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Immune System: Foods To Add & Avoid

"Let food be thy medicine" is an ancient saying that modern science has recently proven. When it comes to health and immunity, not all foods can heal; in fact, some can harm! Your immune system plays a critical role in maintaining your overall health, so nurturing and supporting it with the right dietary choices is essential.

Cruciferous Vegetables

A group of plants with flowers shaped in a distinctive "cross" configuration, known as cruciferous vegetables, contains potent healing sulfur-based compounds. These vegetables, including broccoli, kale, collards, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, watercress, and horseradish, have been found to be particularly beneficial for the immune system. The sulfur compounds responsible for their characteristic scent and sharp flavor have been shown to enhance the immune system's ability to detoxify and promote the production of glutathione, one of the body's best detoxifying compounds. In today's increasingly toxic environment, where our bodies are exposed to a multitude of harmful substances, supporting the immune system's natural detoxification process is crucial.

Immune System Super Healers

Another group of plants that can significantly boost immune function is adaptogens. These lesser-known heroes contain a wide range of special immune-modulating compounds that assist the body in recovering from stress, reducing inflammation, and facilitating cell repair. Adaptogens have been revered in various cultures as "super healers" from their indigenous or ancient medicine systems. While there are numerous adaptogens to explore, some of the more widely recognized ones include turmeric, ginseng, ginger, and reishi mushrooms, along with lesser-known but equally potent options like Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Schisandra berry, and moringa. Each adaptogen boasts unique healing properties traditionally used to address different health conditions or imbalances.

Immune System Antioxidant-Rich Foods

The third category of foods that can effectively fortify the immune system against diseases and promote overall health comprises antioxidant-rich plants. Our bodies undergo daily wear and tear due to factors such as stress, environmental factors, unhealthy dietary choices, and even smoking, resulting in oxidative stress, a significant contributor to aging. To counteract this, incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into your diet is essential. Beyond cruciferous vegetables and adaptogens, there are nutrient-dense "superfoods" that are high in antioxidants. These foods are often characterized by the vibrant colors of their leaves and skins, hence the recommendation to "eat the rainbow." Berries, pomegranates, spinach, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, red lettuce, and olives are prime examples of such naturally protective antioxidants. These foods are rich in antioxidants and abundant in essential vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants play a pivotal role in combating oxidative stress, reducing overall bodily wear and tear, and mitigating the effects of aging. Some antioxidants even exhibit powerful cancer-prevention properties. Boosting your immune system, slowing down the aging process, and preventing diseases can be achieved by incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet while reducing the consumption of inflammatory ones.

Here's a list of 10 foods to consider adding to your fridge and pantry:

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables
  2. Adaptogens
  3. Olive Oil
  4. Berries
  5. Walnuts and other tree nuts
  6. Red, Orange, and Yellow Peppers
  7. Ginger
  8. Turmeric
  9. Green Leafy Vegetables Such As Spinach
  10. Blueberries

On the flip side, it's essential to be mindful of foods that can cause inflammation. Here are ten foods to avoid:

  1. Sugar
  2. Salt
  3. Standard Cooking Oils
  4. Trans fats
  5. Red Meat
  6. Processed Meats/Cold Cuts
  7. Refined Carbohydrates
  8. Artificial Sweeteners and Flavorings, such as aspartame and saccharin; Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  9. Alcohol
  10. Conventional Dairy Products

Finally, if you're looking for foods with the highest levels of antioxidants, consider adding these options to your diet:

  1. Small red beans
  2. Blueberries, wild
  3. Red kidney beans
  4. Pinto beans
  5. Blueberries, cultivated
  6. Cranberries
  7. Artichokes
  8. Blackberries
  9. Raisins
Incorporating these immune system-boosting and antioxidant-rich foods into your daily meals can go a long way in promoting better health and vitality. Curious to learn more? Check out our blog post on SIBO: What is it? Three D Wellness primarily focuses on addressing the root causes of gut disorders, autoimmune conditions, thyroid issues, and hormone imbalances, all of which can be underlying factors contributing to weight gain. BeU2fullness Weight Liberation Program is one aspect of their comprehensive approach to weight loss and well-being. Click here to learn more about Three D Wellness.
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