Dr. Rashmi ByakodiJun 22, 2023
With a rise in lifestyle-related medical issues, sustaining good health, especially developing a robust immune system, can be challenging. For a healthy immune system, you should eat balanced meals and get enough sleep. In addition, you should also eat certain immunity-boosting food items. These foods contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help keep your cells active and healthy.
Unfortunately, many people do not include such foods in their diet to keep themselves healthy all year round. If they did, they would be less likely to get sick. Instead of taking supplements or vitamin pills, it is always better to get your nutrients from the food that you eat. With this article, we will discuss immunity and its role in the human body and highlight the top immunity-boosting food items that you need to include in your daily regimen for a healthy immune system.
Immunity is a huge network of organs, such as antibodies (proteins), white blood cells, and chemicals that protect you from invading pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi) that cause diseases and infections. It is an intricate biological mechanism of your body that distinguishes the existing bodily microbe from foreign elements and rejects the latter. Hence it is essential to strengthen the immune system.
The human immune system is made up of tissues, cells, organs, and proteins. Together, they perform physical and biological processes and fight against harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and alien bodies to avoid any severe infections. The immune system releases antibodies that help to kill harmful bacteria and viruses.
Do you wonder how to improve the immune system? Well, then, the answer is Immunity Boosters. Immunity Boosters help augment our immune system naturally. They work by increasing your body’s strength against dangerous pathogens. This strength is achieved by having a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management, focusing on water intake, and improving sleep quality.
Apart from all these, one of the most important ways to acquire a healthy immune system is to increase nutrient-dense foods in your diet. With that said, let’s discuss some of the top immunity-boosting food items that can be added to your daily diet for good health.
Here’s a list of food items that can help you boost your immunity.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, citrus limetta (mosambi), tangerines, pomelos, etc., are packed with vitamin C, which accelerates the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are known to fight infections, remove free radicals, and inhibit cell damage in your body. This, in the long run, lessens the chances of having cancer. Since your body can not produce or store vitamin C on its own, it is essential to consume it daily.
Green Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and kale are ideal to meet your daily vitamin requirements. While broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, folate, and dietary fibre, spinach and kale are flooded with vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, riboflavin, folate, and other essential minerals and antioxidants. They all contribute considerably to boosting your immunity and fighting infection.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, ginger, garlic, onions, and beetroots are some best examples of root vegetables that help improve your immunity.
Carrots: They are brimmed with vitamins A, K, and beta carotene, which help lower the risk of cholesterol and certain types of cancers such as prostate, stomach, and breast. It also protects you from age-related macular degeneration.
Sweet potatoes: They are packed with vitamins A and C, manganese, beta carotene, chlorogenic acid, anthocyanins, and fibre. Consuming this super vibrant and delicious root vegetable helps you with healthy skin and may protect against UV rays.
Ginger: It is loaded with antioxidants and a specific component called gingerol. Ginger helps reduce nausea. It may also aid in decreasing inflammation and osteoarthritis pain.
Garlic: It has essential nutrients like manganese, vitamin C and B6 in it. Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It also helps promote heart health by lowering triglycerides, total cholesterol, and blood pressure. The antioxidant properties in garlic help reduce free radicals.
Onions: They are high in vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants. The antioxidant properties in onions may protect your cells against oxidative damage and reduce your risk of certain cancers (oral cavity and pharynx oesophageal, colorectal, laryngeal, breast, ovarian, prostate, and renal cell cancer). It also significantly reduces the blood glucose level in people with diabetes.
Beetroots: These are packed with polyphenols, flavonoids, and dietary nitrates that can help expand the blood vessels and potentially increase the blood flow to the brain, lower the blood pressure and improve heart health. It can potentially be beneficial in preventing cancer.
Indian spices such as turmeric, asafoetida, clove, cinnamon, pepper, etc., are Immunity Boosters. They detoxify your body and promote your defence mechanism. Turmeric contains a component known as curcumin that helps check blood clotting and reduce cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers. Curcumin is an immunity booster and may ease joint pain, alleviate blood sugar levels, and also acts as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral compound.
Dry fruits and nuts are laden with vitamin E, proteins, calcium, potassium, essential oils, and powerful antioxidants that support your immunity.
Almonds: Among nuts, almonds are the healthiest. Being rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, fibre, copper, magnesium, and phytonutrients, they help protect your cell from damage caused by free radicals, boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and lessen the risk of chronic diseases and oxidative stress.
Walnuts: These equally contribute to developing immunity. Walnuts contain high amounts of antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acid, vitamin E, folate, melatonin, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts may aid in retaining cognitive functions and may reduce the risk of dementia, neuroinflammation, Parkinson’s disease, brain stroke, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and inflammatory markers.
Cashews: These are an essential source of copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants, which help your body produce more red blood cells and promote immunity-building. It also helps control dyslipidemia. Cashews being rich in folate and tocopherols, help delay metabolic disorders and prevent atherosclerosis.
Raisins: They contain fibre and phytochemicals. Despite being high in sugar, they possess a low glycaemic index which makes them a good snack option even for diabetic people. The phenolic content in raisins contributes to healthy cardiovascular health. They also improve colon function and fight against infections and seasonal illnesses. Besides, due to their iron-rich content, they are beneficial for menstruating women.
Dates: These are nutrient-rich dry fruits that contain amino acids, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. They are potent antioxidants, anti-glycaemic, and anti-inflammatory agents that prevent diabetes, cancer, and dyslipidemia. Due to their high fibre and phenolic content, they may help prevent hypertension, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.
Eggs are rich in vitamin D, A, selenium, choline, lutein, and protein that help fight against infection, improve skeletal muscle health and protect against sarcopenia. They also protect against low blood pressure and exhibit anticancer effects.
Sunflower seeds have Vitamins B6, E, phosphorus, and magnesium. Vitamin E helps improve the immune system, fight against infections, and may reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin C, nutrients, and phytochemicals that include potassium, iron, and folate. Tomatoes also contain flavonoids, lycopene, and beta-carotene. The health benefits of tomatoes are countless, including prevention against cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. Vitamin C boosts your body’s phagocytes and t-cells, two significant elements of the immune system.
Papaya is filled with essential nutrients and minerals like vitamins C, K, potassium, and folate. Potassium is acknowledged for reducing the risk of heart disease. Vitamin C enhances the production of white blood cells that helps fight against infections and diseases. It also benefits the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, hypertension, diabetes, hepatotoxicity, and hypercholesterolemia.
Here are some common questions about immunity-boosting food items that are for good health.
Fruits like oranges, lemons, pomelos, papaya, and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, turmeric, beetroot, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, etc., can help improve your immunity.
If you rarely fall sick, recover fast from illness, and your wounds heal more quickly, then you are likely to have a healthy immune system.
One can boost the immune system fast by adopting a healthy and balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, staying adequately hydrated, and minimising stress.
All citrus fruits like lemons, pomelo, oranges, grapefruit, mosambi, and tangerines are filled with vitamin C. Besides, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and papaya are also good sources of vitamin C.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.
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