7 Top Immune-Supporting Foods
Now, more than ever, we are seeing the importance of a thriving immune system firsthand. It’s something that we used to prioritise in our health but as time has gone on, our lives have gotten busier and modern medicines have been advanced, this preventative approach to health has been pushed to the side. What we do know is that a happy, healthy immune system is key to not necessarily stopping sickness, but ensuring sickness doesn’t wipe us out completely.
Many of you may remember being told by your parents to eat oranges to prevent a cold, or foods rich in zinc, and they were right! By consuming rich high-quality, immune-supporting (and organic) foods and fresh produce, you’re preparing your body for whatever may come it’s way. In my eyes, we need to be doing more to support our holistic health.
With all the unease and worry in the world right now, we’re not taking any chances on our health. And we’re starting by dosing up on these 7 top immune-supporting foods.
1. Citrus Fruits
Think fresh oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes - the tart and acidic tastes we find in fleshy fruits may just be one of nature’s best medicines. Vitamin C is one of the best micronutrients to help rebuild and maintain a thriving immune system. This is because the water-soluble vitamin increases the production of white blood cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections. Vitamin C is abundant in most citrus fruits, so you can top up your daily dose in many ways - a grapefruit at breakfast, a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice or even some lime squeezed on homemade tacos, you’ve got the world to choose from!
This vibrantly coloured root also doubles as a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune support. When turmeric is broken down in the body, it releases a powerful compound called curcumin, which is where the healing magic begins. High concentrations of curcumin, which is responsible for the distinctive yellow tones, has been tagged in research studies for its support of the immune system, as well as having antiviral properties. The root has also been used as an anti-inflammatory in treatment protocols for both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis for quite some time now.
When I’m feeling under the weather, the one thing I reach for time and time again is a hot lemon, honey and ginger drink, and it feels like a healing hug in a mug. Ginger, another nutrient-dense root, also has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s fragrant and tasty, so we love using it in everything from seasonal stir-fries to rice paper roll dipping sauces.
4. Leafy Green Vegetables
I can’t recall how many times I was asked to eat my greens as a child, and to do so without complaint, but in hindsight, I can see how these beautiful foods were nourishing my body all along. Not only are they extremely alkalising, meaning they help to rid the body of toxins, but they’re also a rich source of the fat-soluble Vitamin E. When thinking about immune support, we often consider Vitamin C as the first port of call, but this powerful antioxidant is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function, and because it’s fat-soluble, it stays in the body longer.
5. Probiotic Foods
When it comes to a well-rounded immune system, no one can look past the value of high-quality probiotic foods. Much of our health begins in the gut, as this is the pathway to anything being absorbed into our body, so by opting for foods rich in good bacteria we’re arming that first line of defence with everything it needs. Yogurts are an easy, delicious choice for probiotic foods, as they’re packed with live and active cultures.
I don’t know anyone, especially in my household, who can say no to a slice of garlic bread. But perhaps this is steeped in history. Ancient cultures used the fragrant garlic as medicine, because of its value in fighting infections. Much of the power of garlic comes from allicin, a sulphur-containing compound that is released when garlic is diced and left to sit. So if you have the time, it’s worth crushing your garlic a few minutes before you intend to cook (just 5 minutes will do), or remember to chop it first!
7. Nuts & Seeds
These tasty foods are a broad category when it comes to immune support, but spanning across many nuts and seeds are similar properties. Typically, most are rich in necessary vitamins and minerals that support the immune system and ensure the body maintains a good level of health. In particular, sunflower seeds are a good source of phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and E, as well as selenium - which has been researched for its efficacy on viral infections. I also love almonds due to their high levels of fat-soluble Vitamin E.
You can also find some options that are fortified with Vitamin D, another essential fat-soluble vitamin that helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defences against diseases. What’s more, there are currently clinical trials taking place to look at the efficacy of Vitamin D in treating COVID-19.
If you allow, food truly can be your greatest medicine. Take it with a grain of salt, and always follow public health precautions - but make the most of this grassroots approach to health and immunity. At FreshBox we are proud to offer the highest-quality, locally-grown, organic and seasonal produce, so you can nourish your body inside and out.
Amid uncertainty and changing COVID-19 restrictions in Queensland, we are still making every effort to safely deliver your foods to your home. This includes delivery suburbs across North Brisbane as well as the wider Sunshine Coast region. We’ll take care of the hard stuff, so stay at home and stay safe.