine, a Yale University study found that as little as a seven-degree drop in temperature can interfere with the body’s ability to minimize the proliferation of a bacteria or virus in the body.
As the gut makes up 75% of the body’s immune system, diet is one of the most influential aspects of immune health.
Below we list great immune-boosting foods to incorporate into your diet this fall:
Almonds are high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help strengthen the immune system by supporting cellular processes and limiting inflammation created by cellular waste. Additionally, because almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, and other essential micronutrients and minerals such as magnesium, they can help improve the body’s overall state of wellness.
Almonds have been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and promote healthy weight loss.
A common ingredient in a variety of dishes, garlic is easy to incorporate into your diet this fall. Raw garlic is linked to reduced blood pressure and has been shown to have antibiotic properties for both fungi and viruses. Furthermore, garlic combats inflammation, digestive issues, builds immunity, and helps flush out toxins. (Please note that heavily processing garlic destroys its healing properties, meaning garlic powder does not provide the benefits listed above).
This fall food is an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is naturally converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is crucial for the body’s defense against free radicals, which can lead to cellular damage and pre-mature aging. Moreover, sweet potato skin is packed with essential minerals such as manganese, copper, and pantothenic acid, all of which support overall wellness and immune health so be sure to cook sweet potatoes with the skin.
Spinach is a well-documented “superfood” and for good reason. Rich in folate, which helps with DNA repair, spinach is a great food for boosting immune health. Spinach is loaded with vitamin C, a known immune booster, and other antioxidants. As with garlic, the more processed spinach is, the fewer benefits it holds so it is best to have this food raw or lightly cooked for optimal results.
A staple fall food, pumpkins are high in antioxidants that help improve cardiovascular health, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and bone health. Additionally, these antioxidants help combat infection by aiding in the production of white blood cells and other immune functions such as wound-healing. Pumpkin is also high in protein, which contains amino acids that are essential building blocks of immune health.
Ginger is mainly known for its gut-healing properties (which is helpful for immune health in itself), but it is also packed with antioxidants that aid in immune support. Ginger helps relieve nausea, vomiting, and even morning sickness. Additionally, it helps with muscle repair as it can relieve exercise-induced muscle pain.
Broccoli is another food that has been given the title of a superfood as it supports many bodily systems and functions. Not only is broccoli packed with the previously mentioned vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, it is also high in B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B6). B vitamins help oxygenate cells, promote energy levels, support metabolic function, healthily respond to stress, and improve sleep quality. Supporting all of these bodily functions improves the body’s overall state of health and minimizes immunocompromisation.
Diet is just one component of developing and maintaining a healthy immune system. For optimal immune health, it is important to regularly exercise, get quality sleep, limit stress, and make healthy lifestyle choices.
If you feel like you are suffering from a weak or compromised immune system and are not getting the help you need, contact Holtorf Medical Group today.