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Herbs

5 Foods to Boost the Immune System

Just in time for the sniffliest of seasons, our favorite foods for immune health.

5 Foods to Boost the Immune System

We’re headed indoors as the season shifts. Time to put our immune health front and center.

What we eat definitely influences how we feel and how our bodies sustain their function. We believe that we should eat what we want, enjoy foods that are nourishing to our body and our mind, and have fun with food without guilt and shame. We also know that certain foods do a better job than others of supporting the systems in our body. Especially the immune system.

This is why each dropperful of Immunity Now includes functional medicinal foods. Humans have relied on whole medicinal herbs for thousands of years. In each bottle of Immunity Now are four time-tested and herbalist-approved immune-boosting herbs.

FIG 1. Elderberry

The Herbs in Immunity Now

Echinacea is a traditional herbal medicine and a member of the sunflower family. Found in prairies and wooded areas, Echinacea is well-known for its ability to support innate immunity. Much of what we know about this herb and how to use it comes from the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains region.

Elderberry supports a balanced immune system. It creates calm when overactive and striking speed when needed. It is nutritive, protective, and strengthens to the immune system. This deep purple berry soothes the immune system, allowing the body to regain homeostasis.

Elderflower comes from the same plant as elderberry. Clusters of white flowers precede the fruiting of deep purple berries. Elderflower helps the body release heat and disrupts the progression of imbalance in the body.

Reishi is a calming adaptogen that normalizes, strengthens, and calms the immune system. It calms the nervous system and helps the body rest. This mushroom is a well-known and beloved herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine with thousands of years of traditional use under its belt.

FIG 2. Echinacea

 

Foods that Support Immune Health

Research shows that plants are good for us. We love a good study and we know that the traditional use of plants across all cultures points us toward the most nutritious fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. What humans have known for thousands and thousands of years - even Harvard agrees - is that nutritionally dense foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein support the health and function of the entire body, including the immune cells.

Fish

Fish supply the body with Omega-3s EPA and DHA, B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, selenium, and zinc. These nutrients help the body regulate inflammation and support the innate immune system. Opt for small, fatty fish like sardines and anchovies, and shellfish like crab and oysters. 

Berries

Berries have a high polyphenol content - the plant antioxidant that gives berries their color - that boosts the immune system. You don’t need to eat berries from far away places to reap the benefits. Domestic choices like cranberries and blueberries will totally do the trick. Berries are often highest on the “Dirty Dozen” list because of the pesticides applied on industrial, conventional growing sites. Opt for locally-grown, organic seasonal berries or organic frozen options.

Broccoli

Broccoli is high in glucosinolates - the stinkiest of phytonutrients - responsible for giving Brassicas their sulfury smell. But the stink is important because it’s what your liver needs to clear toxins from the body. Your liver is on the frontline of immune protection, one of its main jobs is to detect pathogens.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in trace micronutrients like selenium and zinc. We love medicinal mushrooms like reishi and cordyceps. We’re just as pumped on culinary mushrooms like crimini and portobello. But our favorites tick both boxes: they taste great and are medicinal herbs (even though they’re fungi). Mushrooms in this category include lion’s mane, maitake, and shitake. TBH, we never met a mushroom we didn’t like.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in polyphenols, especially epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short. EGCG enhances immunity by helping the body stay strong in the face of imbalance. It’s especially strengthening to the respiratory system. We love a morning cup of matcha, but we also love to add green tea to soup, granola, and even salad dressings.

 

Other Ways to Support Immune Health

  • Get 9-12 hours of sleep each night
  • Stay hydrated
  • Reduce your intake of sugar, alcohol, and caffeine
  • Embrace stress reducing habits like gentle movement, breathwork, and meditation
  • Laugh, go outside, stay connected to friends and family

Keep your immunity strong anywhere you go with Immunity Now

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