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What are Superfoods?

What are Superfoods? While there isn’t a strict definition of what a superfood is, the term most often refers to nutrient-rich foods that are considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being, including for healthy immune system support. Some examples of superfoods include leafy greens like kale, berries, garlic, shiitake mushrooms and herbs like turmeric and ginger. What Makes a Superfood a Superfood? What makes these foods so special? For starters, they provide a concentrated dose of essential nutrients—such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and fatty acids—which you must obtain from your diet since your body can’t make these nutrients on its own. When it comes to immune system health, superfoods that contain nutrients like vitamin C and probiotics seem to be especially helpful. If you normally eat a “clean diet,” meaning you avoid processed foods and opt for whole foods, then you’re likely already eating some superfoods regularly. However, there’s always room for improvement, so let’s look below at some of the best superfoods for maintaining a strong and healthy immune system. Best Superfoods for Immune System Health Superfoods can help take a balanced diet to the next level because they’re chock full of antioxidants, phytonutrients, and other compounds that boost your body’s ability to defend itself via the immune system. Another way in which they support gut and immune system health is by providing fiber and probiotics, which are “friendly bacteria” that help support overall health. Additionally, many superfoods like vegetables and fruits have a high water content, which means they help support proper hydration, plus they are typically low in calories, helping to keep your appetite and waistline in check. Where should you start? To help strengthen a healthy immune system, try to “eat the rainbow” by including a variety of different colored foods in your diet, which indicates you’re obtaining different nutrients.

Begin by adding these 12 superfoods to your meals more regularly 1. Leafy Greens Like Kale Leafy greens (such as arugula, kale, collard greens, spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard) are loaded with phytonutrients that support strong immune defenses, as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, fiber, and more. These veggies are among the best at boosting antioxidant defenses and promoting a healthy inflammation response. They also support detoxification, digestion, and potentially even healthy weight management. 2. Blueberries And Other Berries Much like greens, berries are superstars when it comes to their supply of vitamin C, antioxidants like polyphenols and anthocyanin, fiber, and vitamin A. They can help defend against free radical damage that can damage bodily tissues, plus they’re linked with heart and gut support. Blueberries and other berries hav 3. Fermented Foods Yogurt (and kefir) are good souces of probiotics, which support immune health by balancing the ratio of microbes living in the gut and helping with digestion and elimination. There are a number of vegan yogurts and kefir. Other good vegan sources of probiotics include Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha, Pickled Vegetables, Tempeh and Miso. 4. Citrus Fruits Fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are very high in vitamin C, which can help promote healthy immune defenses. Vitamin C also supports collagen protein in maintaining a strong gut lining. The gut is where the majority of your immune system resides. 5. Avocados Avocado provides heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which your body needs for a variety of purposes, including for absorbing other vitamins and for keeping your energy up. This fruit (yes, technically a fruit) is also full of fiber, potassium, magnesium and even some antioxidants that support healthy blood flow, muscle function and more. 6. Broccoli And Other Cruciferous Veggies Veggies in the Brassica/cruciferous family including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cauliflower, and cabbage are great sources of protective compounds including glucosinolates, which fight oxidative stress and help maintain a healthy balance of microbes in the gut. 7. Mushrooms Mushrooms are good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals, fiber, anti-inflammatory compounds, and immune stimulating compounds such as beta-glucans. 8. Onions These tasty veggies—as well as related types like chives, garlic, and leeks—have natural beneficial properties thanks to sulfur compounds they contain, as well as antioxidants like alliinase and quercetin. 9. Garlic Garlic, especially when eaten raw, provides you with unique and powerful compounds including allicin and disulfides that fight harmful bacteria and offer antioxidant effects. 10. Flaxseeds As a great source of fiber and healthy fats, flax seeds contribute to gut health by “feeding” beneficial bacteria in the gut and by helping with elimination. Flaxseeds, (along with hemp seeds and chia seeds), are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids which promote a healthy inflammation response. 11. Teas: Green Tea, Black Tea, Herbal Teas Green tea is a top source of antioxidants which can ward off oxidative stress, give you a boost in energy when you’re feeling run down, and support a generally healthy metabolism. Matcha tea, a form of green tea, has about 3 times the antioxidants of regular green tea. Black tea, which is a fermented green tea, has slightly less antioxidants than Green tea, containing about 60% of antioxidants of green tea. Hibiscus tea is even higher in antioxidant than Green tea. Other herbal teas are good sources of antioxidants as well. 12. Turmeric and other culinary herbs Turmeric contains the active ingredient called curcumin, which promotes a healthy inflammation response. Not only this, but it offers other potential benefits for joints, skin, and cognitive health, especially when paired with black pepper which improves absorption of turmeric’s compounds. The majority of culinary herbs have super-food properties as well and offer anti-oxidantants and immune-stimulating and immune protective properties. Human culture naturally evolved its cuisine to favor food and seasonings that enhanced health and offered survival advantages.

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