Today it is known that several factors affecting the proper functioning of our immune system: from stress, lack of sleep, and physical activity to certain environmental conditions and a poor diet.
Thus, in a context where health is the priority, a nutritious vegan diet has taken on special relevance.
For example, different organizations around the world are providing advice on eating an affordable, nutrient-rich diet while staying at home, and articles on foods that help support and boost the performance of immune system defenses are published daily in all the media around the world.
We are already in the middle of summer yet, winter is coming no matter what. It is normal at colder weather time to have some concerns about catching a cold or having the flu.
And yet another more effective way to protect ourselves, apart from sheltering well, is by supporting our defenses so that they stay hearty and can strive against any pathogen that causes any type of imbalance in our wellness.
Winter is a season when we are most prone to colds, flu, and other ailments that avail of any deficiency of the immune system to attack.
“In the same way that there are vegan foods that stimulate the functionality of the immune system, there are others that can weaken it” explains Beatriz Larrea, Health Coach specialized in holistic nutrition.
“It is vital not to overuse sugar, pastries, fried foods, and trans fats. By avoiding them, the body will be healthier, more active, and ready to fight the winter epidemics ”, concludes Larrea.
“When you are not feeling well, leaving the house is the last thing you want to do. Luckily, Beatriz has advised us to give HormoPhobia readers the best guidance on what to the best vegan immune system boosters to reinforce our defenses in wintertime, recommending dishes with the most nutritious vitamins and minerals.
Vegan SuperFoods & Immune System Boosters
Food as medicine is an idea acknowledged since old times. The fundamental assumption is that having the right foods (and eliminating unhealthy choices) can enhance your body’s self-healing abilities.
The word “recipe“, for example, comes from a Latin origin that formerly meant “to take.” The prescription was used in the Middle Ages to refer to instruction or medical prescription, inspiring the pharmaceutical abbreviation Rx.
And the effect of food on boosting our immune system is pretty serious. With each nibble we pick, we can intentionally decide what messages we assign to our genome and choose whether we boost or impair our immune systems.
Healthy vegan diets are mainly obtained from living plants that normally have their own self-healing and regenerative techniques.
Actually, our bodies can relate so much to plants, as our sensitivity to diseases and illnesses increases when we don’t get adequate essential nutrients, our environment is corrupted, or we don’t get enough sunlight.
1. Fermented Vegan Foods
Almost 70% of the immune system’s performance depends on the wellbeing of our intestinal flora. Fermented vegan foods like kefir are packed with enzymes and microorganisms that boost the immune system.
- Miso Soup: This Japanese national dish, prepared from the paste made with fermented soybeans, is loaded in probiotics, propitious for intestinal health, and one of the best vegan foods to boost the immune system.
Other immune system boosters of the vegan fermented foods are natto, kimchi, miso, tempeh, pickles, and olives.
It is one of the nutrients that Eastern turn to whenever they seem ill. It battles infections, such as those of the esophagus, and is also can provide big relief in case of vomiting.
Its aromatic aftertaste is owed to gingerol, of the family of capsaicin (which is what creates some peppers to tingle), which defeats lingering pain and has cholesterol-fighting characteristics, as confirmed in various animal studies.
- Ginger lemon tea: There are manifold reasons why you should drink this every day when you wake up.
- On the one hand, we should all drink enough fluids (eight glasses of water, minimum, every day). This helps keep all body functions and metabolism running.
- The warm water is particularly stimulating, and the juice of a lemon with a few thin, freshly cut ginger slices will boost your immune system (and let’s not mention the delicious taste of this drink, which is an ultimate vegan diet boost immune system booster.
- In addition, the vitamin C of lemon is a good antioxidant that supports our immune system to deal with bacteria, fungi, and infections.
- Ginger is also resistant to microbes.
- Finally, lemon can help you add more alkalinity to your body
- Ginger lemon tea: There are manifold reasons why you should drink this every day when you wake up.
To extract the most essence, use a large pot, and bring to a boil. You can add chopped fruits to give variations to the flavor. Drink it as it’s still warm.
It is one of the primary ingredients of many curry dishes. But this bright golden color and somewhat sharp flavoring have been utilized in several societies as an anti-inflammatory remedy for rheumatoid and bone arthritis.
An up-to-date study has discovered that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives this spice its tone, is a healing compound that can majorly assist in relieving muscle injury that may be caused when some over-exercise.
Ibuprofen is usually one of the most commonly prescribed pills for cold or flu.
What if an alike result could be obtained from a wholly natural product?
Ginger and turmeric are two potent anti-inflammatories that further boost the immune system.
4. Cruciferous Vegetables
The name may sound strange, but in reality, crucifers are a family of vegetables that includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. In addition to being seasonal products, they protect against different common pathogens and pollutants in cities.
- Consume more cruciferous vegetables to boost your immune system as vegans such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, as they build the number of lymphocytes in our guts.
These greens carry loads of phytonutrient that, when meeting with stomach acid, stimulates the lymphocytes of the colonic epithelium.
5. Coconut and Coconut Oil
Coconut is not just for summertime! In addition to being renowned for the thyroid and metabolism, coconut oil is loaded in lauric acid, which is transformed into monolaurin in the body.
And what is monolaurin? It’s the same composite that is included in breast milk and that helps to stimulate the body’s natural immunization.
6. Local, Organic Seasonal Raw Vegetables
Vegetables are the best vegan allies to boost your immune system. To make the most of their qualities, make sure they are fresh, organically grown, and unprocessed or cooked (but well-cleaned of course).
7. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are among the most salutary antioxidants in the plant kingdom, as well as having less sugar than many fruits. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, or tangerines spur, thanks to vitamin C, the stock of white blood cells.
Those white blood cells are the soldiers building our immune system army essential to fighting infections.
Citrus fruits are highly recommended to fight colds. For its part, citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, perfect for restraining colds. Including them in your morning smoothies will make them even more delicious.
Since the body does not generate or store vitamin C on its own, it is crucial to eat foods that contain it on a daily basis.
Selenium, along with the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, to name a few are of the vital elements to boost the immune system. They are additionally abundant in polysaccharides, sugar molecules that support immune system performance.
It is no accident that the mushroom flowering accords with the colder days. Mushrooms strengthen the immune system as they hold sturdy compounds named beta-glucans, capable of boosting body natural defenses.
9. Chlorella Or Spirulina
One of the exceptional unknown vegan superfoods, yet despite that, chlorella is the goddess of detox diets.
This freshwater algae promotes processing more oxygen to our bodies and cleanse the organs from toxins that may hinder our immunity causing many health problems.
10. Green Tea
When it comes to antioxidants, nothing surpasses the dynamism of green tea. Particularly the famous Japanese Matcha tea and the Indian Tulsi tea. Both kinds incorporate up to 17 times more antioxidants than berries.
Green tea contains compounds called flavonoids, which are a type of essential antioxidant. Yet, what makes green tea even more powerful in boosting our defenses is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a more robust antioxidant that enhances immune function.
The fermentation method of black tea mostly kills the most part of such powerful compounds. That’s why green, non-fermented, is the choice to go with when it comes to tea
Furthermore, green tea is a great source of the amino acid L-theanine, which adds to the creation of germ-fighting segments of white blood cells.
It is not needed to fly to exotic realms to obtain vegan foods that boost our immunity. The humble, everyday garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, fungicidal, anticancer, and reduces bad cholesterol levels. Of course, it is best to take it raw and fresh.
12. Camu Camu
Camu Camu is an Amazonian bush that stands out for carrying the most transcendent reservoir of vitamin C on the planet!
A single teaspoon presents 1,180% of the recommended daily dosage of this efficacious vitamin needed to combat malady, primarily in cold winters!
Camu Camus is reputedly one of the best vegan foods to boost the immune system.
The amount of vitamin E almonds have is the essence to support a healthy immune system. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, that is adequately absorbed to boost immunity. Both almonds and walnuts and other nuts have the same qualities as well.
About 46 raw almonds with skin give about the whole of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E.
It has a flavonoid compound called anthocyanin, which gives it its inky tint, with antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. They are exceptionally helpful for boosting the respiratory tract immune system.
One study found that people who ate them in abundance were less likely to have respiratory infections and colds.
15. Sweet Potatoes
It is rich in beta carotene, which in turn produces vitamin A, which is remarkably beneficial for the skin and limits harm caused by ultraviolet rays. Sweet potatoes are low in calories and have a healthy amount of healthy fiber perfect for intestinal health.
16. Dark chocolate
Its secret to boosting the immune system is theobromine, which shields white blood cells against free radicals attacks.
Free radicals are particles that the body organs emit during the food digestion process or if it gets into contact with contaminants that usually contributes to the growth of cancer diseases.
- However, it is not recommended to overuse dark chocolate as an immunity booster as it is high calories and saturated fat.
Its abundant content of vitamin C is not its foremost quality. It is rather valued for its antioxidants and beta carotenes, which works on boosting the immune system’s ability to battle diseases. They boost cell distribution and repair their DNA.
- They need to be eaten cooked though to get the greatest out of their advantages. It is not so useful totally raw, as cooking it releases the vitamin A content and lets other nutrients to get rid of oxalic acid.
18. Wheat Germ
It is the inner section of the grain of this seed and its foremost quality is its richness in zinc and vitamins E and, especially, B6. As demonstrated in many studies, the deficiency of the B vitamin group would cause vegan immune system problems against diseases.
This autumn fruit has proved to be powerful in hindering the germination of bacteria such as E-coli, salmonella, listeria, and many others, in lab searches.
Some of its ingredients are also deemed to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth that commences the increase of dental plaque and gum infection.
It also has antiviral qualities, which fight influenza, herpes, and other illnesses, it supports the growth of the intestinal flora that adds to improving bio vegetarian immune system support.
Not only that kiwis hold numerous nutrients vital for the body, but they also contain folate, potassium, vitamin K, and C, which boost white blood cells to resist diseases.
A single portion of this fruit can accommodate 224% of the significance of vitamin C that we need to ingest daily. It also has compelling enzymes named papains with anti-inflammatory impacts.
It gives substantial quantities of potassium, vitamin B, and folate, profoundly advised for overall wellness.
22. Red Pepper
It is one of the richest vegetables in vitamin C. Holding twice the values, for instance, that of citrus. Another major addition it makes to the body is beta carotenes, highly praised for the health of eyes and skin.
23. Sunflower Seeds
Phosphorus and magnesium are just two of its constituents, add to that vitamin B-6 and E, which are highly antioxidant and vital for supporting the immune system performance. So as the avocados and leafy greens.
Potassium, vitamin A and C are its credentials as a vegan diet boost immune system boosters; but it additionally has vitamin B and glutathione that support its functionality.
This common vegetable is abundant in quercetin, a mighty antioxidant. It further contains anthocyanins, another potent antioxidant. Onions are additionally kenned to overcome high blood pressure and are excellent for treating allergies.
This fruit is the choicest natural source of lycopene, one of the well-known antioxidants on earth, useful in restraining tumors, especially of the prostate. It is moreover plentiful in beta-carotene and fiber useful for intestinal health.
Vegan Diet and Immune System Problems
5 WAYS FOR A VEGAN TO BOOST WEAK IMMUNE SYSTEM
The immune system is key to good health. When it is in good condition you will experience fewer illnesses.
Eliminate refined sugars
These are enemies of a healthful immune system. Studies show that they can weaken our immune system and prevent it from working well.
This is one of the main problems that other triggers in modern life. We live busy, we do not maintain regular rhythms, we drink coffee before going to sleep … all this is reflected in poor sleep regimen, and this results in a weakened immune system.
As well as tendencies to obesity and heart problems.
During the day, the brain stores toxins that are eliminated during sleep, and when you don’t get enough sleep, they accumulate and create irreversible long-term immune system problems.
Each body is different, but it is advisable to sleep around eight hours a day. Many free apps will help you calculate your sleep time (what time to go to bed, or what time to wake up), and that will help you have a better quality of sleep.
People who had slept less than 7 hours were 3 times more likely to get sick than those who had slept 8 hours or more. In fact, those who had gotten enough sleep were 3 to 5 times more likely to fight infections and inflamations.
- Lower the temperature: people tend to sleep better in the cold.
- Block the light: the dark will always be better to rest. And above all, sleep at night, not during the day. Our circadian rhythms are genetically programmed for this.
- Get at least seven or more hours of rest each night. Lack of rest for several days in a row leads to colds.
If you don’t, you will suffer the consequences later. Stress is one of the main causes that influence the immune system. The best way to resist it is by incorporating relaxation activities into your daily life. Practicing breathing exercises and meditation will help you feel good and support your body defenses.
Eat vegan foods that help to boost the immune system
For example, garlic, ginger, lemons, miso, kale, shiitake mushrooms, and chili peppers.
Keep your system alkalized
Eat more alkalizing vegan foods and meals that generate less acid. Keep your system well hydrated with enough water.
- Examples of highly alkalizing foods are fresh vegetables, lemons, and beans.
- Acid-generating foods include animal products, sugars, and refined flours.
A plant-based diet with fresh, organic foods will help you have better health throughout your body.
Eating fewer calories has been found to be directly related to better health. This does not mean that you should starve yourself.
All you have to do is know how to maybe try intermediate fasting, or decrease your calorie intake to the minimum amount your body needs to stay well (you’d be amazed at how few you need comparing to what you actually consume on a daily basis).
Visit a nutritionist, check your body thoroughly, and lower the food: you will notice how you get sick less as you boost your immune system by doing so.
Doing moderate physical exercise, in addition to being propitious for your general health, also improves the immune system and reduces the chances of getting sick.
That is to say that, in case of having a cold, those people who exercise regularly, heal between 25% and 50% faster.
You do not have to do it every day, but if you do some exercise at least three times a week
- not only will you stay with more energy and sleep better
- but you will digest your food better
- you will eat with more appetite
- your blood will circulate better
- and your defenses will remain in better condition to face the threats we are exposed to on a daily basis
Walk, jog, do push-ups, stretch, do yoga, martial arts… Find something you like and make a ritual of it. You will feel much better, you will age slower and you will extend your life (with quality, of course).
Exposure to cold
Believe it or not, exposing yourself to low temperatures allows the immune system to be strengthened impressively.
A Russian doctor named Sergei Bubnovskiy discovered that soaking your feet in ice water for a little less than half a minute before going to sleep is a habit that strengthens your defenses as much as a good diet, an exercise routine or good sleep hygiene.
There is also a method for this, known as Wim Hof, which uses cold exposure, breathing, and exercise to achieve this effect (see more at this link ).
Therefore, to boost the immune system it is important to base our vegan diet on products of plant origin and eat legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains every day. Both diet, physical exercise, and sleep are key aspects to enjoy good health.
Vegan Immune System Problems And How To Overcome Them
The second step, in addition to knowing how to cook (it is very difficult to be vegan without doing it, as you may have already realized), is to take care of your immune system and strengthen your body.
The latter, because by being vegan you are detoxifying your body and adapting it to a new regimen, and this can cause imbalances.
So let’s look at a series of healthy foods and habits that can help you strengthen your defenses so that you stay away from hospitals and emergency rooms.
Such as those found in soy yogurts or supplements, as they can help both prevent the frequency of colds and reduce symptoms and their duration.
The most advisable thing is to feed the beneficial bacteria that we already have in the intestine walls with prebiotics unless the intestinal flora has been altered by taking antibiotics or by intestinal infection or diarrhea, in which case the intake of probiotics is recommended.
Where are they?
Probiotics are found in dietary fiber, which is only found in foods of plant origin such as vegetables and fruits.
Also, if eaten raw, you can get both prebiotics and probiotics. Vegetables and fruits are covered by millions of Lacto-bacteria, some of them being the same ones that are used as probiotics in the industry.
Therefore, a good way to boost our immune system is by increasing the daily servings of vegetables and fruits.