Team AckoMay 20, 2022
A strong immune system releases antibodies that fight off viruses, bacterias and foreign bodies that are responsible for disease or infection. To strengthen immunity, you need to adopt habits such as good sleep, being active, washing your hands, managing stress and eating healthy food.
While everyday immunity-boosting foods may not be able to cure or prevent you from contracting viruses like the novel Coronavirus, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), certain foods have been shown to boost your immunity which can make viral symptoms less painful.
The best way to strengthen your immune system is by incorporating specific foods in your daily diet. Several reports suggest a healthy diet should include a good mix of fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, etc. Also, some amount of salts, sodium, potassium and sugars naturally present in fruit juice, honey, etc. So, what foods boost your immunity? Here are a few of the top foods that boost your immune system:
The superstar when it comes to Vitamin C loaded food. Vitamin C might not fight the illness, but it helps build up your immune system as it aids in the increase of white blood cells. Foods rich in Vitamin C play a vital role in fighting infections. Your body does not produce or store it, hence, you need to consume it daily to boost your immunity.
Mosambi (Citrus limetta)
Mankind has been using garlic for centuries in their daily diet. The use of garlic is considered good in fighting infections. Garlic is also known to reduce blood pressure and slow down the hardening of the arteries. This onion relative consists of allicin which is known to fight bacteria and infection making it an important everyday diet for boosting immunity.
Ginger is considered as an important ingredient in reducing inflammation which is helpful if you have a sore throat and other inflammatory conditions. It consists of gingerol which is known to help reduce chronic pain. Ginger can be used in your everyday diet which will help boost your immune system.
The vibrant colour of turmeric comes from the natural compound Curcumin which is also a great source of anti-inflammatory compounds. Adding turmeric in your diet helps boost immune cell activity and fight against anti-inflammatory issues. Indian cuisine is known for its use of turmeric in most curries. Including turmeric in them helps your resolve to fight infections.
Curd and yoghurt contain probiotics which are live active bacterias living in our gut and intestinal tract. These healthy bacterias help keep the intestinal tract free from germs which cause diseases. Try and eat plain yoghurt rather than the sugar-filled or flavoured ones. Instead, you can add fruits and honey to sweeten the curd. They are also rich in Vitamin D which enhances the regulation of the immune system.
Vitamin D is crucial for your bones as it absorbs calcium properly. This is also helpful in fighting infections by keeping your immune system healthy. The sunshine vitamin is hard to get through a regular food diet, foods such as eggs are rich in Vitamin D. You can include eggs in your breakfast or you could make curries with egg to include it in your daily foods habits.
Mushrooms are known to increase the production and activity of white blood cells. This is especially good when it comes to fighting against infections. You can use mushrooms on your sabzi or pasta or even your eggs to daily foods that will increase your immunity against infections.
Black pepper is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, it also discourages intestinal gas. Black pepper helps in regulating sweat as it warms the body upon consuming it thereby releasing toxins from your body. It acts as an antioxidant and anti-bacterial agent in enhancing your immune system.
Tulsi is known as the Indian basil which has several properties which offer relief from asthma, respiratory illnesses, fever and lung disorders. You can add it to your tea or just simply add it to your drinking water. Tulsi is known to kill germs and its aroma helps in elevating your mental health as well.
While we are aware that citrus fruits consist of Vitamin C, vegetables such as the red or the green bell peppers contain twice the amount of the vitamin. Bell peppers are also a great source of beta carotene. These vegetable aids in your fight against infections with its rich source of immune-boosting properties.
Sunflower seeds contain magnesium, phosphorus and Vitamin B-6. However, the most important of them all, Vitamin E which is an excellent antioxidant. Vitamin E helps regulate and maintain the immune system thereby strengthening it to fight infections. You can include them in your salads or shakes or you could simply roast and consume them.
Green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale are a great source of your daily vitamin intake. Broccoli is packed with vitamins A, C and E, making it one of the best foods to boost your immune system. Spinach contains Vitamin C and is also packed with antioxidants, increasing your ability to fight the infection.
Tomatoes have a high concentration of Vitamin C making it an incredible source to fight against infections. Vitamin C is known to strengthen your body’s t-cells and phagocytes, which are two main components of the immune system. Any reduction in these two components can weaken your immune system.
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts contain Vitamin E and healthy fats. They also contain magnesium and fibre which aid in digestion. These nuts are known to contain anti-inflammatory properties which are a great source of strength to fight infections.
Staying hydrated is an important part of your daily diet. Drinking lots of water will help loosen mucus which is trapped in your sinuses. Try drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated as you tend to lose more fluids especially when you are ill.
Also, read: Coronavirus Helpline India
Children are in the process of building their immune system and are prone to catch an infection. They require antioxidants and foods that are rich in Vitamin C to keep them healthy. Below are some of the foods that boost immunity in children that you can include in their daily diet:
Turmeric gets its vibrant colour from curcumin which also includes antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Add a pinch of turmeric to milk they consume daily. Including some saffron will further increase the healing properties of milk.
Oranges, limes, lemons, mosambi and other citrus fruits increase the intake of Vitamin C. They help children boost their immune system and fight infections from bacterias and viruses.
Coconut water contains several nutrients, antioxidants apart from other benefits such as reducing heart diseases. Coconut water contains potassium which helps in building good skeletal and muscle function.
Your children require protein to build tissue which can be consumed through meat and fish which are a rich source of proteins. They also play an important role in boosting white blood cells that are to fight infections. Fish and seafood contain Omega-3 fatty acids which their body utilises for its defence mechanism.
Smoothies, milkshakes, curd or fruit yoghurt can be an excellent replacement for milk. Dairy products have immune-boosting properties to fight against infections.
Also, read: Ways To Remain Healthy During Social Distancing
Below are some of the frequently asked questions about the immune system:
What are the foods that weaken the immune system?
While there are no such foods that weaken the immune system, high levels of sugar intake and refined carbohydrates may reduce your body’s ability to fight infections or diseases. Processed foods, sodas, refined carbohydrates, alcoholic beverages may decrease your immune system’s fight against bacterias and viruses.
What vitamins can boost my immune system?
Many consider Vitamin C is an excellent source to boost immunity levels. It can help stimulate the formation of antibodies to fight infection from bacterias or viruses. Also, Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps in protecting against several infections.
Does drinking alcohol decrease the immune system?
Drinking excessive alcohol can decrease your immunity against bacterias and viruses. Both binge and heavy drinking can have an effect on your physical and mental health.
What are the other ways to improve the immune system?
Apart from adding the above list immunity-boosting foods, you need to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, avoid smoking and consuming excessive alcohol, maintain a hygienic lifestyle such as washing your hands regularly, cleaning surfaces of your house and get some sunshine to include your Vitamin D intake.
What drinks boost your immune system?
Drinking juices which are rich in vitamins A, C and B-6, potassium, folic acid, zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium and folate will boost your immunity levels in your body. Nutritious drinks which are made from carrots, apple, orange, tomato, beetroot, strawberries, mangoes, watermelon, kiwi are a great source of strengthening your immune system.
A healthy lifestyle, World Health Organization, http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/nutrition/a-healthy-lifestyle
Healthy diet, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/healthy-diet
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