Top 20 Foods for Immune Health – Eat this to stay well during this pandemic

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Your body’s immune system is a remarkable machine designed to protect you from harmful threats that may arise from outside or inside your own body. Overall, the immune system generates an inflammatory response that can be specific to a certain area (think infection) or a generalized area (think fever), and targets the threat with various defense cells. (17)

Although our immune system always strives to rid us of foreign invaders, what makes people sick is a combination of environmental exposure and their level of resilience. Although you can’t always control exposure, you can make dietary choices that give your disease-fighting cells some serious support.

Top 20 foods for immune health

Many people don’t realize just how significantly our diet can influence our immunity. The following 20 science-backed foods provide various benefits to immune health.

1. Elderberries

The berries and flowers of elderberries, from the plant species Sambucus nigra, are fully loaded with immune-bolstering anti-oxidants and vitamins. Elderberry, a strong anti-viral, is particularly effective at fighting upper respiratory infections. (35)

2. Chocolate

Not all chocolate is equally healthy. Milk and white chocolate, for example, have relatively few, if any immunity perks. The darker the chocolate, the greater the health benefits. Dark chocolate contains much higher levels of flavonoids, anti-oxidants that protect our cells from damage and inflammation. (3)

dark chocolate

Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, antioxidants that protect our cells from damage and inflammation.

Did you know?
A recent pilot study found that among participants who ate one dark chocolate bar every day for a week, the chocolate boosted immune-supportive white blood cells and activated certain pathways involved in cellular immune response. (3)

3. Turmeric

This golden yellow, bitter spice is a key component in curry dishes and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to address a range of inflammatory conditions, such as allergies, diabetes, and ulcers.

Studies have shown that curcumin, the primary active compound in turmeric, may modulate the immune system by activating certain immune cells and targeting proinflammatory cytokines. These effects may contribute to the benefits of curcumin seen in certain immune-related conditions, including allergy, asthma, and arthritis. (18)

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