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10 Best Foods To Boost Your Immune System

Posted by Jessica Chu on

10 Best Foods To Boost Your Immune System

Food has a significant impact on your health and well-being. No doubt, you are what you eat! If you are looking for ways to boost your immune system, especially in times of a global pandemic, you need to plan your meals to include immune-boosting foods. A weaker immune system means you have a lower chance to fight against diseases successfully.

Support your body by consuming a well-balanced diet that includes fiber, minerals, vitamins and proteins. Supporting your immune system is particularly important during the current pandemic of coronavirus. 

Here are some foods that you must add to your daily routine to boost your immune system. 


Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are one of the best immunity-boosting foods. Citrus fruits are laden with vitamin C. This food group has potent health benefits as they are rich in antioxidants and have potent anti-inflammatory effects. Vitamin C is also said to play a role in white blood cell production, which are vital role players in our immune system. Remember, though; the body cannot store vitamin C as it stores other nutrients.

So, you need to have a steady intake of vitamin C daily to produce viable results. Some famous examples of citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, clementines and tangerines. Eat them as a whole, drink their juice or squeeze on top of your salads to reap the maximum benefit!


Red Bell Peppers:

Did you know that red bell peppers are an even richer source of vitamin c than citrus fruits? Yes, that’s true! As mentioned above, vitamin c acts as an antioxidant that fights all free radicals, which are unstable molecules known to damage the immune system and even the DNA.

Some researches also suggest that vitamin c can help boost immunity in people under significant stress. Red bell peppers also contain beta carotene's, which are great for promoting general health by keeping the eyes, skin and mucous membranes healthy - skin is the first line of defense against foreign particles such as viruses and bacteria. 


Turmeric

Turmeric has been crowned as the super-food spice for inflammation and pain! This immunity-boosting food has been in use for ages and has been a part of many curries and other dishes. Turmeric has a high concentration of cur-cumin, which has strong immune-boosting properties. Adding turmeric to your daily diet can reduce the chances of cold and flu. 


Spinach

Spinach is another fantastic immunity-boosting food. Spinach is a super-food loaded with tones of nutrients. Other than being the perfect fuel for Popeye, spinach is excellent for bone health, immunity, eyes, skin and even hair. It is rich in protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.

Spinach is also packed with vitamin c and beta carotene's, which reduce inflammation and increase disease-fighting cells. To increase the absorption of nutrients from spinach, its best to pair it with a healthy fat such as coconut oil.

 

 

Remember that all dark leafy vegetables such as kale and arugula have the same benefits as spinach. Like broccoli, it’s best to cook spinach as little as possible to preserve all its nutrients. 


Broccoli

Broccoli is another immunity-boosting food which is rich in many vitamins and minerals. To name a few, broccoli is packed with high quantities of vitamin A, C and E along with fiber and many other antioxidants.

If you are currently trying to lose weight, broccoli might be the perfect alternative as it is packed with healthy nutrients and lots of fiber to keep you filled. Broccoli is best eaten raw or lightly cooked to maintain all its nutrients. 


Garlic

Garlic is a very common ingredient in every chief’s recipe all around the world! Other than adding a great flavor to your food, it comes loaded with immune-boosting nutrients such as allicin. This seemingly small but packed with immune booster food is known to fight and destroy bacteria and infections.

Research suggests that garlic reduces the chances of falling sick and shortens the recovery period for many illnesses. Studies have also shown that garlic is excellent for lowering blood pressure, and for slowing down the hardening of arteries. 


Ginger

Ginger can boost your health in many ways. Ginger is packed with paradols, gingerols, shogaols and zingerone - all of which are potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. Studies proved that ginger extracts could reduce inflammation for many immune disorders such as asthma rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger is also a potent antiviral and has amazing antibacterial properties. Some people suggest taking ginger shots with lemon and honey every day to give your immune system the boost it needs to fight viruses and bacteria effectively. 


Papaya 

Papaya is also an immunity-boosting food that is rich in vitamin C. One papaya alone fulfills 224% of the daily recommendation of vitamin c. This means that even one-quarter of papaya is more than enough to meet your everyday needs.

 

Other than vitamin c, papaya is a rich source of vitamin B, potassium and folate, which are great for overall health. 


Sunflower Seeds

Who would’ve thought something as small as sunflower seeds would be so packed with nutrients! Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E and powerful antioxidants. Research suggests that vitamin E and antioxidants improve immune function. Research has also shown that vitamin E is excellent to avoid upper respiratory tract infections, which happens to be a problem of this season. So if you feel peckish or want to snack, dump those crisps and instead, pick up some sunflower seeds. They are healthy and the need of the hour!


Shellfish

Shellfish may sound like a peculiar source to boost your immune system, but it stands true that shellfish such as crabs, lobsters, clams and mussels are a rich source of zinc. Zinc plays a vital role in the immune system by helping to maintain immune cells and healing wounds. Remember, though; you do not need to overeat shellfish as daily recommendation suggests about 8-11 mg of zinc depending on your gender and age. Other rich sources of zinc include white meat and legumes.

Other than indulging in these foods, here are some other all-natural ways to give your immune system a boost it truly needs.

  • Sleep for 8 hours and learn how to manage stress
  • Avoid smoking 
  • Minimize alcohol
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Take probiotics 
  • Soak some sunlight

Your immune system will not boost within a day. It requires consistent efforts. Pay attention to your body and understand the signals it is giving. Eating right is a great way to start. With time, incorporate other immune-boosting methods to protect it from all foreign invaders. 

 

 






References: 


WebMd. ND. Health benefits of ginger

https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-health-benefits-ginger

de Lima RMT, e., 2020. Protective And Therapeutic Potential Of Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) Extract And [6]-Gingerol In Cancer: A Comprehensive Review. - Pubmed - NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30009484> [Accessed 26 March 2020].

Nafiseh Shokri Mashhadi, M., 2020. Anti-Oxidative And Anti-Inflammatory Effects Of Ginger In Health And Physical Activity: Review Of Current Evidence. [online] PubMed Central (PMC). Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/> [Accessed 26 March 2020].

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30009484

Healthline. 16.1.2019. 15 Foods that boost the immune system. 

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#garlic 

Everyday Health. 24.03.2020. 7 ways to keep your immune system healthy

https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/white-seeber-grogan-the-remedy-chicks/ten-simple-natural-ways-to-boost-immune-system/ 

OnHealth. 03.02.2020. 16 Foods That Boost and Improve Your Immune System

https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/immune_system_boosting_foods

Delish. 15.03.2020. 11 Foods That Could Help Keep You From Getting Sick

https://www.delish.com/food/g3727/foods-that-boost-your-immune-system/

Good Housekeeping (GH). 09.03.2020. What to Eat to Boost Your Immune System, According to a Registered Dietitian

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a26040273/immune-boosting-foods/