AZ Sports Medicine: Foods for Boosting your Immune System


With the flu season peaking in spring, it is important to protect yourself against colds and the flu. Of course, washing your hands and staying away from those whom are sick will help you the most this season. Eating right will promote a healthy immune system able to fend off sickness. Our Phoenix sports medicine experts are here to give you a list of the best immune-boosting foods for you:

  1. Yogurt

Beyond being tasty, yogurt is one of the best foods to improve your immune system. The dairy product contains probiotics, which are strains of “good” bacteria that can help your digestive tract. The bacteria will help maintain your digestive tract’s immune system and defenses against sickness. Additionally, yogurt contains calcium and vitamins B-2 and B-12, which can improve your overall health. Calcium is good for bones, vitamin B-2 provides enzymes to help the activation of other vitamins, and vitamin B-12 helps by maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Next time you are at the grocery store, consider picking up yogurt to help fend off sickness. Yogurt that has a 30 to 50 percent calcium content is best; avoid artificial sweeteners as they are not healthy. Stay away from yogurts labeled “heat-treated” because it means their treatment of the yogurt killed all the bacteria that will help your immune system!

  1. Oats

Oatmeal is a staple breakfast food. But beyond its tradition are health benefits. Oats contain beta-glucan, a fiber found in yeast, oats and barley. Nearly all immune cells in your body have receptors designed to take beta-glucans and prevent infections.

Add oats to your breakfast when you are looking for a good source of fiber and an immune system boost. Eat them cooked as oatmeal, dry over yogurt or even try a tasty overnight oats recipe.

  1. Garlic

We all know garlic is effective at warding off vampires, but it can also be used to keep the flu away. One clove of garlic contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium and more that 100 sulfuric compounds, to help kill bad bacteria and infections, according to experts. Eating garlic as a garnish, uncooked, will provide the most health benefits.

Add a garlic clove or two to your stir fry or spaghetti sauce to add some flavor and help combat pesky bugs.

  1. Almonds

Studies have shown that naturally-occurring chemicals in the skin of almonds can boost your immune system’s response to infections. Additionally, the scientists at the Institute of Food Research in Italy said their findings suggest almonds can increase the immune system’s ability to fight off a wide variety of viruses, including the flu and common cold.

Eating a handful of almonds can help your immune system fight off incoming viruses. You can also add them to your breakfast cereal, oatmeal or yogurt. Almonds and berries are a perfect snack and great source of fiber, not to mention a quick and easy snack to pack when traveling.

  1. Mushrooms

Last, but not least, are mushrooms! Physicians and nutritionists say that mushrooms can provide beta-glucans and important antioxidants. These antioxidants help prevent cell damage and defend against damaging diseases and sicknesses.

Nutritionists and scientists say that many mushrooms are considered acceptable for consumption and will help support a healthy immune system. Some experts say that the best way to eat mushrooms for their benefits is by cooking them at high temperatures to kill off bad bacteria and germs. Shitake and Reishi mushrooms are popular at markets and can be added to almost any dish.

Staying healthy is not only about exercise, but treating your body as a whole. Having a healthy diet can help prevent sickness and promote muscle and bone strength.

Our experts at Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy know how to help get you on the right health track. If you have questions about your nutrition and physical fitness, make an appointment today! To learn more about Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, and what our certified experts can do for you, check out the Foothills blog.


Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy