Foods that boost immunity

Foods that boost immunity

A strong immune system releases antibodies that fight off viruses, bacteria 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. The best way to strengthen your immune system is by incorporating specific foods in your daily diet. Here are a few of the foods that most boost the immune system:

Citrus Foods
Vitamin C 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 Vitamin C, hence, you need to consume it daily.
Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Mosambi, Mandarin, Tangerine, Galgal (Citron), Pomelo, Kaffir Lime are some fruits rich in Vitamin C.

Mankind has been using garlic for centuries in daily diet. 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.

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 easily used in everyday diet.

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 you fight infections.

Curd (Yoghurt)
Curd and yoghurt contain probiotics which are live active bacteria living in our gut and intestinal tract. These healthy bacteria 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, but foods such as eggs are rich in Vitamin D. You can include eggs in your breakfast or you could make curries with eggs.

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 increase your immunity against infections.

Black Pepper
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, which cleanses toxins in your body. It acts as an antioxidant and anti-bacterial agent.

Tulsi or the Indian basil which has several properties which provide relief in 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.

Bell Peppers
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 vegetables aid in your fight against infections with their rich source of immune-boosting properties.

Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain magnesium, phosphorus and Vitamin B-6. Most importantly, they have Vitamin E, 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 Vegetables
Green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale are a great source of 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 infection.

Tomatoes have a high concentration of Vitamin C. 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 the 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.

The writer is a student at Kashmir University. [email protected]

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