1. Chicken Soup
Chicken soup isn’t just good for the soul. It’s good if you’re feeling under the weather, too. “Research has found that chicken soup helps to prevent inflammatory white cells from moving to other parts of your body, which can decrease your cold symptoms,” says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Yogurt is a natural source of probiotics, also known as “good bacteria” that live in your gut. Studies have linked good gut health to boosting immunity, better sleep, good digestion — the list goes on. “The probiotics found in yogurt help to keep our intestinal tracts free of disease-causing bacteria and germs,” says Rumsey. “Studies have also found that increased yogurt intake may improve our body’s immune response.”
3. Fatty Fish
Your heart isn’t the only thing that can benefit from a dose of omega-3 fatty acids
. “Fatty fish, such as salmon
and tuna, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help control inflammation in your body,” says Yeung. It’s important to consume inflammation-fighting foods on a regular basis, but especially when you’re feeling under the weather.
That’s because “chronic inflammation can weaken and disrupt the function of your immune system,” says Yeung.
Good news if you love garlic sourdough bread and dipping veggie sticks in aioli. “Garlic contains allicin, a compound that can help fight infection and bacteria,” says Rumsey. “One study showed that people who ate garlic daily were less likely to catch a cold.” Eat raw garlic if you’re feeling really daring, or add it to soups and other cooked meals
to reap the benefits without the vampire-slaying breath.
5. Fruits and Vegetables
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that vitamin-rich foods are key to maintaining a strong immune system. Smithson stresses that vitamins A, C, and E are particularly useful in building immunity. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources of these nutrients. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes
Vitamin C can be found in high quantities in citrus fruits
, tomatoes, and bell peppers. Dark leafy greens, butternut squash and avocado are excellent sources of vitamin E. Pairing these and other fruits and vegetables with adequate protein intake will help supercharge your immunity, says Smithson.
NOTE: “Try to avoid sweetened beverages, like sports drinks
and juice, as too much sugar in your body can cause inflammation… which further weakens your immune system.”