We all know that a balanced diet, exercise, and getting a good night’s sleep are crucial for maintaining health. If you are looking for additional ways to boost your immunity, your kitchen cupboards and your pantry are a great place to start!
Most of us likely have access to a variety of antiviral foods that can easily be incorporated into everyday snacks and meals—some of them can even be brewed as a tea. These foods not only help fight off existing illness, they also support and protect healthy cells so that your body is better able to defend itself against infections from the get-go.
Let’s see what items you might already have on hand and how they can prepare your body to overpower a viral attack.
|Coconut Oil (Extra-Virgin, unrefined)||Contains medium-chain fatty acids with the ability to destroy microorganisms; helps dissolve the outer lipid (fatty) membranes of a virus|
|Elderberry||Stimulates the immune system; hinders ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells; helps reduce upper respiratory symptoms caused by viral infections|
|Garlic (raw)||Contains powerful antiviral compounds (allicin, diallyl trisulfide, and ajoene) which can destroy microorganisms; stimulates the immune system; hinders growth of viruses such as influenza, herpes, and HIV|
|Ginger (fresh)||Contains gingerols, shogaols, and zinerones, which can prevent viruses from attacking healthy host cells and hinder viral replication; strengthens cells in the respiratory tract and combats respiratory viruses|
|Green Tea (Matcha)||Contains a variety of antioxidants (flavonoids, catechins, and polyphenols) which can help combat viruses such as influenza, herpes, and HIV; boosts the immunity of healthy cells|
|Lemon||Hinders the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses by affecting their ability to replicate|
|Mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, reishi)||Contains beta-glucans (sugar-like molecules) that strengthen the immune system and hinder ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells|
|Oregano (fresh or liquid oil)||Contains the antiviral compounds carvacrol and thymol, which can slow down a virus and help eliminate it from the body|
|Spirulina||Contains the protein cyanovirin-N, which hinders ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells|
|Turmeric||Strengthens healthy cells; hinders ability of a virus to replicate and attack healthy host cells|
|Yogurt (with live cultures)||Floods gut microbiome with “good” bacteria to help combat growth of viral infections; relieves influenza symptoms|
Other foods known for their antiviral properties:
- Black walnuts
- Olive leaf
- Star Anise
Salads and Smoothies and Stew—Oh my!
The prevalence of antiviral ingredients at home makes it easy to boost your immunity by making simple changes to your daily menu. Many antiviral foods can be used as sandwich or salad toppings, or they can be added to soups, stews, casseroles, and smoothies. If any of the foods listed above are not yet part of your regular cooking repertoire (or supplement regimen), you might enjoy experimenting with some new recipes or jazzing up some old favorites!