Our top 5 foods to support your immune system naturally
In today’s world, with the effects of the Covid pandemic are still in our recent collective memory, maintaining a strong immune system has become more important than ever. Whilst our parents might have had us believe that eating mountains of broccoli or garlic galore would keep you from ever getting sick, unfortunately when it comes to the immune system, there is no quick fix. Genetics, age, sleep quality, stress levels and exercise are all contributing factors – and no one single addition to your diet will protect you from infection.
That’s not to say however that a number of foods, (garlic included!) have remarkably good antimicrobial properties. Whilst they’re not guaranteed to protect you from an ailment or two on their own, including more of these nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet in addition to a regular exercise and sleep routine will help to support your immune system naturally.
First and foremost, eating a healthy diet is crucial in helping us to maintain a strong immune system. Here are five of our favourite foods to incorporate into your diet as a part of your natural immune supporting routine.
Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C and E, as well as containing a number of antioxidants like sulforaphane (meant to be good for heart health and digestion). Readily available all year round, broccoli is perhaps one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get extra vitamins into your diet. It’s important to treat it with care, be aware that the more you cook it, the less nutritious it will be. Lightly steam, boil or microwave to lock in its immune-supporting properties.
Berries like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are packed with antioxidants and other immune-supporting nutrients like vitamin C and fibre. Blueberries contain high levels of anthocyanin, a flavanoid with antioxidant properties that plays an essential role in the respiratory tract immune system. One of our favourite (and easy) snacks is a handful of blueberries with a small handful of almonds. Pairing fruit with nuts can help balance out the sugar content in the fruit and provide additional protein and healthy fats, making it a satisfying and nutritious snack.
Red peppers contain three times the amount of vitamin C as citrus; in fact, it might surprise you to know that they are the most vitamin C-dense of any fruit or vegetable, as well as being a great source of beta-cerotene (which the body converts into vitamin A). Interestingly, red peppers have 11 times more beta-cerotene than green peppers, and one and a half times more vitamin C.
Kefir is becoming increasingly popular, as its benefits to the gut biome become more widely known. It is also thought to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anti-allergenic effects. Our chia seed pudding made with vanilla kefir and topped with a raspberry compote and cacao nib garnish is a delicious gut-friendly way to get more kefir into your diet.
Rich in vitamin B6, manganese, selenium and vitamin C, garlic has long been regarded as useful for helping to fight infections and viruses. Allicin, the sulphur-containing compound that gives it its distinctive smell and taste, has been proven to have antibacterial affects; crushing and bruising garlic cloves supposedly stimulates the production of allicin, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that cooking the cloves will inevitably inhibit some of its medicinal properties.
Balance Box is dedicated to promoting health through a balanced, nutritious diet. To naturally support your immune system, we offer expertly crafted meal programs that provide all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fats to optimize your healthy lifestyle. Find the perfect Balance Box plan for you here.