My Top 5 Immune Boosting Foods

May 20, 2020

Two weeks ago I made my first excursion out into the “real world” in over 2 months.

I drove up to the farmer’s market to see everyone wearing the latest fashion trend. A face mask.

Tears started to swell as I took a tense deep breath. I knew what I was going into, but to see it for the first time with my own eyes had me in shock.

This is our new reality.

 

There’s a lot of fear and anxiety wrapped up in the unknowns of the current climate. Will I get sick? Will I get someone else sick? Someone I love? It’s easy to succumb to the fears and hide away.

While it’s important to listen to the guidelines suggested and keep social distancing, things are starting to go back to normal. Or a new normal. And this is creating anxiety. I know it is for me.

While we continue to take physical precautions, we can also take care of our own health and support our own body. For our own health and the health of others.

If your immune system is strong then your body will be able to fight any potential virus or other invader.

70% of the US is nutrient deficient meaning they lack many essential nutrients that the body needs to stay well. The best way to fight these deficiencies is to eat food! Food is our best supplementation.

To help you to stay healthy and well I’ve put together a list of my 

Top 5 Immune Boosting Foods.

 

1. Garlic

Garlic is a powerful immune boosting food. It has active properties that enhance immune function and protect the body from potential invaders. Garlic also supports detox in the body and feeds the good bacteria in our gut. We want to feed this bacteria because they’re the first line of defense in our immune system.

Add garlic to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! Salad dressing, pasta sauce, sauteed greens, eggs, taco meat, roast chicken or salmon. It makes everything taste better and it’s good for you too!

 

2. Nuts & Seeds

A great source of healthy fats, but also vitamins and minerals. Some of my favorites are brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds. Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium, a powerful antioxidant and another detox supporter. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, another important antioxidant which also help the body produce new immune cells.

Brazil nuts make a great snack because you only need 6 of them to get your daily intake of selenium. And I love putting pumpkin seeds in my salad for a yummy crunchy.

 

3. Colorful Vegetables

Deeply colored vegetables are packed with antioxidants which protect the body from inflammation and further support the immune system. 

The more veggies you can eat in a day, the better! And switch it up! The more variation you can fit on your plate, the more nutrients you’ll provide your body.

Some of my favorite colorful veggies are purple cabbage, carrots, watermelon radishes, red bell peppers and rainbow chard.  

 

4. Mushrooms

Mushrooms stimulate the immune system and support against inflammation. They have been used medicinally for thousands of years and recognized by modern modalities for its impressive properties.

There are many varieties of mushrooms. Some of my favorite to cook with are shiitake and brown crimini. You can use these in stir-frys, lettuce cups or chop them up and add to a pasta sauce for a meat-like flavor.

There are also functional mushrooms like chaga, lions main and reishi. These are usually found in a powder or tincture and can be added to coffee, tea, or tonic for an extra immune boost. I really like the Chaga Co. and Four Sigmatic for my functional mushrooms.

 

5. Quality Protein

If the immune system is under attack it needs quality protein to repair any damaged cells. Protein will also support detoxification and structural integrity of the immune system. Quality proteins are also packed full with extra vitamins and minerals to further support our health.

Look for the best quality protein you can afford. I recommend grass-fed, pasture raised animal proteins like eggs, beef, poultry, or lamb, or wild seafood.

Use 3-4 oz per serving to get all that goodness that quality protein has to provide.

My favorite local ranch is Stemple Creek. They raise their animals the right way, with respect for the animals and for the environment. If you are in the North Bay you can find them at the Marin Farmers market and many local groceries. They also ship straight to your door!

 

All of these booster foods are easy to find and incorporate into your daily routine.

If you need some more ideas of how to use them in your everyday cooking, here are some of my favorite recipes:

 Vegetable Bolognese with Spaghetti Squash

 Roasted Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetable Sheet Pan Dinner

Salmon tacos with Rainbow Citrus Slaw 

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