Top 10 Immune Boosting Foods

Top 10 Immune Boosting Foods
By Johnathan Zamora

Hard exercise, constant dieting and environmental influences place tremendous stresses on the body.   It’s for this reason that I have provided the top 10 immunity boosting foods.  This list will provide insight on the best foods to help strengthen your immune system while still allowing you to train at intense levels.

1.Green tea:Studies show that green tea reduces the risk of most types of cancer.  The phytonutrients in tea also support the growth of intestinal bacteria and wards off harmful bacteria, especially E. Coli, Clostridium, Salmonella and leave the beneficial bacteria to work its magic.  Also, it’s important to note that 70% of your immune system is found in the digestive tract.

Fit Chef’s Tip: Consume 4 cups a day to help boost your metabolism and maintain proper health.

2.Chile Peppers:Capsaican, the compound found in chiles helps to stimulate the metabolism, aids in releasing endorphins and acts as a natural blood thinner.  Rich in beta-carotene, and consequently Vitamin A, chiles help ward off infections.  The heating agent also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, giving one more reason to include these super foods in your eating plan.

FitChef’s Tip: Add ½ chile pepper to your morning eggs, giving it extra calorie-burning power.

3.Ginger:Studies have shown that that a compound found in ginger called gingerol has been shown to be helpful against colon cancer.  This is a great ingredient to add to your cooking as the flavor resembles a sweet nuttiness.

FitChef’s Tip: Juice 1 orange, add 1 tsp. of ginger and 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce for a quick and easy fish marinade.

4.Blueberries:This food has been on the nutrition radar for years and rightfully so.  Helping to prevent a bundle of diseases from cancer to heart disease, blueberries are a great way to add an instant boost to your daily meals.

FitChef’s Tip:  Mix together with strawberries and add to oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or eat them raw.

5.Cinnamon:This spice is rich in antioxidants that inhibit blood clotting and bacterial growth (including bad breath), studies show it may help stabilize blood sugar – reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.  It may also help reduce bad cholesterol.

FitChef’s Tip: Sprinkle into yogurt or on granny smith apples for a quick snack.  Feel free to add it to green tea.

6.Sweet Potato:One of the healthiest foods on the planet!  Counteracting the effects of second hand smoke and preventing diabetes, sweet potatoes contain an antioxidant that can enhance nutrient intake and boost immune system health.  These compounds also protect against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis, cancer, HIV, heart attack and stroke.

FitChef’s Tip: Slice a sweet potato into wedges and season with kosher salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.  Rub 1 tsp. of olive oil over the seasoned wedges and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees for great tasting alternative to french fries.

7.Tomatoes:High in lycopene, tomatoes are very effective at protecting against degenerative diseases.  The concentration of beta-carotene acts an a sort of internal sunblock for the body.

Fit Chef’s Tip: Add ½  of a tomato to your salads or snacks.  When using tomato products in cooking applications like chili, canned tomatoes and tomato paste work best.

8.Figs:Packed with potassium, manganese as well as antioxidants, figs also help support proper pH levels in the body.  The fiber found in these small yet powerful foods can lower insulin and blood sugar levels.

Fit Chef’s Tip: Choose figs with dark skins, as they contain more nutrients.  Eat them alone or add to your favorite trail mix.  Aim to eat 4 figs per week.

9.Mushrooms: Rich in ergothionine a compound that protects cells from harmful free radicals, mushrooms also add a woody and earthy flavor to your foods.  Experiment with various types of mushrooms like Crimini, Shitake and Portobello’s as they are a great addition to almost any meal.

FitChef’s Tip: Slice ½ cup Portobello mushrooms together with garlic, salt and pepper and a splash of red wine, which contains reservatrol and will help intensify the immunity power of mushrooms.

10.Pomegranates:A recently discovered super food, pomegranates contain elligatannins, which are found mostly in the juice and help reduce the risk of developing most cancers.  A UCLA study found that pomegranate juice slows the growth of prostate cancer cells by a factor of six.

FitChef’s Tip:  Given the relatively short shelf-life of fresh pomegranate pods, utilize them in several dishes to get the most nutrition for your dollar.  Try tossing them into your yogurt or cottage cheese; spinkle a handful into your salad or add them to a vinaigrette.

I hope you can use these tips and information to help expand your meal plans while boosting your immune systems as well.

Johnathan Zamora
The Fit Chef

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