One of the best ways to stay healthy is to adopt good habits that strengthen your immunity. That means getting enough sleep, exercising, washing your hands regularly, and eating well. Just because you’re eating delicious or tasty food doesn’t mean you’re eating healthily. During this time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs to bolster your immunity. While there is no miracle cure to prevent you from catching a virus like the flu or coronavirus, some foods may help to boost your immune system. A lot of these foods are packed with a ton of flavor and will soon become your go-to tasty recipes for flu season.
Nutrients and Foods that Boost Your Immune System
Changes in the seasons, stress, aging, and the environment can all take a toll on your immune system. This can leave your immune system feeling depleted. Certain foods can help strengthen a person’s immune response and help prevent cold and flu.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are considered the “good” bacteria in the gut. They encourage a balanced healthy gut microbiome. Probiotics may boost your immune system by stopping the growth of harmful bacteria. Probiotic foods include kombucha, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and yogurt. Include probiotic foods in your tasty recipes for an immune system boost.
Whether you’re trying to avoid getting sick or are already fighting the effects of a cold, water is an essential nutrient. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated is especially important during cold and flu season. Staying hydrated helps keep your immunity up. It also works to naturally eliminate toxins from the body that could build up and cause infection.
Eat lean protein foods and plant-based protein sources like chickpeas and lentils. Protein is essential to repairing and rebuilding the body. Things like antibodies and immune system cells in your body rely on protein. If you have too little protein in the body, it can result in feeling weak and poor immunity. If you need a boost, there are also many types of protein powder that you can quickly whip into a shake. No one food will magically fend off the flu. But there are a few powerhouse nutrients when it comes to immunity, and protein is one of them.
4. Vitamins And Minerals
Many people associate boosting immunity with vitamin C, and for a good reason. Vitamin C can help your body fight off infection. A lack of vitamin C can make you prone to getting sick. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, spinach, and kale. Other crucial vitamins and minerals for strengthening your immune system are vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, folic acid, iron, and selenium.
Although it’s always best to get your nutrients through your diet, vitamin supplements can help give you a boost if you’re struggling to hit your recommended daily intake.
Keep it Simple: Immune-Friendly and Tasty Recipes
The truth is, there is no one single food or recipe that’s going to boost your immunity. Instead, several complex factors contribute to immunity. Nutrition plays a crucial role in your health. It’s essential to look at your diet to make sure it provides all the nutrients your body needs to keep your immune system functioning correctly. By focusing on tasty recipes with plenty of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, you can help strengthen your immune systems naturally.
A smoothie is a quick and easy way to give your immune system a boost with tasty recipes that focus on frozen or seasonal fruits and veggies. Smoothie combinations are practically endless. Include immune-boosting foods like:
- Coconut oil
Simply mix all your ingredients in a smoothie maker or blender. Try adding seeds like chia seeds or flaxseeds for an extra crunch. I love this immune-boosting green smoothie from FoodieCrush.
Thanks to the onion, garlic, ginger, and turmeric, lentil dahl is perfect for supporting your immune system. The simple dish can pack a ton of flavor. Lentils are also a good source of protein. Depending on your spice tolerance, feel free to mix up the flavors. This recipe helps provide you with a base for your lentil dish.
- 1 cup of dried red lentils
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp ginger, grated
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pan on medium heat, add the vegetable oil.
- Add onions and ginger, and cook until the onions start to brown, roughly 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the spices and garlic and cook for a few more minutes.
- Next, add the lentils, coconut milk, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat.
- Cook for 20 minutes until the dhal becomes creamy.
Bone broth is a simple way to boost your immunity and provide your body with a ton of nutrients at the same time. Tasty recipes for bone broth are packed with amino acids, collagen, and minerals. Bone broth helps to heal the gut, which in turn strengthens the immune system. It’s easy and inexpensive to make. There are lots of different ways to make bone broth. Here is a simple recipe to get you started.
- Bones and carcass from one roasted chicken
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I love Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.)
- 12 cups of water
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Herbs and seasoning to taste
- Add the carcass and chicken bones to a large boiling pan. Top up with water and season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, herbs, and seasonings.
- Next, add the apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer.
- Cook for about 12 hours.
- Strain out the bones. Bone broth can be frozen for one to two months, or it keeps for about three days in the fridge.
Sauerkraut is chopped raw cabbage that’s fermented with lactic acid bacteria. It’s an excellent source of immune-boosting probiotics. The fermented dish may help to improve the balance of bacteria in your gut and boost your immune system by activating immune cells. Fermented foods are known to be good for you. Although you can buy it from the grocery store, it’s more cost-effective and healthier to make it yourself.
- Wide-mouth mason jar
- ½ of a medium head of white cabbage, no core
- 1 ½ tbsp salt
- Wash all your tools, hands, and equipment thoroughly before starting. You want to create a clean environment for friendly bacteria to thrive.
- Remove the coarse outer layers of the cabbage and discard. Cut the cabbage into quarters and then shred into fine pieces.
- Combine the cabbage and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Massage the salt into the cabbage for about 30 seconds, then leave it to sit in the bowl for up to five minutes. The bowl should contain liquid.
- Pour the cabbage and all the liquid into your mason jar. Fully submerge the cabbage into the liquid.
- Cover the jar with cheesecloth and an elastic band. This lets air flow in without allowing bacteria into the jar.
- Leave to ferment at room temperature for between three to seven days. In hotter weather, it can take around three or four days to ferment. The longer you leave it to ferment, the tangier it will be. When you’re happy with the taste, put it in the refrigerator with a tight-fitting lid. It should keep for up to two weeks.
How to Boost Your Immune System
Your immune system contains lots of different parts that work together to protect you. Generally, your immune system functions well when you live a healthy lifestyle. Tips for supporting your immunity are:
- Reduce stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
All the things that you know about how to get healthy also apply for your immune system. Although you still need to wash your hands regularly and follow good hygiene practices, it is crucial to adopt a healthy lifestyle and nutritional habits, too. By cooking up tasty recipes with the right nutrients, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly, you can give your body the fuel it needs to fight off illnesses and recover more quickly.