Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Monday, November 10, 2014

Boosting Your Immune System with Food

Monday, November 10, 2014 | 9:00 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , No comments

By Meghann McMillan

The weather is getting colder which means cold and flu season is just around the corner. There is no reason to let illness ruin things like Homecoming weekend or the upcoming Holidays and it certainly shouldn't put a damper on your daily life. We’re all very busy and there is just no time for getting sick. Fortunately there are ways we can boost our immune systems with the food we eat every day! Here are some immune boosting foods that can help you prevent or even kick seasonal sickness...

Citrus Fruits: This is the one that comes to everyone's mind. Oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit, they are all a loaded powerhouse of vitamin C. This antioxidant helps boost our immune system, preventing our bodies from falling ill and fighting something that is already in our bodies. Adding oranges to smoothies or lemon to tea is a great way to get that vitamin C pick me up our bodies may need.

Garlic: This potent bulb is a triple thread when it comes to our health. Garlic is an antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal! All there of these are a huge benefit to our immune system. Garlic contains allicin which is known for its antimicrobial affects and is anti-carcinogenic. Garlic also helps clear the sinuses. The best way to consume garlic is in its raw form. If that's a little too intense for you and you just want to add it to meals for an immunity boost, use fresh garlic that has not yet been chopped.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms are known for their antiviral and immune enhancing properties and are also rich in protein and fiber as well as a number of vitamins and minerals. Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans, a powerful compound known for its ability to activate the immune system. Mushrooms have also been shown to increase the production and activity of white blood cells which is important when you are already fighting off the flu or a cold.

Tea: Tea is packed full with antioxidants to boost immune systems during the colder months. Two teas that have the most antioxidants are green and black teas. Aside from boosting the immune system, tea is very soothing and aids in thinning of mucus. 

Fish: Believe it or not, fish is a great food for boosting the immune system. It is high in selenium and protein. Fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids which aid in reducing inflammation. 

Fermented Foods: Some great examples of fermented foods are yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, kimchi, and kefir. These fermented foods are fully loaded with good bacteria known as, probiotics, that keep our guts free of germs and bad bacteria. One of these good strains of bacteria is Lactobacillus reuteri, which has been shown to stop the replication of viruses that take over the body when we get sick. These good bacteria also aid in the production of antibodies in our bodies.

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