Top 5 Immune-Boosting Foods
The human immune system is a complex network of cells and biochemical reactions that work in sync to keep you well.
You’re constantly exposed to bacteria and viruses that can make you sick, but your immune system works tirelessly each day to support your health — long before you even start to notice the early signs of an infection.
Although there is no way to ward off illness completely, a healthy diet can go a long way to ensure your immune system is in the best possible shape to kick infections to the curb as quickly as possible.
Of course, no single food or group of foods can give your immune system everything it needs to thrive — and it’s not something that happens overnight. The best approach is to place your focus on including a wide variety of whole, minimally processed foods on your plate every day.
Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered. Here are 5 of the best foods to support a healthy, thriving immune system.
Elderberry is an ancient herbal medicine that has been used for it’s immune supportive properties for centuries.
Historically, elderberry has been used to treat a myriad of physical ailments including headaches, toothaches, constipation, and viral infections6.
Elderberry comes from a plant known as Sambucus nigra. It’s loaded with a variety of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which are thought to be the reason behind its broad therapeutic effects.
Recent research suggests supplemental use of elderberry may help prevent the onset of cold and flu infections and reduce the amount of time you experience symptoms if you do happen to fall ill7.
If you don’t have access to an elderberry plant, you can harness all of its health-promoting benefits with our Immune-Boosting Elderberry Gummies.
Beets are a treasure trove of vital, immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and iron. But the feature that really sets them apart — and earned them a spot at the top of this list — is their rich supply of nitrates.
Nitrates are compounds which act as precursors to your body’s natural production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a messenger molecule used by almost every cell in your body. It plays a critical role in supporting immune cells and improving the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to every organ system precisely when it’s needed most.
Nitric oxide is considered one of the most vital components of a healthy immune system1. What’s more, recent research suggests adequate nitric oxide availability within the respiratory system can positively influence your body’s ability to fight viral infections that target the lungs and airways2.
Nitrates are found in a variety of vegetables, but beets are among the top sources. Adding beets to your weekly meal plan can help boost your body’s production of nitric oxide so you can breathe easier while promoting a strong, healthy immune system.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking beets, but still want to take full advantage of their immune-boosting benefits, check out our Organic Beets powder. Just one scoop offers the benefits of 4 whole beets — all you have to do is scoop and mix.
You’ve heard the message your whole life: “Eat your greens!” You know green vegetables are healthy, but what you may not know is how utterly essential they are for a healthy immune system.
Much like beets, leafy green vegetables are loaded with a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and nitrates your immune system depends on to function properly.
But the immune-boosting benefits of leafy green vegetables don’t stop there.
Green veggies contain unique compounds that stimulate the activity of specific types of immune cells housed in your skin and digestive tract3. Your skin and digestive system are part of your immune system’s first lines of defense. Ensuring that these organ systems have the tools they need to keep harmful pathogens from invading your body is imperative if your goal is to stay well.
There are a variety of green vegetables you can add to your diet to obtain these benefits. Spinach, kale, arugula, and broccoli are all great options to get started with.
Worried you’re not eating enough greens? Try our Super Greens powder to cover the gaps so you never have to wonder if you’re getting the most out of your diet.
When it comes to immunity, legumes are the ultimate nutritional powerhouse. The term “legume” refers to a group of foods which include beans, peas, and lentils.
They’re loaded with antioxidants and happen to be one of the richest sources of plant-based protein — two substances that are imperative for a healthy immune system4,5.
Protein is the basic building block of immune cells. Without adequate protein, your body cannot effectively regulate immune cell production which means you won’t be prepared to ward off harmful bacteria or viruses when they come your way5.
You can get protein from a variety of animal- and plant-based foods, but plant-based proteins, like legumes, offer a wider array of nutrients than most animal-based protein sources. Thus, even if you consume animal proteins, you can still benefit from including plant-based proteins in your diet, too.
You can easily get more legumes into your diet by adding black beans to a salad, incorporating lentils into a stew, or using hummus as a dip or spread.
If you don’t like legumes or simply don’t want to consume more of them, you can still add plenty of plant-based protein to your diet with our new Plant Protein powders. They’re made from protein sourced from yellow peas, brown rice, and lentils and come in three delicious flavors.
You’re probably well aware that a healthy digestive system is important for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from your food, but did you know that a large proportion of your immune system is actually housed within your digestive tract8?
This is exactly why gut health and immunity go hand in hand.
Probiotics are live, active cultures of bacteria found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
Research suggests that probiotics contribute to a healthy immune system by regulating the function of immune cells within your GI tract8. In fact, probiotics have shown therapeutic potential for treating and preventing various illnesses including allergies, eczema, and viral infections9.
Adding yogurt, or any other probiotic-rich food, to your diet is a great way to make sure you’re getting a steady supply of probiotics to keep your gut — and immune system — as healthy as possible.
For many people fermented foods may be a bit of an acquired taste. If you don’t enjoy consuming probiotics from whole foods you can still obtain the immune-boosting benefits from the probiotics included in our Super Greens powder.
Maintaining a strong immune system requires self care and diligence, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Eating a balanced diet, taking quality supplements, getting plenty of sleep, and practicing effective stress reduction techniques can all play a part in ensuring your immune system is the best it can be.