5 immune-boosting foods to add to your diet

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Maggie Thornton

With the ever-present threat of COVID-19 lurking around the corner, keeping ourselves and those around us healthy is top priority. Our immune systems rely on whole foods that are rich in nutrients to function at top speed. Right now, keeping our bodies strong enough to fight off sickness the best it can is one of the most important things we can do.

Along with maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and staying as active as one can during a quarantine, nutrition is a key way to maintain a healthy immune system and improve your body’s defenses. Here are five foods that have immune supporting effects:

1. Ginger

Ginger is not only a great way to spice up a recipe, but it is rich in health benefits. Among the myriad of benefits, ginger aids in digestion, lowers your risk for chronic disease, lowers your blood sugar and most importantly helps your body fight off infections. A study showed that fresh ginger activates an antiviral protein in your cells that helps to rid your body of infection. 

2. Garlic 

While garlic may not make your breath smell like daisies, it is widely regarded as an immune boosting food. Research shows that garlic contains compounds that produce antiviral white blood cells that fight infection and reduce inflammation. So, not only does garlic make every dish better, it also speeds up the production of your white blood cells that are key to fighting off any infection. 

3. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables 

Research shows dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, broccoli and more are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K. Along with essential vitamins, these greens are also rich in carotenoid-antioxidants. These antioxidants protect your cells and help fight off disease. One of the antioxidants these greens are high in is  beta carotene, which not only helps to give you flawless skin, but also improves lung health and helps to protect your cells from molecules that cause illness.

4. Turmeric 

Turmeric performs many favors for your body. It serves as an antioxidant that fights inflammation, helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and more. The most important compound in turmeric is curcumin. Research shows that curcumin produces several antiviral effects that in some cases have shown more than a 90% reduction of the number of virus infected cells. 

5. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits come in many forms, but a few popular examples are limes, lemons, grapefruits and oranges. These fruits are high in vitamins and antioxidants. They are especially high in vitamin C, which research shows is key to immune defense because it protects cells from oxidative stress, which stops your body from being able to fight off infection properly. 

Features reporter Maggie Thornton can be reached at [email protected] Follow Maggie on social media at @maggie_thornton