In our quest for health and vitality, the immune system stands as our body’s guardian, shielding us from a myriad of external threats. Think of it as our personal army, always on the lookout, ready to defend. But like any army, it needs the right fuel to function at its peak. Enter the world of immune-boosting foods.
Our diet plays a pivotal role in shaping our immune response. While genetics and environment have their parts to play, the foods we consume can be a game-changer. From the tang of citrus fruits to the comforting warmth of hot soups, certain foods have earned their reputation in the immunity diet hall of fame.
Celebrities and health gurus often tout exotic remedies, but the real magic lies in everyday foods. Foods that not only tantalize our taste buds but fortify our body’s defenses. So, if you’re looking to give your immune system that extra edge, here’s a curated list of 22 foods to boost the immune system:
22 Foods to Boost Immune System:
It has been found that blueberries contain antioxidants that can help in treating and preventing certain diseases, such as coughs and colds. They contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant that helps reduce damage to cells and boosts your immune system. It has been found that flavonoids play a key role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Blueberries are also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. It is certainly a great immune-boosting food with many other health benefits.
2. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are considered the best foods that boost the immune system in kids. They contain vitamin C, which helps build up the immune system. There is a wide range of citrus fruits and mostly all of them are rich in vitamin C. The main function of vitamin C is to increase the production of white blood cells in the body, which are considered the key to fighting infections.
Some of the easily available citrus fruits rich in vitamin C are:
- Limes, and
It is one of the most refreshing fruits, and it also contains plenty of antioxidants known as glutathione. It is considered one of the best foods to boost immunity and fight against any kind of infection. There are not many calories in watermelon and it contains both vitamins A and C. All these antioxidants and vitamins help in the proper functioning of the body by strengthening the immune system. It also contains a large concentration of lycopene, which gives watermelon its red color. Lycopene also provides health benefits by reducing respiratory inflammation, which later on helps in the prevention of certain infections.
Spinach contains numerous packed antioxidants, along with beta-carotene, which plays an important role in the defense process of our immune system. It is also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C and is one of the healthiest and most efficient foods to boost the immune system. Spinach provides the body with all the necessary nutrients for cell division and DNA repair. It is advised to eat spinach raw or by slightly cooking it to preserve all the necessary nutrients.
Broccoli contains a large number of vitamins and minerals that help the immune system function in optimal form. Broccoli might not be a favorite food for the majority of people, but it holds many nutrients, including beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and various B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6). Another healthy component that is offered by broccoli is glutathione, which is an important antioxidant.
Yogurt is a great source of vitamin D, and vitamin D helps in the regulation of the immune system. It also boosts the body’s natural defense system against any disease. Plain yogurt is more beneficial than flavored yogurt as it contains a high amount of sugar.
7. Red Peppers
Red peppers are considered one of the best immunity-boosting foods because they contain three times more vitamin C as compared to citrus fruits. Vitamin C helps in the maintenance of healthy skin, which is a result of proper immune system functioning. It has been reported that consuming only 200 milligrams of vitamin C every day will reduce the risk of catching a cold for most active people. It is known as a powerful food to boost the immune system.
Tomatoes are considered the best foods to eat when one falls ill, as they are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C has proven to be one of the most important inputs to an individual’s diet as it strengthens the immune system. Vitamin C is a vital part of an individual’s strength. It has been reported by researchers that a deficiency in this nutrient could lead to a weaker immune system, and a weaker immune system would lead to the contraction of many diseases.
Garlic is known as the best cold-curing food and an immunity booster. According to a survey, it was reported that people who ate garlic were less likely to catch a cold compared to those who didn’t consume it.
Eggs contain a large amount of vitamin D, which is essentially important in strengthening and regulating our immune system. Consumption of vitamin D also helps in fighting colds and respiratory tract infections and is very effective in maintaining a healthy body. Consuming the egg white and yolk together would ultimately boost and strengthen your immune system, as they contain a powerhouse of nutrients.
Elderberry has been used medically for a very long time. The extracts of elderberry have anticancer, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains flavonoids. People take this remedy in the form of syrup for bacterial infections, colds, and flu. Former studies have found that these berries help block flu viruses too.
Mushrooms are quite rich in B vitamins and antioxidants and they also act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Mushrooms also contain all the 17 essential amino acids which are required by the body. Overall mushroom is one of the best foods that boost the immune system.
13. Dry fruits and Nuts
There are various dry fruits such as almonds, dates, and walnuts that provide essential vitamins and minerals that are required for building the immunity of a person. Dry fruits also contain Vitamin E which is a rich antioxidant and helps in keeping the cells healthy. They help you to keep your energy levels high and running.
14. Acai Berry
The dark color of the berry signifies that it carries a lot of essential nutrients known as anthocyanins. Anyone can have these in the form of juice and smoothies or can try having them all dry. It is found in the acai palm tree in Brazil, Trinidad. The antioxidants that are found in acai berry are credited with the qualities of boosting immunity and lowering inflammation in the body.
Ginger possesses certain anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties which can have a great impact on your health. The normal metabolic process takes place in the body along with the presence of all the toxins and infections that build up to the production of free radicals which results in the release of oxidative stress in the body. The antioxidants that are present in ginger help to guard against these free radicals. Ginger also possesses certain antiviral and antibacterial properties that help in keeping the immune system secure.
The reason turmeric is a vibrant orange-yellow color is because it contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound known as curcumin. Some of the reports produced by the Journal Clinic of Immunology stated that the curcumin present in the turmeric activates the production of T-cells. These cells are considered the main cells that are used by the body to fight for your health.
Everyone might be familiar with the line, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It’s not just a saying but a reality check for everyone. Adding an apple to your diet will help you fight many uncertain diseases and will also boost your immune system. Apples also contain phytochemical antioxidants which boost your immune system and reduce the risk of dangerous chronic diseases.
18. Hot Soups
Hot soups, especially chicken soup, are rich in proteins and contain garlic and onions which are considered the best foods to boost the immune system. The warmth of the soup helps in clearing the nasal passages and the spices present in the soup act as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is considered as the best food to boost the immune system.
19. Meat Products
Meat products such as pork, beef, chicken, fish, and seafood are rich in proteins and contain all the essential nutrients that are required by the body. These nutrients help in building and repairing the body tissues. Regular consumption of meat products will help in keeping the body’s defense mechanism strong.
20. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamins E and B-6. They also contain phosphorus and magnesium. Vitamin E is very important for the regulation of the immune system. Sunflower seeds are also rich in selenium. It has been reported that selenium has been studied for its ability to combat certain viruses.
Papaya is also known for its richness in vitamin C. The papayas also contain a digestive enzyme mainly known as papain that possesses anti-inflammatory effects. It is considered the best food to boost the immune system as it also contains some amount of magnesium and potassium which are highly beneficial for your health and body.
22. Green Tea
Green tea contains several antioxidants that help in boosting your immune system. These antioxidants are known as flavonoids. Green tea is also rich in anti-inflammatory properties and is considered the best resource to fight or cure a cold. Another heavily prevalent antioxidant found in green tea is known by the name of catechin. Catechin is known to be a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent that can kill off cold-starting bacteria or any other virus.
Navigating the world of immune-boosting foods can be overwhelming, but it’s all about going back to basics. Incorporating a mix of fruits, vegetables, and proteins can set you on the path to a fortified immune system. Remember, it’s not about a complete diet overhaul but making mindful choices. So, the next time you’re grocery shopping, think of your immune system and give it the nourishment it deserves. After all, a strong immune system is the foundation of a healthy, happy life.