Guest authored by certified nutritionist Kara Swanson of Life Well Lived

Although it looks different than times past, the school year has begun. In spite of the uncertainty, we know it will require a new schedule, more flexibility, and different routines than before. If you’re not careful, the stress of it all could get the best of you. And that’s why it’s more important than ever to make your health a priority. 

A strong immune system will keep you on your feet so you have the energy to keep up with the demands of these unusual times. But we don’t have to overcomplicate it. In fact, food is the best way to boost your immune system. 

Choosing the right foods to lower inflammation and boost your immune system will help you stay healthy and thrive. Plus, it will help lower stress and anxiety levels too!

Read on to learn my top 5 immune-boosting foods to add to your diet: 

1. Turmeric

Turmeric has been shown to be the single most anti-inflammatory food. Consuming just a 1/2 tsp a day decreases inflammation and boosts the immune system. 

I personally love adding turmeric to my daily smoothie bowl but now that the weather is changing I love making a turmeric latte to get my daily dose of turmeric. Just whisk ½-1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp pure maple syrup, a dash of cinnamon, and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk in a saucepan over the stove until warm and you’ve got yourself a comforting immune-boosting drink.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables

We know eating our veggies are important but did you know we can lower inflammation with cruciferous vegetables? It’s true! So load up on purple cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts to reap the benefits. Plus, those who eat more fruits and vegetables are least likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection like the common cold or influenza.

3. Nutritional Yeast

If you haven’t tried nutritional yeast, now is the time. It’s a cheesy tasting yeast that I love sprinkling on just about anything. It’s high in B vitamins and the yeast beta-glucans appear to have immune-strengthening effects and help lower physical and mental stress. 

My girl’s love when I sprinkle it on their steam broccoli or green beans. It’s also tasty on air-popped popcorn.

4. Dark Chocolate

Good news for us chocolate lovers! The cacao found in dark chocolate and the phenolic compounds inside the cocoa actually strengthen the defenses of our immune system. On the flip side, sugar lowers our immune functions and makes us more susceptible to getting sick. So be sure to grab some dark chocolate because it tends to have less sugar. 

My favorite dark chocolate is JoJo’s Dark Chocolate. It’s low in sugar and the perfect way to crush my sugar cravings! You can use code KARA10 to save you money.

5. Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C rich foods are an easy and cheap way to boost your immune system. Add an orange or grapefruit to your next meal or squeeze some lemon in your water for a delicious way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C.

You may feel like everything seems a bit out of control but the good news is that we have control over our nutrition and what we put into our mouths. With each bite we cast a vote for or against our health. Try to incorporate all of these foods daily into your nutrition to create a strong immune system.

What’s one immune-boosting food you can incorporate into your diet today?  

To learn more about healthy eating made simple, visit Life Well Lived. Learn how physical therapy at Breathe. can help you feel energetic, vibrant and active! 

Kara Swanson Life Well Lived Breathe. Physical Therapy and Wellness