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 important to follow an effective immunity-boosting diet plan that will help ramp up your resilience and keep diseases and infections at bay.
15 Immunity-Boosting Foods For Your Daily Diet
Here are 15 foods you can include in your daily diet to enhance your immunity and ensure optimum health.
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 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. 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.
3. Dark Green Leafy 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.
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. It consists of parasols, gingerols, zingerone, shogaols, and sesquiterpenes. This ingredient can play a key role in enhancing your immunity.
5. Red Bell Peppers (Capsicum)
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.
This commonly used ingredient has a high concentration of sulphur-containing compounds (like allicin) which makes it an efficient immunity booster. The presence of immunity-boosting antioxidants and nutrients make garlic a popular remedy for several ailments including infections and seasonal flu.
7. Nuts And 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.
Tomatoes pack a high dose of antioxidants. It contains 3 major antioxidants vitamins, namely vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Its high concentration of vitamin C makes it an excellent immunity booster. For maximum benefit, consume raw tomatoes.
Looking for healthy and tasty options for immunity boosting foods for kids? Why not make a delicious sandwich or a colourful salad using fresh raw tomatoes!
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.
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 immune system is that they contain all 17 essential amino acids that the body requires.
Apple is one of the best fruits that boost 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. It may prove to be useful in preventing ailments such as flu and the common cold.
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.
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.
13. Indian 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.
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 few of the best drinks for immune system.
15. Yoghurt (Dahi)
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).
Your diet plays a major role in determining your overall health as well as immunity. These immunity-boosting foods are loaded with several essential nutrients that will help your body build resilience against infections and diseases.
Other than a wholesome diet, maintaining proper hygiene, getting proper rest, indulging in regular exercise, and practising stress-relieving techniques (like meditation) are a few more things that will help you improve your immunity and stay fit and healthy.