It’s that time of year again…back to school time!
Adjusting back to regular bedtime routines, and new environments each fall can be a bit stressful, both for kids as well as parents. Getting less sleep, having more responsibilities, change of seasons all this can put extra strain on the immune system making us more vulnerable to colds and viruses. On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting a whole new set of challenges for all parents who are preparing to send their children back to school.
Although we cannot control everything that is going on around us we still have the ability to take care of our family by naturally supporting the body so we can stay healthy and enjoy a successful start to the new school year and beyond.
One of the most effective ways to help your family fight off infection and keep the immune system strong is by eating a healthy diet. However, sometimes be confusing to know what foods to eat and which to avoid. So for that reason, we decided to put together a list of the Top 9 Immune System Supporting Foods – together with ideas and recipes that your whole family can enjoy!
Top 9 Foods for Immune Health
Brazil nuts are one of the highest food sources of selenium. A warrior of an antioxidant, selenium fights free radical damage and is essential to maintain immune function, in conjunction with other antioxidants including vitamin E and glutathione. It only takes four brazil nuts per day to get your daily dose of selenium. Eat them raw, mix them into a salad or add them to your smoothies and dressings.
Pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc – a multi-functional mineral that assists your body in healing and maintaining appropriate amounts of vitamin E; maintains prostate health, and also diminishes cold symptoms. Including raw or sprouted pumpkin seeds into your diet regularly is an excellent way to support your body at a cellular level and strengthen your immune system.
Everyone knows berries are a superfood and super-good-for-you! They’re full of the essential fibre, vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy immune system and help you fight off illness, including vitamin C, K and manganese, as well as zinc, calcium and magnesium, and plenty more. Some of the most nutrient-dense berries include blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries, goji berries, mulberries, elderberries and maqui berries. The good news is that adding the immune-boosting power of berries into your diet is easy and delicious!
A cruciferous vegetable that is highly nutrient-dense, broccoli is rich in chlorophyll and also contains other beneficial nutrients like vitamin C and carotenoids. Carotenoids are beneficial antioxidants that can protect you from disease and enhance your immune system. Please note that carotenoids are fat-soluble compounds, meaning they are best absorbed with healthy fats.
Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vital antioxidant, that promotes healing and keeping your immune system in check. On top of that celery contains a great amount of organic sodium, which gives it a slightly salty taste. Along with potassium, chlorine sodium helps to maintain the body’s electrolyte balance. This popular vegetable is also a natural diuretic, and a powerful remedy for circulatory disorders, such as high blood pressure and lymphatic congestion. Just 4 stalks a day (or some celery juice) will do the trick.
Shiitake Mushrooms (and other mushrooms)
Not only are shiitake mushrooms high in amino acids (seven essential), rich in B vitamins, and easily absorb vitamin D when sun-dried, they provide a boost to your immune system. Shiitakes naturally improve the function of your T-cells (immune system cells), due to a polysaccharide/complex sugar called lentinan.
Garlic is a common home remedy for the prevention of colds and other illnesses. Garlic can support your body at a cellular level, acting like an antioxidant, supporting immune function. Allicin, a chemical compound found in garlic acts as a natural antibiotic because of its antimicrobial properties, helping you reduce the risk of getting a cold.
Ginger is a valuable support for your immune system. Gingerols, the active compounds in ginger, help minimize inflammation and rheumatism It has also shown to have antibiotic properties in test tubes (kills salmonella and staph bacteria). Ginger has been successfully used in the treatment of vomiting, headaches, chest congestion, colds, diarrhea, and stomachache.
Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, raw cultured vegetables, miso, and kombucha are rich sources of probiotics that help to support the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. These foods assist the immune system by nourishing your good bacteria while eliminating pathogenic bacteria in the gut. This has been shown to help strengthen the gut lining which prevents “leakage” of unwanted material into the gut, thereby causing an excessive immune response.
Also, many fermented foods, including sauerkraut and kimchi, are high in Vitamin C and iron. Both of which help the body fight against infection.
The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content in this article, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
For more nutritious back-to-school meal ideas check out our big recipe round-up: 45 Quick Vegan Back to School Recipes Your Kids Will Love
Dedicated to your health & wellbeing,