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4 More Foods to Boost Immunity

This year, avoid calling in sick to summer festivities with the immune fighting power of whole food ingredients. Of course, food alone isn't a cure-all. You need sleep, exercise, and commonsense health practices. Let the nutrients in food keep you feeling your best all summer long.

Diabetes immune system boosters

In addition to our previous article, "3 Foods to Boost Immunity," here are some more key players to maintain happy health.

Ginger

Ginger shots are not just for the trendy juicers, but also for anyone looking for added immunity oomph. Ginger has both anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Not to mention, it's also loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Animal research has even shown that it can even decrease inflammation in people with asthma.1 Chronic inflammation can take a big toll on your immune system and negatively impact type 2 diabetes and heart health. Give your body a helping hand and consider boosting your ginger intake, along with other plant-based whole foods, herbs, and spices!

Warning: Ginger contains blood-thinning properties. Therefore, it is not advised to consume high doses of ginger if you take medications such as aspirin, heparin, warfarin, or ticlopidine. This can increase one's risk of bleeding.2 Stick with ginger as an added flavor boost, but avoid supplements unless working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Tasty ways to eat ginger

  • With chicken or tofu stir-fry. Peel off the skin with the end of a spoon – it’s fast and easy. Then grate over your dish or mince.
  • In smoothies. Add it with pineapple and spinach for a tropical and healthy treat.
  • Homemade ginger tea. Add chunks to boiling water with lemon and honey. Then, bask in the feeling of relaxation!

Almonds

Amen to almonds! These hearty nuts are a protein-packed snack that also supplies the body with healthy fats. To quote every infomercial ever, "but wait, there is more!" Recent research has proposed that the skin of natural almonds may help the body fight against viruses. Almonds may have a prebiotic effect. Prebiotics play an essential role in gut health and your gut is your largest immune system organ.3 Talk about a powerhouse ingredient! Not to mention, the fiber from the almonds will help contribute to a healthy gut, which plays a key role in the body's immune function. Split the servings throughout the day in order to reap the benefits in a more digestible manner. Let's go nuts for nuts.

1 oz of almonds also provides:4

  • Protein: 6g
  • Total Fat: 14.2g
  • Fiber: 3.5g

Green tea

Not only does an unsweetened ice tea please the mind on a summer day, but it also protects the body. Green tea contains a nutrient called polyphenols, which has many health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties, that may increase T-regulator cells, which aids in a healthy immune system.5 By having more of these cells, the body is better able to adapt and help avoid excessive immune reactions that may harm the body. T-regulator cells also help prevent autoimmune disease.6 Furthermore, as an anti-inflammatory, the polyphenol compound also helps prevent chronic inflammation. Inflammation takes a toll on the immune system, which can make people more susceptible to illness.7 Give your immune system a well-deserved rest so that it can be ready for battle when needed! Go green for immuni-TEA!

Refreshing ways to enjoy green tea

  • Faux-Mojito. Chill your green tea. Add fresh mint and crushed blackberries.
  • Peach-Basil. Chill your green tea. Add peach slices and fresh basil.
  • Raspberry-Lime. Chill your green tea. Add the juice of half a lime and crushed raspberries.

Elderberry

This powerful fruit is packed with vitamin C, fiber, phenolic acids, flavonols, and anthocyanins. In other words, this berry has a TON of antioxidants, which helps fight against inflammation.8 They also have the potential to reduce the severity and duration of influenza, H1N1, and other flu viruses. But, in extremely high quantities, it may contribute to an exaggerated immune response. By creating an overabundance of immune cells, it can potentially damage the lungs. That being said, this was an isolated study. Generally, even highly concentrated elderberry extract seems to be well tolerated.

Elderberries are consumed rehydrated and cooked from dried berries or in a supplement. Do not consume these berries raw since it can cause unwanted symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea.8 Instead, cook the dried fruit and turn it into a tasty jam, chutney, or syrup. It makes a great addition to pie fillings, compotes, or flavoring to your favorite tea.

Maintaining a healthy diet can improve your immune function and ensure that you never miss a beat. Keep your immune system soaring with a whole food, balanced, and nutrient-rich diet that includes these healthful foods! In case you missed it, be sure to check out our previous article, "3 Foods to Boost Immunity."

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