12 Super Foods That Boost Immune System and How You Can Include Them In Your Family’s Diet
Foods have been traditionally used as medicine across many cultures all around the globe since the beginning of time. Many of the foods we eat have super food characteristics and tons of health benefits.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Hippocrates
12 Superfoods that will boost your immune system for overall health and wellness.
Garlic has been used for thousands of years all around the world as a food ingredient as well as a medicine. It is a natural immunity booster and can protect against cold and flu. One study conducted gave 146 healthy volunteers either garlic supplements or a placebo for three months. The garlic group had a 63% lower risk of getting a cold, and their colds were also 70% shorter. (source)
Ways you can use garlic
- Eat it raw – The best way to get all the health benefits that garlic has to offer is to eat it raw. If you can handle it’s intensity, then chow down.
- Cook with it – Adding garlic in your cooking is the next best way to get all of the health benefits. Peel and either crush or mince the garlic and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. This helps to maximize all the medicinal properties. Add it into sauces, soups, sautés and rubs. The more cloves you use, the more health benefits you get.
- Make a garlic tea – Add 2-3 cloves of garlic (cut in half) to water and boil. Cover and let seep for 10 minutes. Add some honey and lemon for a super immunity booster. Sip and enjoy. This is especially good for when you are feeling under the weather.
- Treat ear infections – Many ear infections are caused by viruses which are unaffected by antibiotics. Thousands of children unnecessarily take antibiotics each year to treat ear infections. Most children can fight an ear infection on their own within 24-72 hours. But in the meantime, you can make a garlic and oil solution to alleviate symptoms.
How to make Garlic and Oil Ear Solution
- Heat 3 tablespoons of high quality olive oil and a fresh garlic clove minced in a sauce pan on low heat for about 20 minutes
- Strain the garlic and let the oil cool to body temperature
- Add 2 drops to the infected ear
You can accomplish the same thing by mincing raw garlic and letting it sit in the olive oil for 2-3 hours.
If you don’t want to make a homemade version, Herb Pharm makes an Ear Oil to relieve pain from an ear infection.
Onions are loaded with numerous health benefits and scientists are still discovering how healthy onions really are. They contain vitamin C, B6, iron, folate and potassium. Onions are an anti inflammatory and anti-bacterial have been proven to relieve cold and flu symptoms. The good thing about onions is they don’t lose health benefits when they are cooked. It transfers over to the foods so go ahead and add it in all your recipes. Majority of the healing properties are in the outer layers of the onion so discard as minimal as possible.
How to use onions to treat illnesses
- Ear infection – Heat the onion in the oven for about 15 minutes on 300. Wrap it in a towel and place it over the infected ear. You will feel immediate relief.
- Onions on the bottom of your feet – When you come down with a cold or flu, slice an onion into rings, place them at the bottom of your feet and put on your socks. Sleep like this overnight. The onions purify the blood, remove toxins and heal your body.
- Onion air purifier – Folklore believed that cut up onions remove toxins, viruses and bacteria from the air. If you place a cut up onion in a bowl and place around your house during cold and flu season, the antibacterial properties in the onion will suck the germs out of the air.
Honey has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that can help boost your immune system and fight illnesses. I give my kids honey when they have a cough or a sore throat. You can put a teaspoon of honey in a hot cup of tea or give it by the teaspoon. Caution – honey shouldn’t be given to children under 1 year old.
You want to avoid those cute commercial honey bears you see lining supermarket shelves. They are nothing more than honey flavored corn syrup that have ZERO healing properties.
The healthiest types of honey are
- Raw honey – It’s unpasteurized and unfiltered and has the most healing properties. I get this raw honey for my family.
- Local honey – It contains nectar of local flora and particles from pollen from the area. When you take local honey your body naturally desensitizes itself to dust, mold and pollen in the air. Local honey is great if you suffer from seasonal allergies.
- Manuka honey – Manuka Honey is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush and it has tons of medicinal properties. It is anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory and has been proven to defend against infections, colds and flu. I buy this Manuka honey at the beginning of every school year.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has a unique blend of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It also has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. Drinking just a small amount of this liquid gold can have a ton of health benefits. It’s good for gut health, it aides in digestion and it’s good for your skin, helps you lose weight and lowers blood sugar.
How to incorporate ACV into your diet
- Drink a daily super cocktail of lemon water with 2 tablespoons (or whatever you can take) of ACV
- Add it to your salad dressings, marinades and home made bone broths.
What is the best ACV to buy?
You don’t want to buy any old ACV you see on store shelves. You want to buy a high quality ACV that has the most health benefits. I buy Bragg Organic, Raw, Apple Cider Vinegar. You will see remnants of the apples floating around the bootle. It doesn’t sound, or look too appealing but that’s the liquid gold that contains all the health benefits.
Turmeric has been a part of the Indian culture for nearly 4000 years as a culinary spice, healing property and it held some religious significance. It is a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal and antioxidant and should be a part of your immunity boosting regimen.
You want to make sure you buy a high quality, organic ground Turmeric or fresh Turmeric root. I like Simply Organic Turmeric.
How you can add turmeric to your life
- Cook with it – You can add it to most of your recipes from omelets, stews and vegetables.
- Add it to your smoothies – Add a pinch to your smoothies. It doesn’t alter the taste just the color.
- Turmeric Tea – Dr. Weil recommends drinking a Turmeric tea. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and then stir in ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric or fresh grated turmeric. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes and strain before drinking. You can stir in honey or fresh lemon juice for added flavor.
Ginger has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat colds and stomach issues including nausea. It is an anti-bacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Two natural antibiotics have been found in ginger and it has been proven to inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria including the RSV virus, the cause of respiratory infections.
How you can incorporate ginger in your life
Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, as an oil or juice.
- Fresh – My favorite way is to buy fresh ginger. You can find it in the produce section of your local supermarket. Scrape off the skin and cut the ends off. (best way to peel the skin is using the back of a spoon). Cut if up and use in stir fry’s, smoothies and tea. I like Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Tea or I make my own.
- Ground Ginger – Buy a high quality, organic ground ginger and add it to all your favorite soups and stir fry’s to add a delicious flavor to your meals as well as immunity boosting health benefits.
These green superfoods contain high levels of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant and help fight off infections. They also contain iron, folate and fiber which have tons of immunity boosting properties.
How you can add greens to your life
- Sautee in garlic, high quality olive oil with a dash of sea salt add it to your favorite dish or use as a side dish.
- Add it into your smoothies, salads and omelets.
You may not think of mushrooms as an immunity boosting super food, but they are loaded with immunity boosting properties. Medicinal mushrooms have been used in eastern medicine for thousands of years. They are a good source of vitamin B, iron and selenium. Mushrooms are an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and cooking them releases their healing properties.
How you can incorporate mushrooms in your life
- It is best to buy fresh or dried mushrooms. Be wary of canned mushrooms as they may have a lot of sodium.
- Sautee them, add to stir fries, soups and broths or as a pizza topping.
Bone broth is a superfood and has become a staple in my kitchen especially during the winter months. It aides in digestion, reduces joint pain and inflammation, it has high amounts of calcium and magnesium, improves immune system and protects against cold and flu. I cook with it, or drink it hot like a cup of tea.
Bone Broth Recipe
- Place bones in a sauce pot. You can use any bones from chicken, beef, pork, even fish just be sure the bones are from organic, grass fed or pastured animals. (I mostly use chicken bones that I save from previous meals. You can collect and freeze bones.)
- Fill the pot with 2/3 filtered water and about 1/2 cup of Apple cider vinegar – let it sit like this at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes, as this pulls the nutrients out of the bones.
- Add vegetables – onions, carrots, celery and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and let cook for about 10-24 hours.
- Let the broth cool, then strain, add some sea salt for added flavor, and jar in mason jars
- These can be kept refrigerated 5-7 days, or freezer for up to 6 months.
For more on bone broth click here
Green tea is loaded with nutrients and naturally occurring antioxidants that help prevent cell damage. It can improve brain function, burn fat, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and lowers your risk of cancer. It can interfere with iron absorption so it’s best to consume green tea between meals not with meals.
You can also use green tea to treat tired mom eyes. Click here to read about how to rejuvenate tired eyes.
Berries are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, they have vitamins A, C and E which prevent cell damage and reduce risk of diseases. Resveratrol is found in grapes, particularly grapes that are used to make red wine. It’s known to reduce inflammation, prevent clogged arteries and protect against cancer. So go ahead and enjoy a nice glass of red wine. It’s good for your health.
Goji berries are loaded with tons of health benefits, such as iron, fiber, vitamins A and C, zinc and antioxidants. Whole Foods Market has Goji berries in their bulk section or these are a nice sweet snack.
Sweet Potatoes are high in an antioxidants, vitamins, iron, calcium and selenium. They are known to boost immune system, treat inflammation, control diabetes and are particularly effective in treating bronchitis.
Here are some ways I make Sweet Potato’s for my family
- Sweet Potato fries – Cut evenly, spread on baking sheet (don’t overcrowd), drizzle with olive oil, bake on high heat, flip half way through, add sea salt when done, let cool
- Baked Sweet Potato – Puncture fork holes around potato, bake on high heat until tender, let cool, cut open and add your favorite toppings.
- Mashed Sweet Potato – Boil in a large pot of salted water until tender, mash while adding milk until desired consistency, add butter and brown sugar.
- Air fryer Sweet Potatoes – Dice into cubes, drizzle with olive oil, add sea salt, place in air fryer. I cooked mine on 400 for 15 minutes, turning occasionally. but cook time depends on the size of your potato’s and size of your air fryer.
Potato Tip – Soak your potatoes in cold water for at least 1 hour, to remove some of the starch from inside the potato. Rinse and pat dry.
What are some superfoods you incorporate in your family’s diet? Leave me a comment below.
Hi there! I'm Danielle, mom blogger, visionary and dreamer.
I'm on a mission to help moms create a Simply Pure life of Joy + Balance + Optimal Health & Wellness for ourselves and our families.
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