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25 Immune-System Boosting Foods and Recipes to help us support our bodies, bolster our immune system and keep us healthy or help minimize the symptoms if we do fall ill. Full of healthy probiotics, prebiotics, polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, immunity-boosting recipes can easily be incorporated into our everyday diet.
If there’s one thing to know about the human body; it’s this: the human body has a ringmaster. This ringmaster controls your digestion, your immunity, your brain, your weight, your health and even your happiness. This ringmaster is the gut.~ Nancy Mure
Hi friends. Besides sleeping well, lowering anxiety, exercising, and getting outside, what we consume can help boost our immune system, increase our chances of staying well, and even help minimize symptoms if we fall ill. Food truly is medicine and I just thought I’d share a few things I personally use to support my immune system.
What are Immunity-Boosting Foods?
Immunity-boosting Foods are those that feed and support our Microbiome (our gut) our first line of defense against disease and illness, and nourish our bodies with vitamins and minerals, and are rich in polyphenols.
- Foods rich in PROBIOTICS (Naturally fermented foods like Kimchi, Kraut, AC Vinegar, Yogurt, Miso, Tempeh, Kombucha, Sourdough, etc.)
- Foods high in PREBIOTICS (organic fruits and veggies- asparagus, apples, artichokes, garlic, onion, cold potatoes, raw green beans, Jerusalem artichokes, slow metabolizing starches like beans, sweet potatoes).
- Foods rich in polyphenols (spices, berries, red fruits, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, mushrooms, green tea, dark chocolate, organic coffee)
- Anti-Inflammatory foods (turmeric, ginger, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, fruits, leafy greens)
- Foods high in MINERALS.
Our TOP Immunity-Boosting Recipes
Probiotic-Rich Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics that support our gut microbiome which can build immunity. If you have been here a while, you’ll know how much we love fermenting things around here –hot sauce, kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, beet kvass, etc., not only because it’s a fun thing to do, but for the health benefits. AND Fermenting is actually very simple and easy! Don’t let the idea of it scare you off. Anyone can do this, seriously!
Kimchi! This recipe for Kimchi (a Korean-style fermented cabbage, kind of like Kraut, only more flavorful) only takes 30 minutes of hands-on time before mother nature takes over! Full of healthy probiotics to help boost immunity.
HOW TO MAKE KIMCHI!| 60-sec video
Simple Cultured Cabbage (Sauerkraut!) A delicious tangy addition to many dishes. Brimming with gut-healing probiotics, cultured cabbage is easy to make at home with just two ingredients!
Sourdough bread! Believe it or not, sourdough is a “fermented food”! Using sourdough starter and organic flour, increases the health benefits of bread and decreases gluten intolerance. Here’s an EASY recipe for No-Knead Sourdough Bread that rises overnight and is baked in the morning. Want to make your own sourdough starter? Learn how here!
Beet Kraut! A simple, easy, small-batch recipe for Beet and Cabbage Sauerkraut that anyone can make using a mason jar takes only 20 minutes of hands-on time. Full of good healthy probiotics that will energize the body, boost immunity and help support the gut.
Water Kefir! A fruit-infused, slightly fermented, bubbly sparkling fruit water (kind of like Kombucha but way easier) and full of healthy probiotics to energize, boost immunity. Infuse with any fruit you like!
Fermented Pickles! How to make Fermented “Kosher” Dill Pickles! A simple recipe for making the most flavorful, crunchy, tangy, garlic dill pickles with only 15 minutes of hands-on time. The pickle brine is a probiotic “tonic”- drink it daily for energy, and to help boost immunity. Simple easy instructions!
Curtido! A fermented Salvadorian Slaw (like Kraut) made with cabbage, carrots, onion and oregano. Simple to make, full of healthy probiotics! Use on Tacos, Pupusas, quesadillas or enchiladas as a delicious healthy condiment!
Fermented Hot Sauce! This simple recipe for Fermented Hot Sauce uses fresh chilies with no special equipment and only 20 minutes of hands-on time! Use spicy peppers or mild peppers- up to you. The flavor will blow you away! So tasty!
Turmeric Sauerkraut! Fermented Turmeric Sauerkraut- this small-batch recipe is full of immunity-boosting probiotics and can be made in 3 days! Fast, simple, and easy!
Apple Cider Switchel. The simplest thing you can start doing today is drink apple cider vinegar water – a healthy, energizing, probiotic drink made with apple cider vinegar (w/the “mother” in it), lemon, and ginger -to boost immunity, help with digestion and increase energy!
This flavorful Miso Mushroom Bowl is packed full of goodness- brown rice, avocado, cabbage, carrots, daikon, edamame and a Miso Ginger Dressing. Vegan and Gluten free!
Tempeh! Made from Fermented Soy Beans, tempeh is a great source of Probiotics. This Blackened Tempeh Salad (or wrap) with Avocado, Kale, Radishes, Pickled Onions and Creamy VEGAN Cajun Ranch Dressing can be made into a hearty entree salad, grain bowl, or packable wrap.
Oxymel! Made with just 3 ingredients, this Oxymel is an easy home remedy full of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to heal and soothe sore throats, coughs, and colds. Perfect to make when sage is in abundance and a lifesaver to have on hand. A simple, clean recipe made with common ingredients.
Foods High in Prebiotics
Prebiotics feed our good gut bacteria. Let’s keep them healthy and thriving by keeping them fed and noursihed! Here is a list of prebiotic foods to start adding to your diet to help support and grow the good bacteria in your gut. A word of caution… if you are not used to eating prebiotics, start off slowly, and in low doses. These may be harder to digest if your gut lacks “good” gut bacteria. Add gradually…
Asparagus Salad with Fennel, Almonds and Lemony Leek Dressing. This vegan salad can be made ahead, a perfect side to fish, chicken or tofu. Raw asparagus is particularly good in feeding gut bacteria.
Beans and Legumes feed our good gut bacteria. This recipe for Mushroom Lentil Stew with Fennel and Sage is earthy, hearty and richly spiced. Delicious and vegan!
These Veggie-loaded, Baked Sweet Potatoes are infused with Oaxacan flavors, served over optional Mole Sauce. Healthy, flavorful and perfect for Sunday meal prep. Vegan-adaptable! Gluten-free.
Foods High in Polyphenols:
Plants, spices, and herbs tend to have the highest antioxidants. Berries are particularly high in polyphenols as well as green tea and cacao. Seek out colorful organic produce- deep reds, purple, orange, deep greens, and golden yellows! Eat the rainbow. 🌈 Here is a list of the 100 richest polyphenols.
You’ll probably be surprised at what is at the top of the list. Since I read this, I’ll add a pinch of this ingredient to my morning coffee!
Blueberries and Berries!
Packed full of polyphenol-rich ingredients, this Vegan Glow Bowl! is not only delicious and satisfying it helps us glow from the inside out!
This Polyphenol-rich salad is loaded up with Pomegranate Seeds, quinoa, avocado, parsley and toasted Almonds…a healthy vegan gluten-free salad to your everyday or holiday table! Get the Holiday Crunch Salad.
This recipe for Masala Chai is the perfect vehicle for high-polyphenol spices! This recipe uses whole spices, the way they make it in India!
This Matcha Green Tea & Pineapple Smoothie with Kale is not only an instant mood lifter and energizer, but it is also full of healthy antioxidants!
Foods high in Turmeric:
Turmeric Detox Broth Soup Turmeric is soothing and healing, full of powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that calm and restore the body, giving it a little support. This soup is highly adaptable, add what you want to the flavorful Turmeric broth.
Jamu Juice ( Turmeric Tea) Jamu Juice- Indonesia’s all-natural, Anti-inflammatory Elixir- made with turmeric, ginger, honey and a squeeze of lemon. Serve this hot or cold! Heals and soothes the body, simple easy recipe!
Foods high in Vitamin C
Like this Citrus Avocado Salad are also immune-boosting foods!
This Moroccan-inspired Citrus Salad with dates, arugula, mint, pistachios, and toasted coconut is dressed in the most flavorful Citrus Shallot Vinaigrette. It’s deliciously juicy and vegan and full of healing antioxidants.
How can I boost my Immune System Quickly?
- Reduce inflammation-reduce foods that cause inflammation in your body, highly processed foods, alcohol, too much sugar or seed oils.
- Cook from scratch and eat a diverse range of whole foods -organic fruits & veggies, berries, grass-finished meats, wild fish, whole grains, etc.
- Eat fermented foods: (probiotics) Foods alive with healthy bacteria- homemade kraut, pickles, kimchi, yogurt, etc.
- Eat Prebiotics: Slowly-Digestible Starches -organic beans, legumes, sweet potatoes, organic whole grains.
- Supplement with vitamins & minerals if needed. Always test your levels first- don’t just take them willy-nilly. Our soil is becoming deprived of minerals so it is harder to get these through food- as our ancestors once did.
- Take care of your mind. Reduce anxiety and fear in the way that works best for you- exercise, meditation, mindfulness practice.
- Move your body. even walking is beneficial.
- SLEEP- adopt a sleep practice.
- Glyphosates (herbicides) are often used on non-organic fruits and veggies, grains ( ie, flour), beans, and on seed oil crops (canola, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower, safflower, etc.). Research shows that glyphosates cause gut dysbiosis when overly ingested. 70% of our food in America is treated with glyphosate.
- Ultra-processed foods. Loaded with refined sugar, calories, refined flours, and no real nutrients, they feed our “bad” gut bacteria, ultimately messing with our hunger hormones and driving us to crave them even more.
- Seed oils. New studies are showing that overconsumption of seed oils (oils high in Omega 6- corn oil, soy oil, canola oil, sunflower, safflower) are making us sick, inflamed and vulnerable to disease. The scary thing is these inflammatory oils are in everything… even so-called “healthy foods” like organic hummus. Cutting out ultra-processed foods and fried foods will greatly reduce your exposure. Stick to olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, grass-fed, organic butter and ghee at home.
- Mineral Deficiency
- Low Stomach acid
- Too much alcohol
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Stress: Too much stress and too little rest/sleep are probably the most taxing on the immune system. Turn the news off, and find your peace. You know how to do this.
Vitamins & Minerals to Boost Immunity
Try to consume nutrient-dense foods- high in vitamins and minerals.
- Zinc – Oysters, Lamb, Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Crab, Tofu, Lentils & Beans, Oats, Yogurt, Mushrooms and chocolate
- Magnesium– Dark Chocolate, nuts, avocado, legumes, leafy greens, seeds, bananas
- Vitamin D– sunshine always the best! Salmon, maceral, tuna sardines. Mushrooms placed in the sunshine for 4 hours will absorb vitamin D.
- Copper– Bee pollen, shiitake mushrooms, liver, oysters, dark chocolate, crab, blackberries, chickpeas, cashews
- Vitamin A– Carrots, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Sweet potatoes, Cantaloupe.
- Vitamin E– Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, hazelnuts, beet greens, collard greens, spinach, avocado, bell peppers
- Vitamin C– Bell peppers, citrus fruit, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, strawberries,
- Vitamin K2– Kale, Chard, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Spinach
- B-Vitamins– Salmon, Leafy Greens, Liver, eggs, clams, mussels, oysters, legumes, Yogurt, Nutritional Yeast
- Selenium-Brazil Nuts, yellowfin Tuna, Oysters, Beef, Chicken, Tofu, Shiitake Mushrooms, Shrimp.
As always, be gentle with your bodies, you want to support and bolster your immune system- with moderate daily changes- and not overly stress it or challenge it by doing anything extreme.
Gently daily care friends.
PS. If you happen to notice cravings- for example, Dark Chocolate cravings, this may be a sign you are deficient in minerals- magnesium, zinc, copper. A word of caution, some chocolate is high in toxic heavy metals- lead and Cadmium. Please read this: Lead and Cadmium could be in your chocolate.
25 Immune-Boosting Foods and Recipes to help us all stay healthy plus Turmeric Shot
- Calories: 90
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