Top 10 Immune System Boosting Foods

I was going to post a recipe for some great Irish Whiskey Truffles in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day but thought you’d appreciate a list of foods that help strengthen your immune system more, given the state of the world as we know it. 

I’ll post the truffles recipe tomorrow.

In addition to washing your hands and staying home as much as you can, you can keep your body healthy by staying active and eating vibrant foods. In fact, one of the easiest ways to super-charge your immune system is to eat more fruit and vegetables. 

“…by equating veggies with food, our bodies may be using them as a signal to upkeep our immune system. Thus, “the old recommendation ‘eat your veggies’ has a strong molecular basis.” Dr. Michael Greger, The Broccoli Receptor: Our First Line of Defense

But not just any. Below are the top ten fruits and vegetables that will keep your immune system strong and can aid in increased immune function. There are plenty of other foods that do this, but these ten pack a big, nutritious punch.

Apples
These delicious fruits are loaded with antioxidants. But don’t forget the peel. It is loaded with them. Be sure to buy organic to avoid pesticides. Red Delicious is a winner here!

Broccoli
This vegetable is part of the cruciferous family and is an excellent source of phytochemicals, helping to fight the carcinogenic effects of pesticides and other toxins.

Brussels sprouts
Another cruciferous vegetable that neutralizes carcinogens.

Cabbage
Not only does this vegetable boost your immune system, but it also keeps breast cancer at bay (Dr. Jonny Bowden, from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth).

Cauliflower
Another member of the cruciferous family and contain many of the same compounds that strengthen the immune system and fight cancer.

Photo by FOODISM360 on Unsplash

Collards
More phytochemicals here but also incredibly high in calcium.

Kale
This green is a powerhouse of nutrition. It isn’t just rich in phytochemicals, but it’s also loaded with calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K. It can be a bit tough but the secret is to actually massage it with oil or lemon juice. Seriously. Add it to a big bowl after you wash and destem it (or use baby kale and avoid the need to destem), drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over top or add the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon, and use your clean hands to massage the oil or juice into the kale. This will soften it up and make it easier to eat. Toss in some dried cranberries and pine nuts or roasted chickpeas and toasted pita chips and enjoy.

Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash

Mushrooms
Because mushrooms are fungus, they are able to absorb and eliminate toxins. They are high in antioxidants and act as a metabolic energy enhancer (Dr. Jonny Bowden, from The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth). That’s a bonus!

Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash

Tomatoes
This veggie (technically, it’s a berry) is also loaded with antioxidants. Tomatoes have the best flavor if purchased “vine-ripened” or, even better, from your local farmer’s market when they’re in season. It’s pretty easy to grow them at home too and many varieties grow well in a pot.

If you’d like more information, below are links to the resources used in researching this list. As always, I recommend you do your own research and be sure to use reliable sources.

Resources

Using the Produce Aisle to Boost Immune Function:

Mushrooms and Immunity:

The Broccoli Receptor: Our First Line of Defense:

Boosting Immunity Through Diet:

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, 
by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.

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