With the recent virus scare, it’s become even more important to know how to boost your immune system. Harvard Health Publishing states that healthy-living strategies can help keep your immune system functioning properly: The usual things like exercising regularly, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in protecting you from illness. You should also quit smoking, reduce stress, and be mindful about washing your hands.
You can supplement a healthy lifestyle with some drinks to boost your immune system:
Water. According to Harvard Health Publishing, drinking fluids “is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation.” Water is a great, zero-calorie way to stay hydrated and is especially important when you’re sick to help fight infection and replace lost fluids.
Lemon water. If water is a little too boring for you, you can bring in a little flavor by adding Vitamin C-rich lemons to your water (the juice of half a lemon or more). According to an article published in the journal Nutrients states that Vitamin C “contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions” among other health benefits. Hydration plus immunity? Win-win! (Take note that the acid in lemon can erode tooth enamel so be sure to drink plenty of plain water, too.)
Ginger tea. Ginger is a spicy rhizome that’s long been used in folk medicine to relieve nausea and pain, among other ailments. It’s also thought to reduce inflammation and improve immunity. Double up its powers by mixing lemon into your ginger tea.
Turmeric tea. The bright orange-yellow spice used in curries comes from a rhizome in the ginger family, and thus its benefits are quite similar to ginger. Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin, which has been shown to be a source of antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress, which lead to diseases. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology found that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects on ailments like arthritis, asthma, and heart disease may be “due in part to its ability to modulate the immune system.”
Echinacea tea. Echinacea is an herbaceous flowering plant native to the U.S. A review published in the journal Phytomedicine found evidence that the extracts from the plant “demonstrate significant immunomodulatory activities.”
Matcha tea. This bright green tea from Japan is a highly concentrated, supercharged version of green tea. Research suggests that it keeps illnesses like heart disease, hypertension, and even cancer at bay. Bonus: It contains more caffeine than your average tea, it can keep you alert without the subsequent caffeine crash that you might get from coffee.
Juices. Many people struggle to meet their recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. In fact, according to research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 9% of adults get enough vegetables and only 12% get enough fruits. It’s important to meet your daily requirements not only to keep your immune system functioning well but also to help lower your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
While whole foods are the best choice, it can be a struggle to consume the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1.5 to 2 cups of fruits per day. So, including a nutrient-rich, immunity-boosting juice can help you hit your target.
Before juicing up, keep in mind that some juices—even all-natural ones—can be high in sugar because of the concentrated content. So instead of guzzling it throughout the day, keep your juice intake moderate, and mix your fruits with vegetables. You can pick a juice for your immune system below:
- Orange – Nothing like a good old-fashioned glass of OJ to get more Vitamin C. You can mix it with other citrus fruits like grapefruit.
- Apple, carrot, orange – This contains the immune-boosting goodness of Vitamin A, B, and C.
- Green juice – Try experimenting with vegetables like kale and celery.
- Beetroot and carrot – Throw in some ginger for more antioxidants and a bit of a flavor kick.
Smoothies. With smoothies, you get the added benefit of fiber from your fruits and vegetables. Experts advise that you go for polyphenol-rich berries as well as low-sugar options like apples.
These drinks to boost immune system on top of a healthy lifestyle can do much not only to keep you from catching the common cold or new viruses but can also help protect you from chronic illnesses.