Your body’s immune system is your best defense against getting sick. In fact, the primary role of your immune system is to safeguard your body against dangerous invaders, such as germs, bacteria, and viruses that can lead to catching a cold, flu or worse.
Just like a warrior’s shield, your immune system guards against harmful attackers because it’s your immune system that is fortified with powerful cells that are well-known to kill infecting microbes -- keeping your system strong and healthy.
This means supporting your immune system is essential to your health.
Great support for your immune system starts with you. Similar to a car; if you don’t service it regularly, it’s not going to reliably keep you safe and get you where you want to go. The same applies to the body. Like your car, you need essential foods and vitamins to support an effective immune system response.
What are the best foods that support a strong immune system?
Your immune system needs to produce immune cells, which stack just like building a brick wall. To work effectively, your body needs to stack the correct balance of quality foods that can provide you with essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to build a strong, virtually impenetrable immune system.
Here are 7 powerful foods that may support a healthy immune system:
More Vitamin C than an orange!
Acerola is famous for being exceptionally rich in vitamin C. Because of this, it is often used to prevent or help with flu or colds. The high vitamin C content is something that makes Acerola cherry essential. One single ripe berry of this fruit includes around 80 mg of vitamin C as compared to an orange, which contains 70 mg of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is well-known to strengthen your immune system, and together with vitamin C, Acerola makes for an excellent food for immune system support. This percentage of vitamin C in raw Acerola varies based on locality, season, climate, and ripeness -- and our farmers carefully consider all of these factors in order to send you the highest quality acerola powder. Ripe Acerola Cherry powder contains around 16% vitamin C while the Unripe Acerola Cherry powder contains around 38% Vitamin C. Acerola, and Vitamin C, has been proven to possibly support a healthy immune system response and reproduction of healthy cells in the body.
Turmeric is far more than just a delightful addition to your meal because it includes a robust inflammation balancing compound known as curcumin. Researchers with the Journal of Clinical Immunology found that curcumin can activate the production of T-cells in the body. (2) These cells are lymphocyte immune cells that can protect your body from cancer cells and pathogens. They are essential for mediated immunity and the activation of immune cells to fight viruses and infection.
That means consuming turmeric may help you in supporting your immunity. And this is all due to the antioxidant and inflammation-fighting properties of curcumin. (3)
Also, turmeric has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda to treat a variety of conditions. Scientists believe that the main reason why this spice is so powerful is its curcumin content.
The curcumin compound of turmeric makes it a perfect fit for your immune system. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons to vegetables, meat, rice, and your favorite smoothies for a possible immune system boost.
Astragalus is an herb that has been used in TCM for thousands of years. It has many health benefits, such as supporting a healthy inflammatory response, immune-boosting, and anti-aging effects. Astragalus includes beneficial plant elements that may improve the immune system.
Some evidence indicates that astragalus root extract may increase the production of white blood cells or healthy T-cells in the body. These are the cells of your immune system accountable for preventing disorders and diseases.
Overall, astragalus is an adaptogenic herb that may support the healthy response of the body to different stresses, including mental, physical, or emotional. It may possibly boost your immune system to fight and prevent viral and bacterial infections, such as the common cold.
In addition, though no dosage recommendation exists, traditionally people have been known to take up 60g of astragalus root every day during the cold and flu season may provide great health benefits.
4) Chaga Mushroom
Also called Inonotus Obliquus, Chaga is a mushroom that is found on birch trees in colder climates. Though it doesn’t look like a mushroom at first glance, Chaga Mushroom packs a punch when it comes to its possible health benefits.
In animal studies, Chaga Mushrooms have been proven to boost the immune system by increasing the production of specific cells such as T-lymphocytes and interleukin. These cells help in regulating the immune system and ensure that your body is capable enough to fight against any invading viruses and bacteria.
Researchers with the Journal of Mycobiology show Chaga Mushroom may stimulate spleen lymphocytes. (4) These cells can have a direct positive impact on your immune system response. All in all, Chaga mushroom is an ideal source of immune-supporting phytochemicals. Consider adding Chaga mushroom food to soups, smoothies and recipes to experience its benefits.
Amla fruit, also known as the Indian gooseberry, is an age-old immunity booster. Apart from being a healthful source of antioxidants, Amla Fruit Powder is enriched with micronutrients. Amla provides the purest state of vitamin C and may enrich you from within by possibly making your blood vessels thicker and more energetic.
Additionally, Amla fruit powder may boost your immunity by stimulating the production of white blood cells in the body. These cells then help you fight diseases and infections more effectively.
6) Goji Berry
Also called Lycium barbarum, goji berries are native to Asia. People have been using goji berry fruit for over 2,000 years as a dietary supplement and medicinal herb. Goji berries include healthy antioxidants, which are well-known for their immune-boosting properties. Antioxidants also have the strength to fight unfavorable free radicals as well as inflammation.
Moreover, goji berries include large amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C, like other berries, such as raspberries and blueberries. Both vitamins A and C are essential for boosting immunity and preventing diseases, ranging from colds to cancer.
All of the above attributes like antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C make goji berries a nutritionally dense superfood. You’ll love snacking on a handful of goji berries every day, or add them to desserts, salads, or smoothies and enjoy these amazing benefits.
7) Maitake Mushroom
Also known as Dancing Mushroom, Maitake Mushroom grows deep in the hills of northeastern Japan. It is a big mushroom - about the size of a basketball. Maitake is a highly-researched medicinal mushroom. The active compound of the mushroom is - beta-glucan, which is a polysaccharide. Researchers found that beta-glucans improve immune defense by stimulating boosting natural killer (NK) cell function. (5)
Maitake Mushrooms help your body in producing more natural killer cells. These are white blood cells that carry out the maximum capabilities of the immune system.
Overall, Maitake mushrooms have been proven to have a significant effect on the immune system and may be helpful for those facing chronic fatigue syndrome.
Our Red Star Nutritional Yeast flakes not only taste great, but they may also support a healthy immune system response. An inactive yeast, our yeast flakes are made specifically for its valuable vegan nutrition profile; containing over 50% protein and rich in B vitamins and minerals.
Researchers with the Department of Urology, University of Michigan Medical Center found that people who ate yeast got a cold and flu less often than those who did not. (1) Often used in soups, salads, casseroles, and gravies, or sprinkled on popcorn, our nutritional yeast flakes give a deliciously cheesy taste and are especially great for vegan and vegetarian diets.
Powerful Immune-Boosting Superfoods
Enjoying these powerful immune-boosting superfoods may strengthen your immune system and just might enhance your ability to fight off infections.
If you’re someone who frequently catches a cold or lives a high-stress lifestyle, these natural immune-boosting foods may be exactly what you are looking for.
About Z Natural Foods
Z Natural Foods is a leading provider of high quality, organic superfoods, and concentrated fruit powders. With over 400 specialty products, Z Natural Foods provides a wide range of natural foods to the biggest wholesalers and retailers in the industry. Offering services such as bulk purchasing, blending, packaging, wholesale delivery and retail, Z Natural Foods provides a unique niche to the food industry. For more information about Z Natural Foods, visit www.ZNaturalFoods.com or call 888-963-6637.
- Immunogenic yeast-based fermentate for cold/flu-like symptoms in nonvaccinated individuals.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20180695
- "Spicing up" of the immune system by curcumin.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17211725
- Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/
- Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774877/
- Effects of beta-glucans on the immune system.: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17895634