In this modern world, our health and immunity are always at stake due to the wafting of freely floating pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in the air. But, as there’s the saying, “where’s wish there’s a way”, there’s always a way to fight back against these problems. Though you can’t directly avoid the risks, you can certainly prevent them or combat them by boosting your immunity.
No, you don’t have to take resort to any drug or therapy for that! You can let it happen naturally by just picking some healthy and immunity-boosting foods in your basket while shopping and including them in your diet. Wondering, if it’s really possible. Yes, adding certain healthful nutriment to your diet can powerfully stimulate your immune system and defend you from every unwanted foreign body.
Feeling curious to know, which kinds of foods are the best for naturally strengthening your body’s immune system. Well! Keep reading this writeup and you will definitely know everything about those natural immunity-boosting food items that nearly every dietitian suggests to their patients.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system of one’s body is the defensive mechanism that protects his/her body from various fatal foreign bodies such as bacteria, viruses, etc that are responsible for the emergence of numerous diseases and infections. As soon as your immune system gets in touch with any pathogen (such as a bacteria, virus, etc) it gets triggered and discharges some antibodies. These antibodies then bind themselves with the pathogens’ antigens and destroy them.
The types of foods you eat determine a lot about how your immune system will be. With the aging of a person, his/her body’s immune function starts decreasing. Consuming nutrient-rich foods, though can’t prevent your illnesses, can give your body some defensive forces that fight against the illnesses and overcomes them. They give you a robust and healthy immune system and empower your organs, cells, and tissues.
Also read: Gala Apple Nutrition: Benefits, Calories, and More | Your Ultimate Guide
15 Foods That Boost the Immune System of Our Body:
There are a vast number of foods that serves as the immune booster of our body. Only the right identification of such foods and including them in your diet is the secret behind keeping your immune system healthy and well-going. They are:
Turmeric, the yellow-colored common spice that is the main ingredient in various curry powders, is a great immunity expounder. It’s not only used in cooking but also in preparing various types of alternative drugs. The spice’s myriad activities are generally associated with curcuminoids, which is the mixture of curcumin and some other closely related substances. Curcumin, the component of turmeric that gives it its yellow color is the main immunity-boosting substance in the spice that retains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and thus, helps you stay healthy.
Another healthy food, that’s well popular for its immunity-boosting property is blueberry, a kind of fruit in which antioxidants are present in large quantities in its anthocyanin (flavonoid). It’s most effective in protecting the immunity of your respiratory tract. The consumption of this fruit prevents the infection of your upper respiratory tract and saves you from the common cold up to some extent.
3. Citrus Fruits
Rich in Vitamin C, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon, grapefruit, etc are a good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants act as a good immunity booster by eliciting extra white blood cells, which in turn combats various infections and illnesses and keeps your immunity boosted. Although intaking citrus fruits regularly cannot totally prevent or cure any illness entirely, it helps to fight them and thus is very beneficial for your body and its immunity.
Adding citrus fruits to your diet is very easy. Just squeeze the fruits after stripping their peels into your meals or make fruit juices with them and you are done. Consume the food or drink. Some other citrus fruits that benefit your immunity include tangerines, limes, and clementines. Vitamin C never gets generated in one’s body on its own. Also, it doesn’t get stored in it. So, intaking Vitamin C from outside in the form of fruit juices or supplements is necessary for every person to boost their immunity.
A man needs about 90 milligrams of Vitamin C each day whereas a woman needs about 75 milligrams per day. However, every person must limit the intake of Vitamin C supplements to up to 2000 mg/day and not more than that. Though Vitamin C in citrus fruits gives you immunity against normal cough and cold, it might or might not be effective against the COVID virus (no scientific proof exists in relation to it).
4. Red Bell Peppers
Consuming citrus fruits regularly and feeling confident that these fruits are giving you the highest amount of vitamin C relative to other foods? You are wrong because it’s not the case what you are thinking! Citrus fruits are not the most powerful vitamin C boosters in the market because red bell peppers already exist there that contain the most Vitamin C if compared with any other fruit or vegetable.
Measure the approximate Vitamin C quantity of a Florida orange and you will find it to be 45 milligrams. Now, measure the Vitamin C of the same quantity of red bell peppers and you will find it to be approximately 126 milligrams, that is, about 3 times more dose of Vitamin C than that in a Florida orange. Besides, being enriched with beta carotene, red bell peppers make your skin and eyes stay healthy. This is done by making your body convert the beta-carotene into vitamin A. The Vitamin C present in red bell peppers not only improves your immunity but also keeps your skin glowy.
5. Dark Chocolate
Avoiding dark chocolate for avoiding weight gain and keeping you slim and trim? Then, think again! Though dark chocolate comprises a lot of calories and so consuming it more often can make you heavy-weighted, indulging in it sometimes may prove beneficiary for your health. Wondering why?
Dark chocolate comprises theobromine, an antioxidant that protects the cells of your body from free radicals (human body-produced molecules that get generated when food is broken down in the body or gets polluted by confronting any pollutant) and thus stimulates your immunity system to work forcefully.
It protects your body cells from the harm of free radicals and thus indirectly safeguards you from various ailments. So, eating dark chocolates is beneficial for the immunity of your body, provided you consume it in moderation.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Another food product (vegetable) that is enriched with beta-carotene other than red bell peppers is sweet potato. This beta-carotene in sweet potato gets converted into Vitamin A, which ultimately acts as a strengthener of your body’s immunity. Being adaptable in nature, it’s very susceptible to include this vegetable in your meals. It’s sweet and thus, in a way, invites everyone to have it and bolster their immune system.
Wanna know about another immunity-upgrading item that’s naturally filled with a lot of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers? Then, let’s talk about Broccoli. It’s a Vitamin A-rich veggie that’s one of the healthfullest addition to your diet. Also, it comprises a significant amount of Vitamin C and vitamin E. However, cooking this food wholly weakens its immunity-boosting properties and makes it non-beneficial for your body. So, for retaining the power of this green vegetable intact, stream the vegetable and eat it. The less you cook the vegetable, the more nutritious it stays.
8. Oily Fish
Has arthritis in your body made you shaky? Is rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease, attacking your healthy body parts? Don’t worry! Oily Fish may come to your help! The omega-3 fatty acids present in oily fishes are powerful enough for treating rheumatoid arthritis of your body and make you disease-free. Choose oily fish like salmon, pilchards, tuna, etc for your diet and keep your immunity boosted.
Garlic, the food known for maintaining lower cholesterol as well as blood pressure in your body is an immunity proponent too! The antibacterial, antifungal, allicin (comprises a high concentration of sulfur), and Vitamin C properties of garlic make it an immunity-heightening food. It acts by fighting infection within your body and thus, boosting your immunity from within.
Garlic makes every cuisine taste superb as it adds a slight piquancy to the dish. The usefulness of garlic in fighting infections are known by people for ages and in early civilizations, people used to employ it in their food to make themselves powerful from within.
10. Matcha Green Tea
Matcha green tea is a beverage that comprises a great number of vitamins, minerals, many antioxidants, and other components in it. It’s an effective prevention against all kinds of popular colds and flu. Besides, drinking Matcha green tea also keeps you from gaining weight and retains your good health. It saves you from sudden weight gain and maintains your normal weight.
Do you suffer from nausea, gas, or indigestion frequently? Then, ginger enriched with magnesium, Vitamin B6, iron, and Vitamin C is your thing. Credit goes to its robust anti-inflammatory properties that attend to these issues and solves them. It’s a strong immunity booster that has the power of antioxidants (gingerol). This antioxidant in ginger has a natural virus guard power that staves off various viruses and helps you fight back against them.
Yogurts especially labeled as Greek yogurt (with live & active cultures) are a superb option for boosting your immunity. When it comes to fighting sicknesses and keeping you healthy, ordinary yogurts without any extra sugar or flavor stand first. Yes, they may not taste as good as sugar-loaded yogurts but the power they have for facilitating your impunity is unmatching. You can make these plain fewer sugar yogurts tastier by putting small pieces of sweet fruits into them.
Also, you may spread honey over it the plain yogurts to sweeten them as honey is a healthy sweetener and has many benefits that normal sugar doesn’t have. Are you short of Vitamin D? Then, try specifically some branded yogurts that comprise Vitamin D and fulfill the requirement of this vitamin in your body.
Consuming yogurt, especially containing Vitamin D in it will shield your body from nearly all types of diseases and pathogens and help you lead a healthy life. So, throw away all your health-related tensions…just eat yogurt and enjoy! Yogurt will do the leftover work by itself.
13. Sunflower Seeds
Still, worrying about your immunity? Trust it on sunflower seeds! Enriched with phosphorus, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, and magnesium, these seeds are the first choice of any health-conscious person. The Vitamin E of these seeds supervises the proper functioning of your immune system and keeps your body go going without any interruption due to disease. Besides, the great selenium content in these seeds provides the element to every adult person and helps their bodies fight against various viral infections (for example- swine flu caused by the H1N1 virus).
Wanna know about another fruit other than citrus fruits that are augmented with Vitamin C? Then, count papaya in! This nutrient-rich fruit comprises double the quantity of Vitamin C that a person’s body requires in a day. Not only that, but this fruit is also good for the digestion of any food. This is because the fruit contains an enzyme named papain in it that is beneficial for digestion.
Also, papain is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. So, dietitians and health advisors always recommend papaya to their clients so that they can stay healthy with a robust immunity system within them. Apart from these, the large quantity of folate, potassium, magnesium, etc present in papaya is immensely beneficial for your health and provides your body extra stamina to keep battling with every foreign body that confronts it.
Feeling sick? Eat a small quantity of chicken soup and you will start feeling better within minutes. It’s the magic of chicken and the protein in it! The placebo effects of chicken and the delicious cuisines made from it have made this poultry product so popular among various health-conscious persons. When you suffer from a cough and cold, chicken soup helps lower the inflammation in your body and gives you relief.
Being loaded with Vitamin B6, poultry product like chicken plays important role in your body’s internal chemical reactions and keep it healthy by producing various fresh and healthful RBCs (red blood corpuscles). Besides, the gelatin, chondroitin, or other nutrients present in stock/broth (made through boiled chicken bones) heals your gut and thus lift your immunity.
What Are The Other Natural Immune Boosters?
Besides, the above 15 immunity-boosting foods, there are also some other immunity-boosting foods that are nutrient-rich and very healthy in nature. They are-
- Shellfish (like oysters, mussels, lobster, crab, etc)
- Wheat germ
- Acai berries
- Dark leafy vegetables
- Button mushrooms
Apart from these, you can also keep your body’s immunity system strong by changing your lifestyle strategies or habits and making them better. For that-
- Keep your weight normal (not overweight)
- Stop smoking
- Stop drinking or keep the quantity of your drinking low
- Go for exercise or gym regularly
- Sleep for at least 6 to 7 hours daily
- Lead a stress-free life
- Wash your hands and mouth every time you touch something dirty or eat something
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Foods That Boost the Immune System
Q. How can I boost my immune system quickly?
Ans. You can stimulate your immune system rapidly by –
Eliminating stress from your life
Stating well hydrated
Getting sufficient sleep
Doing adequate exercise regularly
Taking required immunization doses at the time
Following a healthy and nutrient-rich diet (containing especially fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, eggs, chicken, oily fishes, yogurt, etc)
Taking vitamin and nutrient supplements (after consulting with a doctor)
Q. Which fruit is good for immunity power?
Ans. Any fresh fruit is good for boosting the immunity of your body. But, citrus fruits do it like magic. This is because citrus fruits comprise a lot of Vitamin C that builds your immune system strong by producing a large number of white blood cells. These WBC or white blood cells fights all infections in your body and keeps it well-protected. So, if you want to give extra power to your immune system, eat oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc in sufficient quantity every day.
Q. What can I drink for immunity?
Ans. There are a lot of healthy drinks or beverages that help to boost your immunity a lot. They are-
Hot lemon & Ginger tea
Smoothie made of watermelon and mint
Green vegetable juices or spinach juice
Vitamin C tea, etc.
These drinks are full of antioxidants, vitamins, or other nutrients that give your body extra protection from various diseases and make you strong by rendering you the power to fight back. The ginger in ginger lemon tea will improve your body’s blood circulation and the lemon in it soothes your body’s inflammation. So, ginger lemon tea, among all the drinks mentioned above, is a great immunity booster of all times.
Q. Do bananas help immunity?
Ans. Yes, bananas are a great immunity booster, especially when it comes to your gut health. Who’s gonna get the credit for it? Well! Thanks to the prebiotic compound present in the bananas, that nourishes your gut’s flora and thus enhances the immune system function of your body.
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