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5 Foods to Boost Your Immunity

This versatile ingredient is a potent immune-booster and is additionally used to treat nausea, an upset stomach, pain and inflammation. Similar to a solid SoulCycle class, ginger can increase perspiration and thus detoxify our bodies. Sweat contains a protein called dermcidin that has antimicrobial properties, boosting our immune system. Additionally, research from the University of Miami found that ginger extract may eventually be a substitute to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Easy ways to incorporate ginger into your diet: Make tea by taking a fresh chunk of ginger (leave the peel on) and pour hot water over it, then lemon and a squirt of honey. Or try adding fresh ginger to a smoothie or baking it into your favorite winter treat. 

Citrus foods are high in vitamin C, which promotes production of white blood cells and is essential for fighting infections. While vitamin C is crucial to our continued health, our bodies do not produce or store it, so consumption is critical. Recent studies have indicated that citrus fruits protect the body through their antioxidant properties and strengthen the immune system.                                                 
Easy ways to incorporate citrus foods into your diet: Eat half a grapefruit at breakfast (pair with a protein such as Greek yogurt), or a grab a juicy orange for a snack.  

Choose yogurts that contain active and live cultures (also known as probiotics or “good bacteria”), which have been shown to stimulate the immune system. A study reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that these cultures could help fight disease and boost the immune system.
Easy ways to incorporate yogurt into your diet: Yogurt is the perfect food for breakfast, lunch or a snack. Fortify yours with high fiber toppings such as fruit and nuts to increase satiety and fullness.  

This bright yellow spice contains an active ingredient called curcumin, which is an antioxidant that demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties. A study conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center confirmed that turmeric consumption can reduce inflammation, as well as fight infections and some cancers and treat digestive issues.
Easy ways to incorporate turmeric into your diet: Add a pinch of the spice to your morning omelet, or mix a tablespoon into your brown rice or quinoa dish. You can also add it to cauliflower to make the always-popular “popcorn cauliflower” dish. 

Cayenne pepper is considered an immune system booster because it has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Capsaicin is the primary chemical active component in cayenne pepper, and it’s rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Just like it does in citrus fruit, vitamin C prevents and fights colds and produces white blood cells — aiding and improving the immune system. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan found that the carotenoids in cayenne pepper increase the body's production of two key proteins for immunity: interleukin and interferon
Easy way to incorporate cayenne pepper into your diet: Sprinkle your vegetables or favorite protein with red pepper flakes for a spicy immunity-enhancing kick, or drink a fresh pressed juice that incorporates cayenne (such as The Juice Press Ginger Fireball which also contains ginger and citrus fruits).

Tali Pines MS, RD is the founder of Tali Pines Nutrition and a longtime SoulCyclist. You can follow her on Instagram @talipinesnutrition. 

TOP PHOTO CREDIT: @cahmun on Instagram. See more HERE.

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