In times like today when everyone is trying to protect themselves from the pandemic virus with gloves and facemasks, the next most effective measure we can take is to boost our immune system as much as possible, to give our bodies that extra bit of strength to stay healthy and fight off whatever nasties may come our way. Although this is particularly true currently, it is also true for every other day of the year, every year! We have put together a list of the most powerful (and delicious!) superfoods that are readily available in stores, some of which you may already have at home, that will give your immune system that extra boost as well as help fight off dangerous diseases like diabetes, clogged arteries, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity. Come, let’s fast forward to the 21 Superfoods that can Improve Your Immune System.
– Vitamins D, C and E
This soccer mom staple is more than an energy boost for pre-teens at halftime! On top of quenching your thirst, you’ll gain some serious nutrients that will assist your immune system: vitamin C, potassium, and pectin (which is fiber). Turns out, potassium isn’t just in bananas; it also helps lower blood pressure, moderate sodium intake, and neutralize proteins that contribute to heart scar tissue or heart failure. Pectin plays an important role too and helps absorb the cholesterol in foods.
Don’t confuse the cute bird with the cute fuzzy fruit! Inside one kiwi you’ll find a juicy green fruit that’s packed with vitamins B, C, & E; polyphenols, magnesium, potassium, and copper. (Inside the other, a tiny bird!) These edible elements from the periodic table reduce clots and keep your whole heart system healthy, helping your immune system stay strong.
As arguably one of the most tastiest members of the nut family, these gems not only help your immune system stay robust but studies show that almonds are also loaded with healthy nutrients that can help boost your memory, intelligence and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease. So eating a handful of almonds can help lower cholesterol and due to a high level of plant sterols, prevent the absorption of harmful LDL.
One of the most versatile foods on our list, garlic provides the flavor, vampire repellant, and heart boost! More importantly though, garlic is also a warrior of the immune system, so much so that when a sailor got sick on board a ship, the other crew members would all take raw garlic to keep their immunity up and avoid sickness. Not only that, but garlic also reduces enzymes that negatively impact your blood vessels and tackles the plaque in your arteries.
Even though this fish is known for swimming upstream, it helps your blood flow downstream by expanding constricted vessels. However, your cook it (or not, for any sushi fans reading), you’ll find that taking a bite of salmon will help your body take a bite out of triglycerides and blood clots. Whether you prefer Chinook, Coho, Chum, Sockeye, or Pink, you’ll certainly love decreasing your risk of heart disease with salmon.
You know what? Scratch the whole list so far. This superfood seems to have the longest list of benefits yet. On top of preventing heart disease and protecting your arteries against plaque, this fruity blend of antioxidants helps prevent strokes, prostate cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers, according to studies, and gives your immune system that extra strength it needs. Not enough? It also keeps skin, joints, teeth, and livers healthy.
The ever-intrepid heart researchers and nutritionists recommend three servings of blueberries and/or other berries per week to keep your heart and arteries healthy! (Read on to see what other berries come highly recommended!) Like many other food packed with nutrients and antioxidants, blueberries help ward off some of the causes of cancer while they reduce the risk of heart disease.
-Vitamins and Minerals
Cucumbers share a huge similarity with watermelons: water content. They both clock in at over 95% water but that’s where the similarities end. That other 5% holds a lot of protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber! Hydrate and help your heart with one tasty salad topper.
A great low-calorie option to help boost your immune system, these little legumes help promote a healthy heart with vitamins A, C, & K and iron. It’s true: world peas could reduce the whole world’s blood pressure!
Radish’s benefits include regulating digestion, aiding the immune system, and maintaining healthy blood pressure. Toss it in a salad or add it to cole slaw and let potassium and vitamin C get to work on your body!
Barley being on this list is not an excuse to go drink more beer! Keep this grain in a soup or other healthy option in order to absorb the health benefits of the vitamin B6 and potassium it contains, helping your immune system stay strong.
Yup, both sweet potatoes and potatoes are both good for your heart! Careful with the fries but with the right preparation, potatoes can help the body develop and keep your heart pumping! Potatoes pack more than a dollop of vitamins, fiber, and iron, as well as zinc and potassium.
Unsweetened, natural peanut butter is packed with protein, fat, and good nutrients. So it’ll fill you up for longer and help you keep your blood pressure in check, thanks to potassium. (It also means it’s got a high calorie count, so calorie counters, be warned!) Other great things hidden in peanut butter’s creamy goodness are monounsaturated fats, fiber, and vitamins.
Tomato, tomahto; sliced or sauced…however you eat this super food, you’re adding essential vitamins, minerals, and even lycopene to your diet. All of those things will prepare you to battle cardiovascular disease and reduce your risk of a heart attack. Tomato juices reduce low-density lipoprotein, which is bad cholesterol.
If you remember the 1997 classic “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves” then you know that bananas are packed with potassium! (If that statement confuses you, we suggest catching up on Rick Moranis’ filmography!) Bananas truly have it all: protein, fiber, resistant starch, and the aforementioned potassium. This low-energy-dense food helps everything from weight loss, muscle performance, heartbeat, and blood pressure. Keep your heart healthy and reach for a banana, especially if you can’t find the potassium pills and your parents have shrunk and can’t help you find your potassium pills!
The “water” in “watermelon” is no joke – watermelon is over 90% water. Eat them beachside, poolside, or as a side and you’re giving your body vitamins A, B6, & C; magnesium; and potassium. Watermelons are great for hydrating and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
Nuts are a great heart-healthy snack and walnuts are a prime example! They’ve got an omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and you’ll notice a theme on this list: Omega-3’s are one of the most mentioned components to a heart-healthy food! Walnuts will help you keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check.
Just kidding! Don’t cancel the list, we’ve got more superfoods to cover. Less than a handful of spinach will give you five times your daily dose of vitamin K. Spinach keeps your bones strong and lowers the chance of blood clots. Like quinoa, it can go in salad, the right soup or stew, and mixes well with pasta.
Despite the ever-popular Brown Sugar & Cinnamon and other flavor options, it’s probably best for your heart to stick with plain oats and add on your favorite fruit topping. Oatmeal is a top breakfast choice for weight loss, diabetes, and – no surprise here – keeping your heart healthy! The secret sauce in oatmeal is folate, potassium, omega-3’s, and fiber.
This calming tea packed with antioxidants, which makes it another ally in the fight against plaque in arteries! And it does that while lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Can someone make a wine-coffee-green tea super cocktail so we can get all the benefits at once? (Just kidding, don’t do that! Gross.)
Turns out, carrots don’t help you improve your eyesight but you can thank the British for spreading that lie to protect their new radar technology from German eyes during World War II! And just like the Allies fighting the Axis with secret tech, carrots fight free radicals (which contribute to heart disease) with carotenoids, yet another important antioxidant. Carotenoids combined with vitamins A, K, and C and other nutrients round out this super food’s superpowers that benefit your skeletal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.