The world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and it has become more important than ever to prioritise your health over everything else! In times like these, it is of utmost importance to follow an effective immunity-boosting diet plan that will help ramp up your resilience and keep diseases and infections at bay. If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that you need to consistently work on your immunity to fight off infections and diseases effectively. These everyday foods can help you do just that.
20 Everyday Immunity-Boosting Foods That Can Help Prevent Diseases
1. Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C is believed to be effective in boosting the production of white blood cells and building up the immune system. It helps you fight off infections as well as decrease the duration and severity of ailments like the common cold. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and tangerines are a few of the fruits that boost the immune system as they are rich in vitamin C.
Moreover, citrus fruit salad is a great option for immunity boosting foods for kids. All you have to do is chop up a few citrus fruits (of your choice) into bite-size pieces and transfer them to a bowl. Now add in extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, salt and mint leaves and give the ingredients a good mix. Your citrus fruit salad is ready to be served!
2. Ginger & Garlic
Another immunity-boosting food, which you must include in your daily diet is ginger. Ginger is known for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is widely used for treating the symptoms associated with flu, common cold, nausea, and digestive issues among other things. Adding garlic to your day to day life can also reap many benefits like better blood pressure, strong bones and immunity. This ingredient can play a key role in enhancing your immunity.
Did you know that eggs (especially the yolk) are loaded with immunity-boosting nutrients? Eggs contain vitamin D, which helps in regulating and strengthening immunity. Egg yolk is a good source of protein, and also contains selenium and zinc.
Mushrooms may act as a fuel for enhancing your immunity as these are rich in antioxidants and B vitamins (niacin and riboflavin). B vitamins aid in keeping your immune system healthy. Mushrooms also contain selenium. Research shows that those who have low levels of this antioxidant in their body are more prone to catching infections. Another reason why mushrooms are one of the best foods for the immune system is that they contain all 17 essential amino acids that the body requires.
Find here 10 popular mushroom recipes that are simply irresistible.
5. Spinach & Other Green Vegetables
Spinach, cabbage, broccoli and other leafy green vegetables are packed with vitamins (A, C, and E), fibre, folate, and antioxidants. While vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate are good immunity boosters, antioxidants aid in keeping you healthy by neutralising free radicals and unstable molecules in the body.
Certain yoghurts contain probiotics that can help boost your immune function. It can help you fight off diseases by stimulating your immune response and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut. This immunity-boosting food also comes with vitamins, proteins and other nutrients that are essential for your health. Make sure you opt for healthier options like plain low fat, non-fat or Greek yoghurt (which boasts of higher protein content than regular yoghurt). Don’t forget the age-old Indian must-have food, homemade dahi!
7. Nuts & Dry Fruits
Nuts and dry fruits such as almonds, pistachios, dates, and walnuts contain several essential minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that are good for the immune system. Most nuts are packed with vitamin E, which boosts the activity of immune cells and supports the body in fighting off ailments.
8. Sunflower Seeds
Vitamin E is another nutrient your body requires for building up the immune system. This fat-soluble vitamin supports the body’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria by boosting the activity of immune cells. Include sunflower seeds in your immunity-boosting diet. Just a quarter cup of this superfood will give you about half of the daily recommended target for this fat-soluble vitamin. Sunflower seeds also contain other important nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and vitamin B-6.
9. Turmeric & Other Spices
Your kitchen cabinet contains an array of ingredients that can help you stay strong, healthy, and disease-free during these trying times. Include immunity-boosting spices like turmeric (haldi), asafoetida (hing), fenugreek (methi), mustard, cardamom, star anise, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves in your food. These aid in digestion and can help the body get rid of sinuses. Out of these spices, turmeric deserves a special mention. The vibrantly coloured spice contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound that helps enhance immunity by activating the production of T-cells.
Find here healthy habits suggested by a doctor to help strengthen your immunity.
10. Green Tea
Another reason why tea lovers don’t need to think twice before brewing that extra cup of tea! That’s right…your favourite beverage can also help build your immunity. Tea, be it green tea or black tea, is packed with flavonoids and antioxidants properties and can help boost your immunity. It is recommended to avoid adding milk to your tea since proteins present in the former will bind with the polyphenols present in the latter, thereby reducing its effect. Turmeric tea, ginger tea, anise tea, and ginseng tea are a few of the best drinks for the immune system.
Worried about catching a cold? A simple warm drink made with classic Indian herbs can do wonders! Here are 5 recipes you can try!
11. Soups & Broths
Soups are ideal for the winter season. You can throw any veggies of your choice in your soup. Soups ensure a healthy inflow of nutrients. Do not refrain from using healing herbs and spices in your soups as they help boost immunity. Since the water content of soups is so high, they help fill you up without any major calorie overload. You can also include chai, kadhas along with soups, in your diet.
12. Dark Chocolate
A delicious way to improve your immunity! Studies suggest that antioxidant-rich dark chocolate enhances blood flow, improves gut health, and eases stress — all effects that may indirectly strengthen your immune system. Remember your lifelong complaint of “If it’s good for me, why can’t it also be tasty?” Well, chocolate is the live contradiction to that point and it was even added to the government’s list of foods to eat in the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, having dark chocolate with at least 70 % cocoa — in small amounts — can help get rid of anxiety.
Lemon is pure vitamin C, and it is great for your immunity, the need of the hour. It fights infections, eases digestion, strengthens bones, and does a lot more good things for your body. And did you know that lemon zest is as nutritious as the flesh? Full of bioactive compounds and flavonoids, lemon pulp+lemon zest is an incredible addition to your monsoon diet. Sprinkle lemon juice on your food, grind lemon zest to a dish, or simply drink a glass of lemonade. This citrusy delight will take care of your nutrition and immunity.
14. Red Bell Pepper
Packed with vitamin C and beta carotene, this vegetable can help enhance your immunity. Other than being excellent for your immune system, vitamin C is also known to be useful in maintaining healthy skin. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A by the body and is required for keeping your skin and eyes healthy.
Amla is cheap, easily available and can help boost immunity. Amla, also called Indian gooseberries, helps boost immunity and keep diseases at bay. Amla has chromium that can help reduce bad cholesterol in the body and has various antioxidants that can help neutralize the free radicals and thus save you from many diseases. Most importantly, the vitamin C in amla can help improve your immunity.
Moringa is a plant, which is also termed as the drumstick tree or the miracle tree with numerous health benefits. Did you know that it has been used, for ages, to make ayurvedic medicines? Moringa is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin A and can be consumed in powdered or juice form. It is known for its antioxidant, antiviral and antifungal properties which help you stay protected against unwanted diseases and infections.
You’ve been told since you were a kid that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so why not add it to your daily diet? Apple is one of the best fruits that boost the immune system. Enriched with vitamins, minerals, healthy fibres, and natural antioxidants, it can help your body build resistance against various diseases. Owing to the presence of phytochemical antioxidants, apples can help improve your immunity and keep you healthy. Moreover, apples contain quercetin, which is good for the immune system and can help reduce inflammation. Also, raw apples are a great source of vitamin C.
From weight loss benefits to treating sore throats, this immunity-boosting food comes with an array of benefits. Honey boasts of antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and can help relieve itchy throat, cough, and congestion. It is also packed with the goodness of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, niacin, and iron. Add a spoonful of honey to a glass of warm water and consume it daily for increased immunity.
19. Tulsi Leaves
You can take care of your overall health easily and effectively with tulsi leaves. Focusing on your immunity is not difficult if you go for the right products. If you are looking for herbal immunity boosters, you must already know the medicinal properties of tulsi or holy basil leaves. Tulsi is known to be great for respiratory health and can make your immune system stronger easily. You can directly drink a few tulsi leaves after washing them.
The little fruits are in fact the powerhouse of immunity. Blueberries contain flavonoids — a type of antioxidant that can help reduce damage to cells and boost your immune system. In addition, blueberries contain plenty of vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, dietary fibre, and manganese which help you stay healthy. Blueberries are also called the king of antioxidants which fight the free radicals of the body.
So, take a step forward towards healthy eating and include these super ingredients in your daily diet. After all, immunity building is the need of the hour!
Tip: Check out some nuskhes on how to remove holi colour from clothes here.