3 of Our Favourite Immune Boosting Superfoods

3 of Our Favourite Immune Boosting Superfoods

It’s that time of year again. The weather has started to cool down, and as winter starts to tighten its grip on us, cold and flu season is in full force.

While we’re exposed to bacteria, germs and viruses all day, every day, no matter the time of year, when the weather cools it seems like people are more susceptible to illness.

The cold weather and rain during this time of year does play a part in this, but not in the way you might think.  When it’s cold, we tend to spend more time indoors and in confined and enclosed spaces, which can increase the risk of infection if someone is already unwell. Viruses and bacteria tend to live longer in colder temperatures too.

To avoid getting sick one of the best things you can do is ensure that your body’s number one defence system – the immune system – is well supported. And one of the best ways you can do this by eating nutrient dense foods.

Today, we’re going to tell you about some of the greatest immune boosting foods superfoods that you can add to your diet. But before we do that, let’s talk about what your immune system actually is.

What is the immune system and what does it do?

If you’re the kind of person who rarely gets sick, you’ve probably had someone say that you must have a strong immune system (or if you get sick often, you may have heard the opposite).

While you might appreciate the compliment, when you take a step back, do you actually know what is meant by the immune system.

We mentioned earlier that the immune system is your body’s natural defence system – the first line of defence – against germs, bacteria, infections, viruses, and everything else. However, what the immune system actually is, is quite remarkable.

Your body’s immune system is made up of cells, tissues, organs, antibodies, white blood cells, bone marrow and much, much more. It’s a complex network that works together to fight off infections and illnesses that try to infiltrate the body.

One of the remarkable thinks the immune system does, besides keeping you fighting fit, is that is actually remembers or keeps a record of every microbe (which is a germ) that it has had to fight against. It uses these records to recognise these microbes if they try to enter the body again and effectively, fights them off, so you can avoid getting sick.

When your immune system is working well, you won’t even notice when germs and bacteria are trying to make you sick. However, if your immune system is not well supported or you have abnormalities that impact it, you may find yourself getting sick regularly.

But you can support your immune system and its functions with the right immune boosting superfoods.

What is a superfood?

A superfood is one that offers high nutritional density, so essentially, it provides a large amount of nutrients like minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and a low level of calories.

There is a wide range of foods that are considered superfoods, with a large portion of them being plant-based.

While superfoods have these high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it’s important to not rely solely on superfoods to do the hard yards. It’s best to incorporate them into a balanced diet.  and rather, eat them in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet.

What makes a superfood good for the immune system?

The high levels of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in superfoods all contribute to keeping our bodies healthy by supporting various functions. When it comes to supporting your immune system, some of the key nutrients that can help include:

  • B Vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Protein

Each superfood contains different levels of various nutrients, which is why it’s important to not go all in on one type of superfood.

Our favourite immune boosting superfoods

Here are some of the most nutrient dense superfoods that could do wonders in supporting your immune system.

Elderberries

While we’re sure you would have heard about blueberries when it comes to superfoods, one superberry that has somewhat flown under the radar is the elderberry.

Native to Europe, elderberries have been used around the world for hundreds of years as a natural remedy to stave off illnesses and diseases.

They were traditionally either eaten or turned into a syrup and used to treat people suffering from the flu and other infections.

What makes them great for immune boosting is that they have a huge number of free radical fighting antioxidants in them, as well as vitamins A, B and C.

A simple way to get your elderberry fix is with Freeze Dried Elderberry Powder. Just add a teaspoon to hot water and you’ve got some elderberry tea.

Find out more about elderberries and their goodness here. 

Pine Needles

For centuries, herbalists in China, Europe, Japan and Korea have turned to pine trees to promote health and vitality. The pinecones, sap and needles have all been used in various ways, with pine needles having even been used to fight off scurvy in sailors back in the 16th Century.

These days, pine needles are celebrated due to their abundant levels of antioxidants, vitamins, anti-inflammatory properties and flavonoids.

They contain incredibly high levels of vitamin C, which promotes the production of white blood cells. The antioxidants in pine needles help to protect the white blood cells from free radicals. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce inflammation that you may experience, which if left unchecked can impact your health negatively. And the flavonoids in pine needles help to regulate cell activity and help your body function more efficiently.

As you can imagine, each of these functions is important for the immune system.

To add pine needles to your routine, all you need to do is brew 2-3g in hot water and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. When you’re starting out, we suggest steeping for closer to 5 minutes as the flavour won’t be as strong.  

Find out more about pine needles and what they can do for you here

 

Maca Root

The maca is a crucifeous root vegetable that is actually related to turnips and radishes. Though its related to these common vegetables, you’re not likely to find it at your locally supermarket.

Native to central Andes in South America, you’re most likely going to find it in a powdered form here, which actually makes it super easy to add to your regime – you can mix it into smoothies, coffee or hot water.

What makes maca root so potentially beneficial for your immune system is that it is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a plant substance that is able to interact with areas of the body, like glands and hormones, and help our bodies manage the way we respond to stress. They go to work wherever they are needed in the body and help to balance our internal systems.

While adaptogens can help create balance internally, they aren’t meant to be solely relied on. They work best for us in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet.

Learn more about maca and its benefits here

Get Your Immune Strengthening Superfoods Today

If a boost for your immune system is what you’re after, you can get any of these superfoods, as well as plenty of others, from us here at Superfoods Australia. We’ve got a huge collection of organic and ethically sourced superfoods available to be shipped anywhere in Australia. We’ll even express ship orders over $100 for free.

Get your hands on Australia’s best superfoods from Superfoods Australia.

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