Regardless of the season, there is one thing that we are all able to personally control that makes a huge impact on the health of our immune systems and that is the food that we eat.
And with the holiday season just around the corner, now is a better time than ever to start taking extra care of ourselves by making smarter food choices.
As champions of immune health, we here at Del Immune wanted learn more about what foods are worth including in our diets to help our immune systems, and more specifically, what foods have the most immune-boosting properties. To do this, we asked 30 health experts to answer this question:
“What is the single best food you can eat to boost your immune system?”
We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice into this comprehensive guide for eating your way to a stronger immune system. See what our experts said below.
Meet Our Panel of Immune Health Experts:
Dr. Josh Axe
Dr. Josh Axe is a Certified Nutritionist and Co-Founder of the BurstFIT interval-training program, known as one of the fastest and most effective ways to burn body-fat. His online network featuring unique articles about controversial health topics and nutrition is buzzing with active users, and he often receives over 85 comments and 2k shares per article. He has been featured on Dr. Oz, NBC and FOX, and regularly hosts a program on CBS Nashville. He has worked with professional athletes and swimmers like Peter Vanderkaay, Ryan Lochte, Cullen Jones and Tyler Clary.
He is also the Author of “The Real Food Diet Cookbook,” “Superfood Super You,” and most recently the “Dr. Axe Detox.” All of his books combine the power of advanced nutrition with recipes, superfoods and cleansing to help people reach their optimum levels of health.Josh was most recently featured on Dr. Oz – covering the topic “Metabolism Death Foods.” Learn more about Dr. Axe’s work at DrAxe.com.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system are…
Foods high in Vitamin A, such as carrots, sweet potato, and kale.
Vitamin A also plays a role in maintaining strong bones, gene regulation, clear skin, cell differentiation, and immune function. It is found in two primary forms: beta carotene and active Vitamin A. Beta carotene, which is found primarily in plants, needs to be converted to active vitamin A in order to be utilized by the body. The RDA for vitamin A is 900mcg/day for men and 700mcg/day for women.
The current daily value is 5000 IU. Top three foods for keeping your immune system happy:
1 cup raw sliced: 21,384(over 100% DV)
2) Sweet potato
1 whole: 18,443 IU (over 100% DV)
1 cup, chopped: 6693 IU (over 100% DV)
Elizabeth Brown, MS, RD., also known as “The Kitchen Vixen“, is a Registered Dietitian & Personal Trainer, Certified Holistic Chef, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Weight Management Specialist with a personal and career emphasis in Sports Nutrition. Since 1998 she has conducted more than 100 live cooking demos and expert interviews on nationally syndicated stations such as CBS, ABC & NBC. She even appeared as a guest chef on the TBS show Dinner and a Movie. Most recently she’s been seen conducting live cooking demos for Fox News.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system is…
Yellow pepper, because it contains more vitamin C than any other whole, common food
For a mere 50 calories you get 341mg vitamin C. That’s 455% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) for women & 379% RDI for men.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin which means we don’t store it because it gets flushed out as we lose body fluids throughout the day. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant/ free radical scavenger & superhero of all fluid filled parts of the body; which means we need it everywhere & we need to replenish it DAILY
Vitamin C is essential for collagen formation & therefore wound healing. It helps with Iron absorption from plant sources of iron; & vitamin C even helps regenerate vitamin E, another antioxidant that protects the lipid parts of the body.
Yellow peppers also contain flavonoids; protective, free radical scavengers. As well as nearly 9g fiber for each large yellow pepper. Fiber helps push things through the GI tract, which may help keep potential immune suppressing elements from entering the body. Fiber also “feeds” our friendly gut bugs, which are there to protect us from harmful invaders.
All around, the yellow pepper is number one on my list of immune enhancing foods.
Peggy Kotsopoulos is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Vega’s spokesperson and culinary consultant focused on teaching real health through lifestyle and dietary choices that are easy and delicious. She obtained her RHN designation from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, completed her health educator certification from Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach Florida, graduated from Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in California, and founded beVibrant – a food-based wellness consultancy. For more information, visit www.peggyk.com.
The single best food to eat to help build up your immune system is…
Who knew delicious pizza-toppers could boost your immune system and prevent diseases such as cancer? All mushrooms are rich in beta glucans. Beta glucans are polysaccharides that can activate the immune system and prevent infections. They modulate white blood cells and keep them in a highly prepared state to attack any threat to our immune system. They are basically among the strongest immune-boosting compounds around.
They have strong anti-tumor properties, activate the immune system, and regulate disease-fighting white blood cells so that they’re ready to attack whatever comes their way. It’s kind of like a military boot-camp for immune cells.
Mushrooms are also rich in minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, and sterols that keep our immune system healthy and strong. They’re also one of the few foods that contain vitamin D. (However, because the amount of vitamin D in mushrooms is small relative to the daily-required intake, it’s still best to supplement.) In addition to their pathogen fighting power, mushrooms are also beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease. They help prevent white blood cells from building up and sticking to blood vessels in an inflamed environment, narrowing blood flow.
Some of the best and most potent include Agaricus Blazei Murill (ABM), Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi, White Button and Crimini. You can also find supplements that combine a variety of the mushroom extracts for greatest efficacy.
Darin J. Bunch
Darin J. Bunch, DAOM, L.Ac. is a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine who owns Pacific Bridge Wellness in Santa Barbara, CA. He is licensed in the states of Washington and California and is board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine and the California State Acupuncture Board. Prior to starting his practice in California, Dr. Bunch was a practitioner at the Seattle Cancer Treatment & Wellness Center where he conducted over 30,000 treatments to advanced-stage cancer patients during his ten years at the center. In 2010, he was awarded Top Doctor of Acupuncture (Oncology & Immunology) by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.
One of the best immune boosting foods you can eat is…
The reishi mushroom.
Revered in Eastern medicine as the “mushroom of immortality,” reishi tops the list of one of the most immune-boosting foods on the planet. Reishi and many mushrooms such as maitake, cordyceps, ganoderma, chaga and more contain polysaccharides and other phytonutrients thought to boost immunity.
Research with reishi shows specifically that the polysaccharide beta-1, 3-D-glucan boosts the immune system by raising the amount of macrophages T-cells. The best thing of all is that you do not need to go see a doctor and get a prescription—you can cook with it tonight!
Heather Hemmer is a C.H.E.K Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach, licensed massage therapist & fitness trainer living in San Diego, California. Heather is also the creator of The 30 Clean – A community driven challenge that encourages 30 days of Real Food for Real People. She works both locally as well as internationally to help reach as many people as possible to make real life changes.
The single best food to eat to build the immune system is…
Chicken Bone Broth – The single best food to boost your immune system!
Chicken Soup is not just for the soul and if your grandma used to cook the whole chicken, feet and all, well, she had it right. This gelatinous brew packs a powerful punch of immune boosting nutrients like amino acids: arginine, proline, glycine, and glutamine. In a University of Nebraska Medical Center study, these amino acids were found to reduce inflammation in the respiratory system and improve digestion. Gelatin and collagen can heal autoimmune disorders, prevent bone loss, and build healthy skin, hair, and nails..
Not all Bone Broths are created equal though; the boxed soups found in the grocery store use high heat for fast cooking, which does not release the gelatin’s healing prowess.
Easy Chicken Bone Broth Recipe
1 whole pasture raised chicken (neck, back, wings, feet…)
4 quarts cold filtered water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 bunch parsley
Add lots of spicy pepper to help combat a cold. Spicy peppers release watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs to help your body expel that mucus.
1. Fill up a large stockpot filtered water.
2. Add vinegar and all vegetables except parsley to the water.
3. Place the whole chicken into the pot.
4. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer for 12-24 hours. After 2 hours remove the chicken from the pot, separate the meat from the bones, and place the carcass back in the pot to continue simmering for 10-22 hours.
6. Add the fresh parsley about 10 minutes before finishing the stock.
7. Remove the remaining bones with a slotted spoon to strain out any remaining bone fragments.
Amy Riolo is an Award-Winning Author, Chef, Television Personality, Cuisine and Culture Expert, and Mediterranean Diet Advocate. Amy has created menus, dinners, and culinary ceremonies for diplomats and world leaders, earning her the title “The Cook to the Kings” in 2008. She makes frequent appearances on numerous television and radio programs both in the United States and abroad, including Fox TV, CBS, The Travel Channel, Martha Stewart Living Radio, among many others and her work has also appeared in numerous print media including USA Today, Cooking Light magazine, The Washington Post,CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, Gulf News, Popular Anthropology Magazine, The UAE National, and international newspapers and hundreds of blogs. Learn more about Amy and her work at Amyriolo.com.
One food that is extremely effective in boosting immunity is…
Good quality olive oil. Various studies have shown that olive oil or an olive oil–rich diet:
- can protect against malignant tumors
- reduces the risk of breast, colon, and bowel cancer and the incidence of melanoma
- prevents the formation of blood clots and lowers the levels of total blood cholesterol (believed to be responsible for the low incidence of heart problems in countries where olive oil is the main cooking fat)
- boosts the immune system against the negative effects of toxins, microorganisms, parasites, and other foreign substances
- can improve calcium absorption in the body and prevent osteoporosis
- may prevent memory loss in healthy elderly people
- may lead to less risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
Antioxidants such as vitamin E, carotenoids, and phenols (known for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects) are found in olive oil. It’s important to note, however, that the amount of antioxidants in olive oils varies according to the climate where the olives are raised, when the olives are harvested, how ripe they are when they are picked, and how the oil is produced and stored.
Antioxidants are important in the prevention of aging. Oxidation refers to the complex manner in which cells age. Cells in those following olive oil–rich diets have been proven to be stronger and more resistant to oxidation, and therefore age more slowly. The Mediterranean diet’s positive effect on longevity is accredited to its high antioxidant content. Virgin olive oil (olive oil that has not been refined or industrially treated) is particularly rich in antioxidants, which protects against damage from free radicals and against the formation of cancer. The body’s overall ease in digestion and absorption of olive oil, as well as the need for its many nutrients, make it an ideal cooking ingredient and traditional medicinal.
Will Dean and Alexandra Pony
Olympic Rower Will Dean and Nutrition Consultant Alexandra Pony are Lifeology. With a passion for traditional, nourishing diets Will and Alexandra lead cooking and fermentation classes along with nutrition consultations to help educate the community on what health and wellness truly is.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system is…
Sauerkraut, the raw, unpasteurized version.
Sauerkraut is incredible at boosting the immune system. Any naturally fermented food is. The beneficial bacteria that proliferates in lacto-fermented foods help boost one’s immunity by being rich in:
– Probiotics: Probiotics are essential for gut health. Ideally, our large intestine is comprised of 70% bacteria (e.g., probiotics) and 30% yeast (e.g., candida); however, with America’s current diet and antibiotic intake, our beneficial bacteria is largely comprised. With refined sugars and refined grains, we are seeing a larger percentage of yeasts and a smaller percentage of bacteria. This compromises the immune system. (Great news though, eating lacto-fermented sauerkraut really helps bring the intestine back into balance!).
– Rich in B vitamins, specifically B12, which is very hard to come by for vegans/vegetarians
– Rich in Vitamin C – commonly known for boosting immunity and fighting off colds. Explorer James Cook took sauerkraut on his long voyages and his crew was the only ones who did not suffer from scurvy.
Sauerkraut has a myriad of other health benefits (intestinal regeneration, bloating, gut health, candida resistance, lethargy, etc. etc.). Specifically sauerkraut mostly comprised of cabbage has great anti-cancerous benefits as all cruciferous (or brassica) veggies do.
Brandon Mentore is a Strength and Conditioning Coach, Sports Nutritionist and Functional Medicine Practitioner at Brandon’s BodyLogic. He’s appeared in multiple publications in print and online such as Livestrong, Shape and CNN to name a few. His passion for health and fitness keeps him constantly studying and staying abreast of the latest information on human health and performance. Learn more about Brandon and connect with him via LinkedIn.
The single best food that you can eat for immunity is hands down…
Coconut oil has anti-microbial, anti-viral and antibacterial properties. It can be used topically and internally for medicinal purposes. The immune system is an expensive system to run in the body and it can overheat if it becomes hyperactive. Coconut oil can help prevent the immune system from overheating by two different methods.
First medium chain triglycerides which constitutes about half of the type of lipids in coconut oil are available to be used immediately for energy in metabolism as well as brain metabolism. Medium chain triglycerides feed energy to the immune system similar to continuous water being supplied to firefighters dealing with a house ablaze.
The other mechanism that assists the immune system is that coconut oil stimulates the thyroid gland directly and the thyroid is similar to an air traffic controller and adjusts the knobs on the immune systems function. Most of the diseases of the thyroid such as Graves, Hashimoto’s and more result from an overloaded thyroid that can’t effectively modulate metabolic processes in the body. Coconut oil helps to prop up thyroid function in the presence of challenges to your immune system.
Rene Ficek is a Registered Dietitian who is also the Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating (SSHE). Ficek oversees various aspects of menu development, ensuring each SSHE meal complies with USDA and FDA “healthy regulation guidelines.” In addition, she educates management staff on specialized “diets,” researches and implements new nutrition guidelines and provides nutrition education to clients. Rene has been featured in Today’s Dietitian, on LiveStrong.com and SheKnows.com, and on FOX-TV, WGN America, CBS Chicago and You & Me This Morning.
The single best immune boosting food you can eat is…
Yogurt and Kefir.
“The road to good health is paved in good intestines.” This couldn’t be more true! The digestive tract is one of the biggest immune organs. Friendly bacteria have a powerful, beneficial effect on your gut’s immune system, your first line of defense against pathogens, and aid in the production of antibodies.
Probiotics, or the “live active cultures” found in yogurt and kefir, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.
Live strains of these “good bacteria” are found in many yogurt products. And kefir, similar to yogurt, is one of the most healthful fermented foods. Kefir is an ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food full of friendly microorganisms that balance your “inner ecosystem” and strengthen immunity
Caroline Jhingory, MSW is an Author, Speaker and Health & Wellness Expert. She has used her own body as a litmus test for what it takes to naturally lose 150 pounds; and keep the weight off for a decade. As an experienced and dynamic speaker, Caroline often speaks for schools, corporate meetings, health seminars and churches to address a number of health topics. Learn more about Caroline and her work at www.CarolineJhingory.com.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system is…
One spoon of liquid cod liver oil.
I have been following the regimen learned from my Guyanese grandfather since childhood.
Kurt Johnson is a Fitness & Nutrition Expert based in LA and Founder of the website Swollforlife.com.
In my opinion is the best food you can eat to help boost your immune system is…
This can be oranges, grapefruits, etc. They have highly concentrated levels of Vitamin C, which as we all know has been shown to help prevent and reduce the symptoms of a cold. They are also rich in antioxidants which will help keep you from getting sick in the first place.
Be careful with commercial juice varieties of these citrus fruits though, as many times those contain lots of artificial ingredients and little of the actual fruit that will help out your immune system.
Nancy Guberti is a Functional Medicine Metabolic Specialist, Certified Nutritionist, GFCF Diet Counselor, Bio-Medical Detective, Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Defeat Autism Now Practitioner and Corporate Wellness Motivational Speaker. Nancy’s passionate journey on how she got involved in Functional Medicine and Biomedical Interventions started when her youngest son developed food allergies, liver issues and was not reaching his childhood milestones. Every day was a struggle. Fast forward, nothing short of a miracle, she applies her research and knowledge along with the functional medicine lab work to create customized regimes for her clients. Nancy’s mission is to assist others with healing. Learn more about Nancy and her work at NancyGuberti.com.
The #1 food you can eat to build up your immune system is…
Garlic is a potent antiviral, antibacterial and acts like an antibiotic against fungal infections, bacteria and viruses. Allicin is one of garlic’s sulfur compounds and exhibits antibacterial activity against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria including e-coli; also has anti-fungal activity against candida albicans, anti-parasitic activity including human intestinal protozoan parasites and giardia lamblia as well as antiviral activity.
You can eat this raw at the onset of symptoms or boost one’s immune system by taking it daily in the form of capsules. I like to chop up a few garlic cloves and add to homemade chicken broth for an infused immune boosting drink.
Eaten fresh, dried, powdered or cooked, the benefits of garlic to boost one’s immune system, enhance endurance and strength, has long been documented.
Additionally, garlic is a source of selenium, manganese, vitamin B6, Vitamin C, cooper, phosphorus, calcium, and Vitamin B1.
Dylan Stein is a licensed acupuncturist in New York and nationally certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine. In addition to acupuncture, Dylan makes herbal and dietary recommendations according to Chinese medicine philosophy. He practices in midtown Manhattan at Dylan Stein Acupuncture.
My favorite immune boosting food is…
They’re easy to cook with, flavorful, and readily available in supermarkets, either in the produce aisle or freezer case. You can cook the tops and add them to basically any dish and then save the stems for use in soup stocks. In addition to lending a nutty, rich flavor to foods, shiitake mushrooms have been shown to benefit the cardiovascular system, activate the immune system for fighting viruses, bacteria and even cancer, and may help strengthen the teeth. Shiitake mushrooms are rich in iron and copper too, and some say the iron in shiitake is more readily available to the body than other forms of iron.
Courtney Berlin is a Certified Health Coach and Founder of Fit Girls Eat Burgers, a health and wellness based business that teaches busy people how to define healthy eating and active lifestyles.
The single best food you can eat to strengthen your immune system is…
Why? Because it really isn’t a food in my book, it is a plant, a food, an herb, a medicine, and almost a vitamin. I use it in my recipes because of gingerol which gives it that familiar zing. Gingerol gives the food its spice and heat.
Chop fresh ginger and use in salads, dressings, soups, grate and use in cookies, oatmeal, homemade breads, cakes or marinades. Make a fruit crisp in the oven and either chop or grate ginger onto your cobbler or crisp. This plant can be used in anything from sweet to savory. Since that covers the spectrum of tastes we enjoy and the kind of foods, from breakfast to dinner and all in between you could use it in everything. Ginger is used in herbal remedies too for fighting colds and flu.
Do you have a little one on the way? Ginger has been around as a natural ingredient to curb nausea. What about high cholesterol? Studies have shown that it can help lower your cholesterol levels as well.
What about high sugar levels? It registers very low on the glycemic index and when concerned with calories you can chop it up for a ton of flavor with only five calories per tablespoon. The possibilities are endless and can be used with each and every meal should you choose. It delivers no fat and some micronutrients that we are always in need of.
Charmaine Jones, RDN LDN is a Food & Nutrition expert and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in the District of Columbia Metropolitan Area. Charmaine is passionate about teaching diverse communities about healthier eating options and wellness and currently serves as a nutrition counselor at the Providence Hospital located in Washington, DC. She has facilitated over a dozen of nutrition and wellness seminars at DC middle and junior high schools, local government agencies, churches and community centers. She loves to share simple nutrition and wellness messages through her interactive nutrition blog, Food Jonezi. She is the creator of “Cute & Healthy” and “Handsome & Healthy” T-shirt.
One thing to add to your diet that is a great way of boosting your immune system is…
Probiotics are nature’s antibiotics that can modify and balance gut bacteria byreplacing the “harmful microbes” with “useful microbes.” These “useful microbes” living in our gutoffer great benefits to our health by actually preventing us from developing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, gastrointestinal disturbances, and importantly increases the immunity antibody Immunoglobin A (IgA), which serves as the body first line of defense against colds, allergies, and other pathogens that invades the body.
So, eating an 8oz of low-fat plain yogurt for breakfast, or adding 4oz of kefir to a fruit yogurt, or sprinkling 1 oz of your favorite fermented or aged cheese (Gouda, Cheddar cheese, Swiss ) to salads could definitely boot your immune system by creating a healthier gut and you! If your gut bacteria do not agree with dairy products, try adding these healthy non-dairy fermented products to your diet: pickles, low-sodium sauerkraut, salsa, ketchup, vinegar, tempeh or soy, just to name a few.
Diana Sugiuchi, RDN/LDN, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Licensed Nutritionist, and American College of Sports Medicine Health Fitness Specialist (ACSM-HFS). She is also the Founder of Nourish, a provider of specialized health counseling services, where she helps individuals and families to eat healthier every day, through one-on-one nutrition counseling in person or by phone.
When it comes to the best immune-boosting foods, the best way to boost your immune system is to make sure you are eating enough…
Our bodies need plenty of protein in order to keep immunity working well. At breakfast, eggs or Greek yogurt are good options. If you eat oatmeal, try making it with milk or soymilk for a protein boost. If you eat salad at lunch, try adding some grilled chicken breast or beans. It can be difficult to get in protein at snacks, but adding it will not only help your immune system but also keep you feeling more full. Try things like nuts, string cheese, cottage cheese or edamame.
Emmanuelle Galland, aka “Emma” is an Author, Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach, and Co-Owner of Goji Fitness, a holistic wellness company. Emmanuelle was formerly a director in a global management consulting firm for 15 years, traveling weekly for business and working around the clock, when she was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. She healed herself through a food and lifestyle makeover and today, she helps others boost their immune systems to thrive in their workplaces. To share her message with more people, Emmanuelle authored a book called “Feeding Success: A Nutrition Blueprint for Busy Professionals and Business Travelers”, which outlines her 5 milestones approach to holistic health: Goal-Directed Nutrition.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system, and what I advise many of my clients to eat, is…
The Dark Leafy Greens.
Eaten in large enough quantity daily, the dark leafy greens will build your internal rainforest. They are the most nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying foods on the planet. The greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and fiber.
By integrating my advice, my clients immune systems have gotten stronger, they experience fewer colds in the winter and, for many, no longer experience allergies in the spring.
Dr. Jennifer Burns
Dr. Jennifer Burns is a Holistic Family Practitioner and the Founder of The Bienetre Center, a naturopathic clinic specializing in gut issues such as Irritable Bowel Disease, Natural Hormone Replacement, MMJ Certifications, Adrenal Fatigue, IV Nutrients. She is a published researcher in alternative medicine, and periodically writes articles on various health topics, giving seminars to other physicians and to the public. Jennifer recently became a member of the Arbinger Professional Network.
There is no one single food for helping to boost the immune system. There are a variety of foods that can help boost the immune system. Having these foods work in synergy with each other is what is going to give the person a better immune system:
Green Chile has higher vitamin C count then orange juice. Vitamin D is in mushrooms which help to boost the immune system. Staying away from phlegm causing foods like cow’s milk, high sugar foods, and some juices also help to boost the immune system.
As people, our insides are a complex system there is no one thing going on at a time but multiple things going on inside the body. It takes a multiple approach to help with the immune system.
Dr. Chad Laurence
Dr. Chad Laurence is a Chiropractic Doctor and is one of less than 500 doctors world wide to be recognized as a distinguished fellow of Chiropractic Biophysics. His practice focuses on structural correction of the spine, nutrition, massage therapy, family care, and pediatrics as well as support after personal injury and auto accidents. He is a prominent speaker and writer, and he has been voted Best Chiropractor of Delaware by numerous publications. His practice is located near Wilmington, Delaware and Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, at Corrective Chiropractic.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system is…
Oddly shaped, and with a distinctive flavor, this “wonder root” is an excellent dietary addition because it includes varying amounts of magnesium, manganese, potassium, and vitamins B6, C, and E. Besides being loaded with anti-inflammatory properties, ginger root offers a variety of other health benefits. Some studies indicate it is an aid to digestion, is beneficial both to cholesterol levels and blood pressure, helps with arthritis, and even aids nausea. It is quite a versatile root to boot!
Ginger can be incorporated into countless recipes and should be included in your regular diet. Several studies have investigated the health benefits of ginger. The advantages range from decreased joint inflammation and arthritis to help with nausea, athlete’s foot, heart disease, lowered cholesterol, and better circulation.
Ever get bloated? Ginger may be the answer. Many people take the strange-looking stem in some form to help with their digestion. Ginger has also been shown to be anti-viral, making it a great support for your immune system during periods of increased risk of common colds and flu. It helps to reduce muscle spasms, and some women take ginger for menstrual cramping. Ginger is also an aid in managing fevers, bronchitis, respiratory symptoms, and headaches.
Feel dizzy during a ride on an airplane or while traveling on a cruise? The characteristics of ginger have even been shown to help people with motion sickness. In our practice, we have seen the most success when ginger is used to assist with digestive, bowel, and gastrointestinal issues, stomach cramping, and arthritis of the fingers.
For many of our pregnant patients ginger has provided relief from their symptoms of nausea. Some individuals choose ginger in place of pain relievers. Ginger also benefits healing in cases of skin wounds, aiding in the decrease of pus and infected areas. Note that ginger is contraindicated for people with gallstones and gastric/peptic ulcers and should not be used by them.
During a recent symposium hosted by the American Association of Cancer Research, a particular study demonstrated that ginger suppressed cancer cells and cleansed the body of toxins. Although more research is needed, the documented curative effects of ginger are welcome news.
Tina Chan is the Founder and CEO of powbab, a company that makes an antioxidant immunity supplement with baobab superfruit. Tina was working in the investment world in corporate development and private equity and loved dancing ballet and training for triathlons on the side. However, in 2009, she suffered from a personal injury to her legs that severely worsened after a doctor gave her medicine and shots, resulting in major side effects. For some time, she was on crutches and in a wheel chair, seeking therapy and hoping that one day she would heal. The outcome was uncertain, and many times bleak. Recovery took over a year and half, and through that time, she discovered baobab.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immunity, which has worked for me personally, is…
We use the fruit to make into our original baobab superfruit chews®.
Baobab fruit has higher antioxidants than acai berry, goji berry. Is very high in Vitamin C (ours contains 20% vitamin C in just two teaspoons). Baobab is 50% fiber and contains electolyte potassium, magnesium, calcium, thiamin and Vitamin B6. Our powbab® baobab superfruit chews® deliver 100% of your antioxidant needs as well as Vitamins C, E & A. They will boost your immunity; take just 1 chew a day.
Susan Smith Jones
Susan Smith Jones , MS, PhD, is the founder & president of Brentwood, Calif.-based Health Unlimited. She is the author of 25 books including Natural Stress Solutions, The Joy Factor, Walking on Air and Recipes for Health Bliss and has not had a cold or the flu in nearly 30 years. Learn more about Susan and her work at SusanSmithJones.com.
The best food to boost the immune system is…
The original superfood: Spirulina.
Spirulina is a microalgae grown on the Kona coast of Hawaii and has the highest nutrient content of any known food. Just a teaspoon of powder, equal to a three gram of serving, added to your favorite green smoothie or yogurt, will supercharge your immune system.
In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Cellular & Molecular Immunology conducted by researchers at UC Davis found that daily consumption of spirulina increased white blood cell counts, which are the frontline soldiers of the immune system, especially in older adults.
Dr. Daria M. Brezinski
Dr. Daria M. Brezinski is Executive Director of What Wize Women Want, Inc that Encourages Women’s Voices to Make Informed Choices. As an advocate and counselor, she assists clients to navigate through lifetime issues, the education, health, legal and financial mazes as well as teaches and coaches from a holistic perspective. Besides her private clientele, her business accomplishments include a holistic health center (Life Creations) and the first environmentally friendly wholesale/retail store (Earthwise: A Green Store). Dr. Brezinski is the host of her radio program, Children Come First. As president of Integrated Learning Systems®, she designed a new educational infrastructure implemented at Holma College in Höör, Sweden where she was president. Learn more about Dr. Brezinski’s work at DocDaria.com.
The single best food to support immune health:
WATER: clean, pure, high PH and no chlorine AND lots of it! 100 ounces a day! The majority of the population suffers from dehydration that leads to inflammation, diseases, etc.
Jane Cookman Metzger
Jane Cookman Metzger is an herbalist and the Course Development Director at the Herbal Academy of New England. Long fascinated and inspired by plant medicine, gardening, nourishing food, and homemade remedies, Jane embarked on formal herbalism training and has found her bliss connecting with plants and bringing their nourishment and medicine into daily life.
The best food to boost your immune system is…
What may be a stinging nuisance to some is a most beloved plant to those who know the importance of deep nourishment for maintaining optimum health and immunity. Nettles is a quintessential nourishing herbal tonic rich in vitamins (A, C, E, and K), minerals (calcium, magnesium, silica, and iron), amino acids, protein, and chlorophyll. Eat the spring-gathered leaves like spinach, steep the fresh or dried leaves in boiling water to make a nourishing herbal infusion, or sprinkle the dried seeds on food.
Nettle nourishes, strengthens, and energizes the whole body, maintains even blood sugar levels, boosts energy and relieves deep-seated fatigue, and assists the body in nutrient and protein assimilation. Nettle strengthens the immune system two ways: as a deep immune tonic, supporting immune function so the system does not become overtaxed; and by supporting the blood, kidneys and urinary system in detoxifying the body through elimination of toxins and waste. Nettle leaf and seed are deeply nourishing to the adrenals, supporting optimum function and counteracting daily physical and emotional stresses that would otherwise take their toll on the immune system.
So let food be thy medicine! Enjoy nettles daily to nourish yourself deeply so your body is ready for whatever life throws your way.
Sara Jespersen is a nationally accredited and acclaimed Fitness and Nutrition expert, and also the Founder, Program Director and Trainer for Trumi, a 12-week program that coaches wellness to men, women and children throughout the country. She is an ACE® Fitness Certified Personal Trainer with specialties in kickboxing, boot camp direction, yoga, cycling and sports conditioning. In addition to owning multiple Anytime Fitness franchises, Sara and her husband co-founded Wellbeats, an automated group exercise program available at thousands of fitness facilities throughout the world, where Sara also serves as a Specialized Instructor. In addition to her roles with Anytime Fitness and Wellbeats, Sara’s passion has been developing a lifestyle-focused transformation program, which has grown from a boot camp in her basement to one of the country’s fastest-growing fitness franchises, Trumi.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system is…
Yes, I’m talking about the foods that are indeed just about rotten but not quite – ew! You know like the rotten tea called Kombucha. Most of you don’t know it by name, but you would recognize it…the dirty looking liquid with globs of mucus-looking things floating around in it. Hard to believe that could actually help you, but it does. Friendly good bacteria abound in fermented foods.
That bacteria goes right to the gut and has a powerful effect on your guts immune system. The dark dingy unlikely place where everything gets digested is the first line of defense against pathogens and will aid in the production of antibodies. Try one, you may just fall in love, and if you don’t your digestive system will.
My faves, besides my daily addiction mentioned earlier, include plain kefir (not the sugar loaded crap – that will cause the opposite effect), plain yogurt, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut and olives. How much you wonder? Glad you asked, a little each day around a half cup of kefir or Kombucha is a good start!
Alexander J. Rinehart
Alexander J. Rinehart, DC, MS, CNS, is a Chiropractor and board-certified Clinical Nutritionist in Arizona with a focus in functional medicine. His expertise is in the use of foods, herbs, and supplements to support autoimmune and digestive health. He practices at the AZ Nutrition Center in Goodyear, AZ and blogs at DrAlexRinehart.com. His background is in health psychology & behavior, sociology of health and illness, as well as the health benefits of coconut.
The single best food you can eat to boost your immune system is…
Coconut fat is rich in the medium chain triglyceride known as lauric acid. Lauric acid converts to the monoglyceride monolaurin in the body which is active against specific viruses, bacteria, fungi and molds – without disrupting our healthy flora. It helps maintain bacteria and yeast balance in the body – ultimately modulating our immune response.
While 50% of coconut oil is comprised by lauric acid, monolaurin was actually first discovered in breast milk. Monolaurin is one of nature’s earliest, and safest ways for promoting immunity and gut health. Ancient Egyptians actually used expressed breastmilk as eye-drops for eye infections. While mother’s milk can be comprised by 3-10%+ lauric acid, we later found in the 1960’s that coconut oil was the best source of lauric acid.
Christina Major is a Holistic Nutritionist, Herbalist, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, professional health and nutrition speaker, and the Health Recovery Expert of CrystalHolisticHealth.com. She transforms her clients using foods, herbs, and alternative medicines from sufferers of problems and diseases, like Type 2 Diabetes, High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure, to having health freedom by gaining energy, eliminating medication, losing weight, feeling great, being free from digestive problems, and being happy. She was featured as the National Association of Professional Women, VIP Woman of the Year 2010 and speaks both locally and nationally through dozens of live events and teleseminars, sharing the wealth of healthy living.
You can’t boost your immune system with a single herb, food, or drug; we just don’t work that way. In fact, we will hurt ourselves in the long run by trying. It is irresponsible to take one pill and expect it to cover a lifetime of bad choices. If I had to choose a few that are especially effective for immune boosting, they would be…
Echinacea is a wonderful plant that can boost the immune system for a brief period. If you take it for more than 2 weeks, you can start repressing the immune system, destroy healthy gut bacteria, depress endocrine function and moods, and begin to alter brain chemistry.
Garlic and onion
Garlic and onion are good foods to eat as they are both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Eating them with other healthy fruits and vegetables is the best way to get them. But, if you ate them in the amounts necessary to kill something like the entrovirus, nobody will want to get close – you will stick!
Our immune system works without our whole body. We need a good foundation of all the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. We need healthy fats and proteins to build healthy tissues. We require only low amounts of carbohydrate. High amounts of carbs and any added or artificial sugars depress the immune system.
A healthy diet will do more for your health and immune system than any one ‘miracle’ food.
Lisa Mittry, CNC, CPT is the Director of Nutrition of VeraVia, an all-inclusive luxury health and wellness retreat providing guests with scientific-based evidence coupled with intuitive and experiential counseling. With a passion for wellness and a love for people, Lisa has dedicated her life to weight management, chronic health disorders, nutraceuticals, and optimal health through nutrition and lifestyle.
The first things that comes to mind for most people to boost an immune system is usually foods high in vitamin C however, that would not be my first choice. A healthy immune system requires a variety of nutrients, and antioxidants that are derived from food to function optimally. And though there is definitely a superstar that would top my list, there is a caveat…
First, it should be known that an upwards of 85% of our immune system lies in our gut. The gut flora houses over 500 species of beneficial bacteria outnumbering our body cells by ten times! We need our guts to stay populated with these beneficial bacteria to keep a balanced immune system however, in a world of highly processed, and genetically modified foods, stressful lifestyles, and not enough rest, we are killing off those beneficial bacteria, thus compromising our immune response.
So how do we protect and repopulate our gut flora?
This can be achieved by consuming potent and effective sources of probiotics. Taking a high quality daily probiotic along with the consumption of naturally fermented, unprocessed foods as part of a healthy organic diet rich in greens, is highly beneficial to optimal gut health. Now that your gut is healthy, it can absorb all those nutrients needed for a healthy immune system.
So, who was a superstar at the top of my list? Organic Grass-fed Whey Protein.
Whey protein can help fight off colds and flu because it contains beta-glucans and immunoglobulins, which protect our immune system and support our body’s natural detoxification process, as well as boost our master antioxidant Glutathione. So get that gut healthy so you can absorb all those powerful nutrients and antioxidants for a healthy, well balanced immune system.
Colin M Darretta
Colin M. Darretta is the CEO and Founder of WellPath Solutions, the first company to offer truly customized nutritional supplements. The nutritional supplement industry, as it functions today, fundamentally ignores that every person is different and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. Outside of broad categorizations – muscle gain, weight loss, energy, etc. – they make little distinction between individuals. WellPath leverages technological expertise alongside deep nutritional knowledge and
up-to-date research to enable the WellPath Solution to intelligently and responsively design nutritional supplements suited to unique needs and goals.
In spite of the fact that we sell nutritional supplements, we always encourage people to focus on their diet first – the supplements are there to supplement an already healthy diet. With that being said, the champion of immune boosting foods (and general health, to be even broader) is…
The simple egg.
And not just egg whites, but the whole egg. Why? A handful of reasons.
First, the protein in whole eggs has a BV of 100 – outside of the filtered sort of proteins you get in supplements this is the highest you’ll find in whole food. Second, the yolk in eggs is effectively nature’s multivitamin – it is loaded with Vitamin A, Folate, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2, Phosphorous, Selenium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Choline, Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Zinc. Lastly, the cholesterol in eggs has increasingly been shown to be helpful at promoting the production of hormones that help the body maintain lean muscle and actually improve your ratio of good cholesterol to bad.
It is important to understand that a healthy immune system depends on more than a single vitamin or mineral – it’s about ensuring that your body has enough of all the key vitamins and minerals that enable your body’s many processes to work in concert with one another. A couple eggs a day goes a long way toward ensuring that.
Mauree Kai CHHC, BEP, is an Author, Holistic Health Coach, and a bioenergetic practitioner in Pottstown, PA. She has dedicated her life to providing a whole body healing approach, supporting people in restoring their health and transforming their lives. In addition to providing health coaching, Mauree offers safe, holistic, natural approaches to facilitate healing in the body. She is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Learn more about Mauree and her work at www.MaureeKai.com.
I believe the single best whole food you can eat to boost your immune system is…
Chlorella is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and polysaccharides. Chlorella contains more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant source. It is known for its powerful detoxifying properties but that is not all it is good for.
Chlorella supports the functions of the liver, which is responsible for detoxifying our bodies on a daily basis. It is difficult to maintain a strong immune system if the liver is not functioning properly or our cells our loaded down with toxins.
Chlorella provides a lot of support for the immune system as well as regeneration and rejuvenation of the entire body. In individuals with suppressed immune systems from long standing illness or chemotherapy treatments,, chlorella accelerates the development of new immune cells and restores the population of white cells, especially in an area of infection.
Chlorella can also increase the body’s resistance to viral infections and support the immune system in killing off bacteria. Over 70 % of our immune system is in the gut. Chlorella absorbs toxins from the intestines and assists in the elimination of them. It also supports the production of healthy flora in the colon.
When chlorella is taken internally it boosts the immune system, fights free-radical damage, accelerates the growth of healthy tissue in the body, and builds flora in the intestines. Rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, and healing properties, chlorella not only boosts the immune system, but it also supports the body in maintaining its resiliency against infection and disease.