19 Immune System Booster Foods to fight against CORONA
Healthcare systems around the world are equipping themselves to fight an array of communicable diseases. New infections are always around the corner and the older ones have enhanced the burden of health systems.
Lifestyle changes, enhanced antibiotic resistance of microorganisms, changing climate scenarios, improper use of antibiotics, enhanced travel, and commerce, etc. are some of the known causes of such an increase in epidemics. Under these circumstances, everyone needs to keep themselves fit and maintain a healthy immune system to fight infections. Read on about immune system booster foods that help to boost immunity and strengthens the immune system.
Importance of Food/Diet in Improving Immunity
To maintain a healthy immune system, people have discovered different methods. Immunization, diet plans, lifestyle changes, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, etc. can help to enhance the immunity of a person. Immunization acts as a long-term method for improving the immunity of a person against specific diseases. (14)
However, certain daily habits can help in reducing infections against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Food habits can be one of the best preventive measures in fighting infections. Since there are no harmful additives added in such diet plans, the side effects are minimal. There are certain specific constituents in food items that promote immunity.
1. Vitamin C and E
Vitamin C and E are antioxidants that have proven to combat infectious diseases by enhancing the immunity of the person. Fruits and vegetables rich in these vitamins are natural immunity boosters.
Read More: Vitamin E Rich Foods and Benefits
2. Vitamin D
An important vitamin that supports the functioning of the immune system. Vitamin D acts by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory substances in the body. It also reduces the chances of other chronic disorders. (15)
This a very powerful antioxidant that helps in the elimination of harmful free radicals from the body. Thus, it helps in reducing inflammatory reactions and enhances immunity.
This mineral helps to increase the number of white blood cells in the body which are the natural substances that fight infectious agents.
There are other compounds that boost the immune responses in the body. It is important to have a suitable mix of these ingredients to maintain a balanced diet plan. (16)
Read More: Corona Virus Complete Safety Guide
Immune System Booster Foods
With the concern regarding new infectious diseases looming around, everyone is in search of immunity-boosting food items these days. Though the immunization campaigns are being promoted and implemented by government agencies worldwide, nurturing healthy food habits can support these efforts.
Read More: How to Boost the Immune System
Many such food items are recommended by both nutritionists and doctors alike. Their effectiveness in enhancing immunity has been studied and found to have some positive results.
1. Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C is the most sought-after element that is believed to enhance the immune functions of the body (1). Citrus fruits are loaded with Vitamin C and hence highly effective to help build the immune system.
Oranges, lemons, clementines, grapefruit, tangerines, and limes are some fruits categorized as citrus in nature. A daily intake of any one of these fruits can help in maintaining the required levels of Vitamin C in the body.
Considered as a storehouse of vitamins and minerals, this healthy vegetable can supplement adequate amounts of vitamins A, C, and E along with antioxidants and fibers to your diet. It is also rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
Though children might find the prospect of adding broccoli in diet a little disturbing, there are tasty ways of preparing broccoli-like roasted broccoli, broccoli salad, lemon braised broccoli, etc. It is recommended to cook broccoli as little as possible to retain all the essential nutrients.
3. Green Tea
The recent emphasis on the benefits of green tea has made it a favorite among the health-conscious population across the globe. Studies have shown the presence of flavonoids and epigallocatechin in green tea. These antioxidants help in boosting your immune responses and thereby, fight infections better (2).
4. Red Bell Peppers
The amount of vitamin C in bell peppers is twice as much available in citrus fruits. This is a lesser-known fact about this amazing immunity booster.
Also, red bell pepper contains beta carotene, lycopene which is another antioxidant that helps to keep the immune system healthy (3). Daily intake of this vegetable can keep your eyes and skin healthy and beautiful.
5. Sweet Potatoes
A great source of vitamin C and A, sweet potatoes are perfect for a low-calorie diet plan. The high content of vitamin A helps to keep the immune system intact and also improves the skin texture. Consumption of purple sweet potato leaves helps in antibody production thereby modulating the immune system (4).
Sweet potatoes are a great option for all those who suffer from cardiac problems since they are cholesterol-free and fat-free. Include them in the form of fries, pie, chips and baked form.
6. Raw Garlic Cloves
Garlic is one of the most widely preferred flavoring agents used in cuisines around the world. It is rich in allicin, which is a sulfur-containing compound that helps in maintaining a healthy immune system (5). The rich antioxidant contents in garlic help to eliminate the free radicals in the body and helps to fight conditions like Alzheimer’s, various cardiovascular diseases and other conditions.
Garlic has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties and thus helps to fight many infections. This is one reason why garlic is a preferred ingredient in anti-flu medications.
This bitter spice is frequently used in curries for years. The curcumin present in turmeric supports anti-inflammatory properties that help to maintain optimum immunity levels (6). It helps in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Many shellfish contain high zinc concentrations that help in supporting the functioning of the immune system in the body (7). The daily consumption of optimum levels of shellfish can keep your immunity working at its best. Varieties of shellfish with a high concentration of zinc are crab, clams, lobster, and mussels.
Here is an informative video from Diet Doctor
9. Button Mushrooms
These are rich in selenium and vitamin B variants like riboflavin and niacin. These elements are highly essential in maintaining the proper functioning of the immune system (8). Also, mushrooms contain certain sugar-like substances that enhance the immunity of a person.
You can consume this fungus in different ways like sautéing, grilling, roasting, in salads, as burger filling and adding to scrambled eggs and omelets.
This green leafy vegetable has been lauded as one of the healthiest ingredients in a diet. Along with vitamin C, spinach is rich in antioxidants, magnesium, and beta-carotene which are highly effective in supporting the immunity system of the body.
Upon light cooking, this vegetable releases vitamin A and oxalic acid that has excellent immunity enhancing properties (9). Always cook spinach as little as possible to retain its nutritional value.
One of the widely used ingredients in herbal concoctions, ginger has immense immunity-enhancing and anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting properties. Ginger is rich in antioxidants that help in eliminating free radicals from the body (10).
Research has substantiated the antibacterial and antiviral properties of ginger. You can add ginger to curries, added in tea, in marinating meat and as an addition to cakes and muffins.
Read More: Simple Foods to Boost your Metabolism
Low-fat Greek yogurt contains high concentrations of Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, and riboflavin. These constituents help in maintaining a healthy immune system. A person should take 3 servings of low-fat yogurt daily for the best results. The prebiotics in yogurt is excellent in boosting immunity by helping the growth of beneficial gut microbial populations (11).
Almonds are rich in vitamin E that helps in supporting the proper functioning of the immunity system against infections (12). This vitamin is fat-soluble which allows for easy absorption into the bloodstream from the intestine.
It is a lesser-known agent that contains probiotics that helps in maintaining a healthy population of gut microflora which is important for supporting a strong immune system. Miso soup is the most preferred form of this ingredient that people prefer.
This fruit is loaded with vitamin C and hence has a great immunity-boosting property. The papain present in this fruit also supports immunity with its anti-inflammatory properties (13). Papaya also keeps the body healthy by providing a healthy dose of potassium, B vitamins, and folic acid.
Many research studies have found the effect of pomegranate in inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria and has antiviral properties. It improves the gut microbial flora that boosts immunity.
Read More: Amazing Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
17. Wheat Germ
It is the innermost part of the wheat kernel and is loaded with B vitamins, zinc and vitamin E. This extra dose of vitamins and minerals would help in increasing the infection-fighting ability of the body.
This is a superfood rich in selenium, vitamin C, zinc and Vitamin A, all ingredients that support a healthy immune system. There are many ways of taking oysters like stew, stuffing, in scalloped form and grilled form.
19. Acai Berries
These berries are rich in flavonoids called anthocyanins which have antioxidant properties. It helps in avoiding oxidative stress by eliminating the free radicals in the body. Also, it boosts immunity and reduces inflammation of body cells.
Along with these food items, it is important to support it with lifestyle changes, physical exercises, and hygienic practices to boost the immune system. A healthy combination of these would definitely prove to be helpful in these challenging health scenarios.