This article will explore:
- The basics of immunity
- The role of immune booster foods
- Seven immune booster foods you should include in your diet
How often did you Google for ways to boost your immunity during the pandemic?
Like many of us, I bet the answer is a lot. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing…
The pandemic has urged people to take their health seriously, and the fear of Covid has led to the rise of various supplements and immune booster foods.
The fear and stigma around Covid has revolutionized the health industry in a myriad of ways.
While the pandemic is still the talk of the town, the term “immunity” is being used hand-in-hand with all the Covid chatter.
Don’t you hear the marketers, health gurus, and fitness enthusiasts consistently talking about immunity on the internet? But what does “immunity” really mean?
Immunity, Immunity, Immunity — Is this another overrated marketing tactic?
Imagine your body as your home, where you and your family reside happily… Now, one day there is a home invasion. What will you do?
You’ll do your best to protect your home.
Similarly, our body has a system of white blood cells that safeguards our body. Whenever there is an attack of pathogens the immune system fights off the pathogens and protects your body. The ability to fight pathogens is known as “immunity.”
Now that you know what immunity means, do you think it’s possible to boost your immunity by consuming a specific type of food?
Yes, research has proved that some food can boost your immunity. So, if you’re prone to illness, you can include immune-boosting food in your diet to boost your immunity and your chances to remain healthy.
Even though the immunity word is overused, it is not overrated. You don’t need expensive supplements to get ‘nutrition’…
Instead, focus on eating fruits, veggies, and other foods, some of which are listed below, that have immunity-boosting properties.
Role of immune booster foods
The dread of the coronavirus pandemic has made the importance of the immune system even more apparent. A recent study proves that people with low immunity are more prone to this deadly disease and vulnerable to fatalities.
So, what can we do to improve our immunity? The best way to strengthen our immunity is to take proper dietary measures. As we all know, our diet plays a vital role in our health. Consuming a poor diet weakens our immune system, and as a result, we fall ill.
Immune booster foods are rich in antioxidants and other vital nutrients which gives you the push to fight off infections and pathogens. It can help you to stay healthy and fit during these challenging times.
Wonder what food you must consume? Read along!
Immune booster foods that you should include in your diet
1. Citrus fruits
Many studies state the importance of eating fruits regularly to stay healthy–this study conducted by Harvard is particularly compelling. If you’ve had a common infection like a cold or the flu, you might have been prescribed vitamin C-based supplements to combat the infection.
But did you know that daily consumption of vitamin C can help make your immune system strong?
Rather than spending money on supplements, you can simply include any citrus fruit of your choice to get your dose of Vitamin C to stay healthy. Besides, Vitamin-C increases WBC production (white blood cells), vital to fighting infections. It’s a win-win.
Pro tip: Consume fruit, specifically citrus fruit, in the morning half of the day. Fruits are a source of fiber, and consuming them in the evening can affect your digestion.
2. Chicken soup
Do you remember when your mother or father fed you chicken soup when you fell sick? Ah, how nostalgic. Chicken soup is a healer and can boost your immune system to fight pathogens.
Research shows that chicken soup has immunity-boosting benefits, a mild anti-inflammatory effect has been found in the broth. The protein in chicken also helps boost your body to heal.
To make it more healthy and nutritious, cook it with plenty of extra veggies for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which are additional aid in your fight.
Pro tip: Avoid high sodium in your soups!
When we talk nutrition, broccoli tops the list. Broccoli is the most nutrient rich food… It’s packed with essential vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and several antioxidants. Recent research by NIPPM proved that it is one of the healthiest vegetables that boost the immune system and promotes overall well-being.
However, to get the maximum benefit of broccoli, cook it to a minimum or eat raw. If you suffer from hypothyroidism or PCOS, talk to your dietician or doctor before consuming raw.
Do you remember Popeye, the sailor who gulped spinach to fight off pirates? Well, there’s a reason why spinach was his vegetable of choice.
This leafy vegetable is loaded with numerous antioxidants and is one of the wealthiest Vitamin C sources. It contains one of the most vital nutrients that increases the immune system’s strength.
Like broccoli, the best way to consume spinach is to cook it as little as possible for maximum nutrients.
Garlic is one of the most common ingredients found in the home kitchen.
Journal of Plant have linked garlic to fighting infections, its immunity booster properties stem from the heavy concentration of sulfur compounds like allicin, alliin, and allyl propyl disulfide.
Turmeric is another staple kitchen ingredient, well-known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. The spice is used in almost all cuisines globally, and FNB news have proven that the daily inclusion of this spice in your daily diet boosts the immune system. The high concentration of curcumin in turmeric is also known to reduce muscle damage.
7. Fairy milk
Fairy moon milk is a comforting beverage with healing properties, plus it’s delicious! Sometimes when you’re sick, food seems bland and tasteless. So, to spice up your routine with a healthy choice, fairy milk can be a savior. The mixture made with honey, cinnamon, and milk improves your sleep and is an integral part of Ayurveda. Try this recipe.
A Few Final Thoughts on Immune Booster Foods
While food plays an integral role in our diet, other factors need to be considered.
Food alone cannot heal you if you fall ill.
To cure and treat yourself, don’t forget to reach out to a doctor and take medications. Proper treatment, along with nutritious foods, can help you stay healthy and fit.
While there are several supplements available in the market, choose the naturally found food items when you can. They are healthy, natural, and inexpensive.
Remember, prevention is always better than the cure!
Suhana Siddika, Clinical Nutritionist
Health Trends Alert