3 Immune-Boosting Summer Foods To Fight Off Illness
As the weather warms, many people gear up to enjoy as much sunshine and time in the great outdoors as possible. This is especially true for those that live in four-season climates. The cold weather is gone, and enjoying the summer is everyone’s top priority!
It’s hard to see summer as a time to get sick, because flu season is typically the time many people will fall ill, but it’s still important to boost your immune system during the summer months – especially if you don’t want to waste any beautiful days fighting off a cold.
Eating in season is a great way to get as many nutrients as possible to keep the body running at its best. There are some foods that are better than others when it comes to boosting the immune system, too. So, what foods should you eat to keep your body in fighting shape? Read on to learn about some top immune-boosting summer foods.
Is the immune system stronger in the summer?
The immune system and its strength tends to vary by the season. This is because the way our genes behave differs depending on what time of the year it is. Research shows that some genes are more active during the winter months, whereas others come out to play during the summertime. This change can have a great impact on how the immune cells in the body act.
One particular study found that the ARNTL gene was more active in the summer than in the winter. Why is this so interesting? Because this specific gene has the ability to suppress inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body senses a pathogen and gears up to fight it off. Since the gene is more active in the summer, the study shows that inflammation will be higher in the winter. When inflammation is higher, the body is more susceptible to developing diseases. From this we can deduce that the immune system may be stronger in the summer – but it does depend on your genes and how they react at different times of the year. The study also found that gene behavior varied among people living in opposite hemispheres of the world.
Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why certain genes become more active in the summer months, they theorize that it could be because of several factors such as daylight exposure and temperature.
How can I boost my immune system in the summer?
There are many ways to increase how well your immune system responds to pathogens in the summertime. The first way is by getting moving. Exercise has been shown to be a vital component to immune health, and spending time exercising outdoors can increase the power of immune cells. Studies have shown that moderate exercise undertaken regularly can help to increase immune function – and the great news is that exercising in the summertime can be a lot easier because of the good weather.
Being outside in the sunshine is also a great way to boost immune function because of the added intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D is synthesized in the body from the sun’s rays, and deficiencies in the nutrient have been shown to hinder the way the immune system functions. By simply getting out in the sun, you can increase your vitamin D and thus encourage a health immune response if you do run into any pathogens.
Getting out into nature is also easier during the summer, which can be great for the immune system. Studies have shown that there is a deep connection between nature and overall health.
Seasonal summer foods that will boost your immune system
There are many good foods to eat during the summer, but the best ones are those that will help encourage a healthy immune response. Here are our top three immune-boosting summer foods.
Melon varieties such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon are all great options for summer foods that can help your immunity. They have a high water content, which helps keep the body hydrated – and hydration is vital when it comes to immune health.
Watermelon is especially good for immune health because it contains nutrients such as vitamins A, C, B6, lycopene, amino acids, and antioxidants. Antioxidants help to combat oxidative stress, which can weaken the immune system, and vitamin C is especially important for immunity.
Berries aren’t just delicious – they pack a nutritious punch, too. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all great choices when it comes to immune-boosting summer foods. They are all full of vitamin C, phenolic, and antioxidants.
Blueberries specifically are great for fighting off inflammation and free radicals because they contain anthocyanins, which can help to regulate immune function.
Tomatoes come in several different varieties – cherry, plum, roma, and brandywine, to name a few. They are great to eat in almost anything; they can be roasted on the grill, tossed into salads, or even eaten on their own. They are a versatile summer fruit that you should be eating if you want to boost your immune system.
Because of their high content of vitamin C and lycopene, tomatoes can help to strengthen the immune response. They also contain other nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E as well as potassium and carotenoids. Carotenoids convert into vitamin A, which is vital for promoting an enhanced immune function.
This summer, try sitting back and relaxing with a few of these immune-boosting summer foods to ensure you can enjoy the season to the fullest without worrying about catching a pesky summer cold.