5 Immune Boosting Superfoods
1. Broccoli is a low glycemic, antioxidant rich superfood with plenty of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A. It also contains an important phytochemical called sulforaphane which assists with liver detoxification, reduces inflammation, has pain suppressing abilities, anti-cancer properties and has been shown to improve insulin resistance. Studies have also shown that sulforaphane has immune boosting effects, especially when it comes to your immune cell's antiviral responses. This amazing phytochemical is also found in other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, brusselsprouts and cauliflower.
2. Dark leafy greens such as Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, spinach, etc, are all nutrient packed superfoods with notable amounts of calcium, carotenoids, vitamin C and antioxidant phytochemicals. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that have been shown in research to protect against cancer and reduce your risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These carotenoid rich superfoods can help protect your body from disease by supporting a healthy immune system.
3. Asparagus is a fiber packed, antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory superfood. It's a rich source of vitamin C, A, E, K, B6 and folate. Something you may not know about this vegetable is that it is a great source of inulin, which is an important prebiotic for your gut health. That means it promotes the growth of good bacteria and also has anti-cancer properties. It's important to remember that most of your immune cells live in your gut and diversifying your gut microbiome can help modulate and improve immune activity to help protect against infections.
4. Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice with many immune boosting properties. It has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to fight infections, improve digestive complaints and help inflammatory conditions. The active polyphenol in turmeric is called Curcumin and acts as a natural COX inhibitor, much like NSAIDS such as aspirin, but without the gastrointestinal side effects. This means it can help regulate inflammatory responses and important immune cells involved in adaptive immunity. Studies have demonstrated turmeric's anti-oxidant capabilities can help lower inflammatory markers such as CRP, which can be useful in helping with infections, preventing cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative conditions, pain and arthritic flares.
5. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant and antibacterial effects that can help with colds and flu. This is because of its ability to boost immunologic function by stimulating important immune cells. It's especially useful in soothing a sore throat, because of its ability to combat pain through its anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Ginger contains powerful antioxidants such as oleoresin, which act as a natural cough suppressant and has been shown to improve symptoms of asthma.