One of the best ways to strengthen our immune systems is through proper nutrition. To help support your immune system, here are Koala Eco’s top seven foods to boost your immunity as we head into the cooler months.
Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
Packed with antioxidants, berries make for a sweet, immune boosting addition to your diet. Antioxidants support the immune system by reducing cell death and promoting the development of white blood cells; which are essential to fighting harmful bacteria. Additionally, antioxidants aid in repairing damaged DNA, and protect against the effects of inflammatory free radicals. Other sources of antioxidants include: dark chocolate (look for a variety with at least 70% cacao), green tea, apples, dark leafy vegetables, and red grapes.
Garlic has long been considered a superfood due to its powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. A potent source of the component allicin, garlic acts as an antibiotic against bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections. To get the full benefits of garlic, it’s best to slightly smash or crush a few cloves, and eat them raw.If you can’t quite stomach that, try including garlic in pasta dishes, curries, and soups.
Turmeric is an excellent healer and immune system booster due to its active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin has antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, which contribute to a healthy immune system. To enhance its absorption and bioavailability, take turmeric with a little black pepper and a source of fat (e.g. coconut oil, olive oil, coconut milk). Try including it in curries, oras a golden latte.
Lentils, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds
Zinc plays an essential role in T cell activation (T cells are required to fight off viral infections), making it a vital nutrient for a strong immune system. A zinc deficiency has been shown to result in increased susceptibility to infections and viruses. Try sprinkling pumpkin seeds on your oatmeal and salads, enjoying lentils in soups or stews, and making salad dressings using tahini (sesame seed paste).
Inflammation can detrimentally affect your body's immune response, which makes anti-inflammatory ginger a great way to boost your immune system. Ginger also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, helping to combat the common cold or flu as well as viruses.
Grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, and mandarins
Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, a nutrient which supports the immune system by increasing the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. As your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, it’s essential to consume vitamin C rich foods every day. Other sources of vitamin C include: kiwi fruits, rock melon, capsicums, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Broccoli contains several essential micronutrients, like vitamins A, C, and E. Additionally, broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane, which activates infection and disease fighting white blood cells, and may also help activate free-radical fighting enzymes and antioxidants in our immune cells.
To ensure your fresh produce is helping, rather than harming you, it’s essential that you thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables prior to consuming them. We recommend using our Natural Fruit and Vegetable Wash which removes any bacteria as well as residual pesticides, oils, waxes, and agricultural chemicals from your fruits and vegetables, without leaving an aftertaste.