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What are some immune-boosting foods?

A:

Quick Answer

Some immune-boosting foods are elderberries, oysters and wheat germ. Other foods that have immune-boosting properties include sweet potatoes and mushrooms. All of these foods contain minerals and nutrients that help the immune system work more effectively in different ways.

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Full Answer

Elderberries contain a large amount of antioxidants, which help prevent inflammation and promote good overall health. As of 2015, some lab studies indicate that elderberry extract may be able to block the flu virus, although more research still needs to be done in this area.

Oysters and other types of shellfish are also good for boosting the immune system, due to the high amounts of zinc and selenium they contain. These nutrients activate the white blood cells intrinsic to the immune response and promote the production of cytokines, proteins that help clear viruses out of the body.

Certain varieties of mushrooms are also effective at boosting the immune system, including button, shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms. Button mushrooms in particular contain selenium, riboflavin and niacin, all of which play important roles in strengthening the body's immune response. Mushrooms also increase the production and activity of white blood cells and makes them more aggressive at fighting viruses.

Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. This nutrient plays a major role in strengthening the skin, which is the body's first line of defense against illnesses. Vitamin A works by absorbing free radicals that are damaging to skin, improving the look and elasticity of skin as well as the immune system.

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