In this contemporary world, keeping your immune system healthy is of paramount importance. If you have a strong immunity, your body can safeguard you from various diseases.
Currently, there is no vaccine available, and researchers from all over the world are enthusiastically involved in finding the appropriate vaccine for this novel coronavirus. Thus, it is of utmost importance people understand how to improve immunity naturally and make our immune system healthy so that our body's defence mechanism can fight various invading viruses.
There are myriads of immune boosting foods like citrus fruits(lemon, orange, grapefruit), garlic, ginger, spinach, red bell paper, yogurt and more which can be included in our daily diet.
Here are certain immunity foods that can boost up the immunity of our body:
1. Citrus fruits
People who catch up cold, straight away include vitamin C in their diet. The intake of vitamin C rich food is an excellent immunity booster. It increases the production of white blood cells, which are of paramount importance to fight against infections.
Presence of vitamin C in foods helps to protect against damage induced by free radicals.
Some of the popular citrus food includes-
It is recommended to take vitamin C daily, as our body doesn't have a tendency to store it. Moreover, one can also include vitamin C supplements for enhancing immunity.
Garlic is often found in every cuisine, thereby adding a distinctive flavour to the food. It is a well-known ingredient added in foods to fight against various infections.
Garlic is known to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as antiviral activities. It has a sulfur-containing compound known as allicin, present in higher concentrations, and is responsible for rendering immunity-boosting properties.
Ginger is an effective ingredient used by many people who get sick. It helps in decreasing inflammation and treats a sore throat. Ginger may also reduce chronic pain and possess some cholesterol-lowering properties.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C and is also packed with a variety of antioxidants and beta carotene, which may eventually increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune system. It is loaded with nutrients and is the healthiest food.
Yogurt is an excellent source of Vitamin D, which helps to regulate the immune system. Also, it boosts our body’s natural defence mechanisms against diseases.
It is generally recommended to take plain yogurts rather than the flavoured ones, which are artificially sweetened. You can naturally sweeten the yogurt by adding fruits of your choice and also garnish with a drizzle of honey.
6. Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are rich in vitamins and are an excellent source of beta carotene. Adding red bell pepper in your daily diet can strengthen the immune system and keep your skin healthy.
7. Green tea
Green tea consists of an antioxidant known as flavonoids, which is present in ample amounts. It consists of a constituent, epigallocatechin gallate which is another powerful antioxidant. Know more about antioxidants.
According to some studies, epigallocatechin gallate has shown to enhance the immune function. Moreover, green tea is a good source of the amino acid L theanine, which may aid in the production of infection-fighting compounds in your T cells. You can learn more about amino acids here!
8. Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplements have a mild protective effect against respiratory tract infections. People deficient in Vitamin-D, should take medical advice about taking a Vitamin D supplement to boost immune response.
9. Zinc Rich Foods
Zinc is a pivotal mineral required for the proper functioning of more than 300 enzymes in the body. It boosts your immune system, supports a sense of smell, creates DNA, triggers the release of enzymes and builds proteins.
Daily intake recommended for zinc is 8 mg for women and 11 mg for adult men. Even though it can be found in a wide variety of foods, it is easier to be zinc deficient than you think.
Here are some zinc rich foods that you must include in your daily diet:
Legumes like beans, lenticels and chickpeas are a rich source of zinc. About 100 grams of cooked lenticels can give you 12% of daily value.
Dairy products like milk and cheese are loaded with essential nutrients and minerals, including zinc. One cup of full cream milk contains about 9% of daily value.
Intake of whole eggs can help in reaching the daily requirement of zinc. One egg gives 5% of daily value. Eggs also render other nutrients such as B vitamins, healthy fats, proteins, selenium etc. You can add whole eggs in your breakfast regime to add on zinc in your diet.
Red meat is a rich source of zinc, however; adequate amounts can also be found in chicken, pork, lamb, beef etc., About 4.8 mg of Daily value of zinc present in 100 grams of raw ground beef.
Also, it contains many other healthy nutrients such as protein, iron, creatine etc, but over-consumption has been linked to heart diseases and cancers. Thus, it is recommended to always focus on having a balanced diet rich in these zinc-rich foods and do not overdo any one of them at a time.
Seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, and sesame can ramp up the daily zinc intake in your daily diet. Men get about 31% and women get around 43% of their daily recommended intake of zinc from 3 tbsp of hemp seeds.
Seeds are crunchy as well as versatile, so you can easily incorporate them in your diet by including them to your soups and salads.
Many nuts such as almonds, cashews, pine nuts, peanuts etc. are rich in zinc . Cashews have the most zinc content among nuts and one serving of 28 grams can give you 15% of the daily value.
Almonds are full of antioxidants,vitamins, and healthy fats. They are high in vitamin E, which is a family of fat-soluble antioxidants that can help the immune system fight infections. An adult needs about 15 mg of vitamin E each day.
Apart from that one can also include zinc supplements so as to remain healthy and reduce the risk of diseases.
Papaya is rich in vitamin C. It has a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory properties.
They have some amounts of folate, potassium, magnesium all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
Like papayas, Kiwis are naturally loaded with essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K.
Vitamin C boosts the white blood cells to fight infection, while other nutrients present keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
Turmeric, a bright yellow spice, is used as a chief ingredient in many curries. It is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, thereby treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It contains a compound known as curcumin which gives turmeric a distinctive bright yellow color. As per the reports, this constituent is primarily responsible for decreasing muscle damage caused due to exercise. Furthermore, curcumin is a promising immune booster and an antiviral.
Elderberries are loaded with essential nutrients including minerals such as Copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins like vitamin A, B, and C, proteins and dietary fibre. It has antibacterial and antiviral qualities which help fight common cold and influenza.
14. Button mushrooms
Button mushrooms are a nutritious and delicious addition to your recipe. They have several health benefits. They contain high amounts of B vitamins such as riboflavin and niacin, the mineral selenium, which play a significant role in maintaining a strong and healthy immune system.
Apart from these immune boosting foods, one can include Ayurvedic immunity booster supplements to have a decent hike in boosting the immunity of the body to combat various infections.
Q. What are good fruits to eat during COVID-19 Pandemic?
It would be best if you eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. Eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains and foods from animal sources like meat, fish, eggs and milk.
Q. How can I boost my immunity fast?
One can boost immunity fast by avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. Following a healthy lifestyle is the key to boost up immunity. One should quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, eat food rich in vitamins and minerals and get adequate sleep.