Eat your way to a strong immune system
This article was originally published in February 2014
Eat your way to a strong immune system with foods that naturally help protect and fight against cold and flu. Here are five foods that are immune superstars — incorporate them into your diet and aid your body in battle!
All forms of citrus are rich in vitamin C, which stimulates the production of white blood cells and helps to regenerate other antioxidants in the body, keeping your body’s natural defense system in peak shape. Eat vitamin C-rich foods throughout the day to keep your immune cells saturated with this antioxidant.
Garlic directly fights bacteria, viruses and fungi, supporting your hard-working immune system. To get the most from fresh garlic, finely chop/mince garlic and then let it aerate (sit on the cutting board or in a bowl) for 5 minutes. This allows an enzyme in the garlic to activate the garlic’s potent, immune-boosting molecules.
All of the yogurt at PCC (both dairy and nondairy) contains live, active bacteria, which are an essential part of your immune system. Probiotic bacteria can both fight off bad bacteria and also increase the function of your own immune defenses. These good bacteria are destroyed with heat, so always consume your probiotic foods raw for optimal benefit.
Regular consumption of tea is associated with a longer lifespan due to a wide range of health benefits. The antioxidant flavonoids in all forms of tea, especially green and white teas, support all body systems and can even help fight off the flu virus.
The amber color of honey is a result of natural antioxidants collected by bees, so darker-colored honey generally has higher levels of these compounds. Raw honey offers additional health benefits, especially for the immune system, as many of the compounds found in honey are lost after heated.
Favorite products from PCC for an additional boost
Used for generations to protect against infections, elderberry has properties that may “coat” virus cells, preventing those viruses from entering our body’s cells and causing illness.
Try: Nature’s Answer Sambucus; Herb Pharm Black Elderberry Glycerite
Current studies show the wide spectrum of antioxidants and other nutrients found in certain mushrooms protect our cells and activate the immune system.
Try: Host Defense MyCommunity Capsules or Extract; MycoShield Spray in Cinnamon or Peppermint
Many people in the Pacific Northwest are deficient in vitamin D, which is needed by receptors in our immune system to kick it into gear.
Try: Rainbow Light Sunny Gummies 1000 IU; PCC Vitamin D3 2000 IU
Probiotics are good bacteria. They not only feed the immune system but also crowd out the bad bacteria that can make us sick.
Try: Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care; Garden of Life Raw Probiotics for Women