Food for Immune System Booster: 5 Foods That Strengthen Your Immune System
In this unprecedented global pandemic, you may be wondering what you can do to naturally strengthen your immune system.
Did you know that you can use food for an immune system booster? Several nutrition-packed foods may help bolster your natural immunity, making it easier for your body to ward off harmful bacteria or viruses.
Although eating these foods can’t prevent COVID-19 or any other disease, they are rich in compounds that can naturally give your immune system a boost.
Here are 5 foods you can eat as immune system boosters.
Mushrooms have earned their status as a superfood. They have adaptogenic and nootropic properties, meaning they may help boost your brain function and your overall wellness.
In addition, they have several potentially immune-boosting properties as well. Mushrooms contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants, which can help ward off unstable free radical compounds and reverse some of the cellular damage caused by these compounds. They are also rich in vitamin D, which plays a key role in immune health (1).
In fact, one high-quality 4-week study of 52 adults found that eating 5-10 grams of shiitake mushrooms daily resulted in increased immune cell production and decreased inflammation (2).
Mushrooms can be added to a variety of dishes, but they’re excellent in stir-fries, salads, and soups. They can also be used as a meat substitute if you’re following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
If you dislike the taste of mushrooms, you could try using a mushroom powder, like Nourishing Nutrients Superfood 10. It's made from 10 different types of organic mushrooms and can be added to coffee or other drinks, allowing you to get the benefits of mushrooms even if you dislike the taste.
2. Sea Moss
Sea moss, or Irish moss, is a type of red algae that grows on rocks on the coasts of Europe, North American, and the Caribbean Islands.
It’s rich in minerals that may help boost your immune health, like potassium and iodine.
Iodine is an essential mineral found in sea moss. It’s an essential component of your thyroid hormones and helps regulate thyroid health. It’s also a potent antioxidant, meaning it can help prevent and reverse some of the cellular damage caused by free radicals (5).
Potassium, another mineral, may help regulate the body’s resistance to tumor growth. However, more research is needed regarding this possibility (6).
Sea moss also contains a number of other compounds that may help your immune system, like antioxidants and vitamins.
Sea moss is used in some Irish and Jamaican recipes, but most people choose to supplement with it instead of eat it. It’s can be added to foods, drinks, or smoothies, or taken alone. To reap some of the benefits of sea moss, you can try a sea moss supplement.
3. Bone Broth
Bone broth is a broth made from the bones of animals—usually chicken, pork, or beef bones. Unlike a regular soup stock, bone broth is cooked slowly—allowing all of the compounds found in the bone to infuse into the broth. The result is a rich, deep-flavored broth that is packed with nutrition.
Bone broth contains collagen, a type of protein found in your skin and connective tissues that can help promote healing (7).
It also contains three key amino acids—or building blocks of protein—that may boost immune health: arginine, glutamine, and cysteine. Glutamine in particular appears to increase the proliferation of immune cells, potentially promoting a stronger immune response to perceived threats (8, 9).
Finally, research may even support the idea that chicken soup can help when you’re sick. Homemade chicken soup is typically made from a broth using simmered chicken bones, so it provides some of the same benefits as bone broth. Homemade chicken soup may help you get over a cold faster and, according to a study from the 1970s, improve nasal congestion (10, 11).
You can buy bone broth at most stores or make it yourself using the leftover bones from meat you cook.
4. Black garlic
Black garlic is a type of aged garlic that’s bursting with flavor. It’s also long been used in traditional medicine. The strictly-regulated aging process that it goes through over weeks or months caramelizes the natural sugars found in the garlic, turning it black and giving it a sticky texture and milder, sweeter flavor than raw garlic.
Black garlic contains a compound called allicin, which provides many of its potentially immune-boosting benefits. Allicin is antimicrobial—meaning it can kill certain disease-causing cells, at least in test-tube studies. It’s also anti-inflammatory, and may help improve heart health (3, 4).
Enjoy black garlic in any recipe you’d use raw garlic in. It’s got a great, rich flavor that meshes well with most types of food.
Strawberries are a healthy and delicious fruit, low in sugar and high in fiber. They’re a great addition to any diet.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, an essential, anti-inflammatory nutrient that exerts many positive effects on the immune system. It can decrease inflammation and promote the neutralization of unstable free radical compounds, and promote the proliferation and effectiveness of your body’s immune cells (12).
Strawberries are great on their own, but also an excellent addition to smoothies and salads.
These foods—rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and other healthy compounds—may help equip your body to ward off infection and illness. They can serve as natural foods for an immune system booster.
If you’re strapped for time and unable to cook healthy meals regularly, you can also try the mushroom extract supplement by Nourishing Nutrients for all of the benefits of these foods in a super-convenient form.