Immune Boosting Foods
As Covid-19 is still prevalent, it’s essential to know how nutrition can play a role in boosting your immune system. Here are the top food recommendations to help keep your immune system strong. Also, at the end of the post, you will find three easy ways to incorporate these foods into your daily life and a delicious stuffed bell pepper recipe!
Immunity is the ability to fight infections or diseases. The immune system is made up of a collection of cells and molecules that respond to foreign substances. Here are some foods that assist these cells in protecting against foreign invaders.
Red Bell Peppers
Red Bell Pepper contains a high level of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps ward off infectious agents. “Vitamin C boosts up human immunity towards infections and disease by increasing phagocytosis, lymphocyte proliferation, and neutrophil chemotaxis against exogenous pathogens” (Aslam, 2017). Less than a cup of chopped red pepper will exceed your daily need for Vitamin C.
Other significant sources of Vitamin C:
Tomato, Cabbage, Oranges, Cantaloupes, Spinach, Green peas.
Yogurt feeds your gut good bacteria. 70-80% of the body’s immune cells are found in the gut. The growth of good bacteria in your gut results in a stronger immune system.
Bone broth has high amounts of collagen and gelatin when cooked down, collagen and gelatin contain glutamine. This amino acid helps maintain the barrier between the inside of your intestines and the rest of your body. Mild anti-inflammatory effect. It is useful for colds or upper respiratory tract infections.
High amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight infections and viruses. Contain a plant nutrient that helps increase natural killer cells, which are programmed to attack foreign bodies.
Garlic contains a high concentration of allicin. Allicin stimulates the production of the immune cells macrophages. These protect against infectious disease. Garlic enhances immune cell function and may reduce cold and flu severity.
Beef is high in zinc. Zinc is a nutrient that protects against and shortens the duration of respiratory tract infections (common cold). A 4-ounce (112g) beef patty has more than 7mg of zinc. The recommended daily dose of zinc is 8mg a day for women and 11mg a day for men (If exceeding the recommended dosage, harmful effects on the immune system can occur)
Hemp seeds are high in zinc. Also, Hemp seeds provide a good dose of protein and healthy fats.
Almonds are High in Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that assists with the development of immature T cells, a white blood cell that fights against infection.
Ginger is a highly recommended immunostimulant for inducing a non-specific immunity response. Ginger contains albumin and globulin, which are vital elements for maintaining a healthy immune system. The rhizome in ginger has shown to be effective in controlling a range of bacterial viral, fungal, and parasitic diseases in humans.
Green tea boosts the functioning of the immune system by stimulating the production of T-cells and is an anti-inflammatory agent.
Lemon increases your innate immune response and promotes antibacterial activity.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal actions. “Curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of a number of different molecules that play an important role in inflammation” (M. Akram et al., 2010. “Curcumin is as powerful an antioxidant as vitamins C, E, and Beta-Carotene, making turmeric usage a consumer choice for cancer prevention, liver protection, and premature aging” (M. Akram et al., 2010).
Easy ways to incorporate these foods into your diet:
Green tea with lemon, ginger, and turmeric
Yogurt topped with crushed almonds/nuts and hemp seeds
Omelet with bell peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes
Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers
These stuffed bell peppers include many of the immune-boosting ingredients discussed above -red pepper, spinach, garlic, tomatoes, and beef. Along with this recipe being immune boosting, it tastes incredibly delicious!
Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers: (4-6 servings)
6 bell peppers (seeds and tops removed)
Avocado oil spray
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 lb ground beef
2 cups spinach
1 cup frozen package cauliflower rice
2 cups of tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. In a baking dish place bell peppers in the oven. While the bell peppers roast prepare the filling. Heat a skillet with avocado oil spray. Add onions and sauté onions until soft. Add garlic and a dash of red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add ground beef and cook until the meat is brown. Drain off extra fat. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add cauliflower rice, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and dried oregano. Combine well with the meat and cook until cauliflower rice is heated through. Remove bell peppers from the oven. Stuff bell peppers with meat filling. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Place the oven on broil and put bell peppers in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese becomes golden brown on top.
Kcals: 350, Carbs: 19g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 21g, Fiber 5g
I hope you’re staying safe and well during this time. As always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about the post. I offer a six-month nutrition coaching program to help individuals achieve their nutritional goals. If you’re interested in learning more go to the link below. Thank you!
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