No one likes getting sick. It's a hassle to have to put your life on pause to go to the doctor, stay in bed, and take over-the-counter or prescription medications that don't do anything but suppress your symptoms. The ideal scenario would be to prepare your immune system so that it actually fights off infection and protects you from those harmful contagions. Here are 5 foods to boost your immune system naturally:
#1 Citrus fruits
Typically, increasing your vitamin C intake is a great way to boost your immune system, especially after catching a cold or flu. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it works to remove free radicals—or uncharged molecules that are highly reactive— from your body. It also works to increase the production of white blood cells, which attack foreign substances such as harmful bacteria and viruses. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are popular examples of citrus fruits.
Broccoli is super packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals, making it one of the healthiest vegetables you could consume. One serving will give you vitamins A, C, and E, plus a bunch of other antioxidants and fiber. The only thing is, in order to tap into its full potential, you're going to want to cook it as least as possible. The less you manipulate the broccoli, the more you preserve its health-giving properties. Try boiling the broccoli for a short period of time and using minimal seasoning for best effects.
The nice thing about garlic is that it's found in pretty much every pantry, and there are multiple dishes you can make with it. Not only that, but it also helps ward off infections, lower blood pressure, and slow the calcification of arteries from fatty deposits. Garlic contains a heavy concentration of allicin, the sulfur-containing compound responsible for all of these benefits.
Popeye didn't eat spinach just for fun—the popular leafy green is a great source of vitamin C and beta carotene, another antioxidant that helps our immune system increase its infection-fighting abilities. Just like broccoli, these antioxidants are best preserved when you don't overcook the spinach, so if you can cook it less, the better. Light cooking will enhance its vitamin A content and also allow other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
If you want a big source of vitamin C, grab yourself papaya the next time you go grocery shopping. Papaya consists of up to 224 percent of the daily recommended vitamin C that you need. Not only this, but it also contains a digestive enzyme called papain, which helps you regulate your gut and imparts beneficial anti-inflammatory effects.