Some foods are good for your health and some are not. Just like some foods boost digestion, certain foods boost your immune system. These foods might prevent you from catching diseases quickly and easily. If you want to avoid getting a winter cold, the flu, or common summer diseases, you need to include these immune boosters in your diet on a regular basis.
1. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are strong immunity boosters. They have vast amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which play a vital role in fighting infections. That is the reason most people turn to vitamin C after catching a cold. Citrus fruits are the likes of lemons and oranges. They are sour in taste and most often found in winter. Your body does not produce or store vitamin C, but you need it. Many healthcare specialists prescribe a daily intake of vitamin C. Thus, you need to get it from external sources. Citrus fruit is an important source of vitamins. Some of the citrus fruits are:
- Clementine, etc.
2. Red bell peppers
Remember how vitamin C boosts your immune system? Red bell peppers are even richer in vitamin C than citrus fruits. They contain up to twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits do. Red bell peppers not just help you have a stronger immune system but also help you maintain healthy skin. They are also good for your eyes.
Broccoli is perhaps the only vegetable no one complains about, and guess what? Broccoli also boosts your immune system. It is supercharged with multiple vitamins and minerals. Broccoli contains vitamins A, C, and E. It is also rich in antioxidants and fiber. It is one of the healthiest vegetables. It will make your immune system super strong. It is best for health to cook broccoli as little as possible. You may even eat it raw, which is even healthier.
Garlic contains more than 200 different compounds. It is rich in sulfur-containing compounds like allicin. These compounds boost your immunity. In early times, it was well-recognized for fighting infections. People who eat a lot of garlic have a lower chance of suffering from a stroke, lung cancer, and other heart diseases than people who eat little or no garlic. It also lowers blood pressure. Thus, if you want to enjoy good health, garlic is a must-have.
People turn to ginger once they are sick. Why not use it before catching a disease? As it is said, “Precaution is better than treatment.” It helps to decrease inflammation. Thus, it is used for sore throats and other inflammatory diseases. It also helps against nausea. Ginger has a compound known as gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. It also helps to decrease chronic pain.
Blueberries contain a flavonoid known as anthocyanin. Anthocyanin has antioxidant properties. As said before, antioxidants are excellent for your immune system. They strengthen your defense against various diseases. Studies show that people who eat flavonoid-rich foods are less likely to have an upper respiratory tract infection. Blueberries also help against the common cold and flu.
7. Dark Chocolate
Yes, dark chocolate also helps boost your immune system. Theobromine is found in dark chocolate. Theobromine is an antioxidant that strengthens your immune system. It protects your body cells from free radicals.
Free radicals are produced by the body when it breaks down foods. They may also be caught by the body from different pollutants. Free radicals may damage the body cells which raises the chance of disease. Thus, dark chocolate is excellent for your immune system. Despite all the benefits, dark chocolate contains a lot of saturated fats and is high in calories. Thus, it must be eaten in moderation.
Turmeric is a spice often used in foods. It is also used in some alternative medicines. It is known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Consumption of turmeric may improve your immune response. This is due to a compound known as curcumin. Curcumin improves your immune system.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C which is good for immunity, as discussed before. In addition to that, it also contains numerous antioxidants and beta-carotene. Both these compounds enhance the body’s infection-fighting capabilities. It is healthiest when cooked least. The less cooked it is, the more nutrients it retains.
All yogurts are good for your health, especially the ones with live and active cultures like Greek yogurt. These cultures stimulate your immune system and help in fighting against diseases. You should eat plain and unflavored yogurt. This is because they do not contain extra sugar like the flavored ones. You may sweeten your yogurt yourself by adding some healthy, ‘’immune-boosting’’ fruits or honey. Yogurt is also rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in regulating your immune system. It also boosts your body’s natural defenses against diseases. Hence, you should try brands that are fortified with vitamin D.
In fighting off colds and preventing flu, vitamin E sits just behind vitamin C. Almonds contain vitamin E in considerable proportions. Vitamins are essential for a healthy and efficient immune system. It is a fat-soluble vitamin. It means that vitamin E requires fats to be absorbed properly. Almonds do not just have vitamin E but also healthy fats. Thus, almonds are a perfect source of vitamin E. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about a handful of them, contains enough vitamin E to meet the recommended daily amount of vitamin E intake.
Some types of shellfish are vital for boosting your immunity. This is because they contain a vast amount of zinc. When it comes to the required vitamins for our bodies, zinc does not get the attention it deserves. Zinc is needed so that our immune cells can function as intended. Rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic autoimmune condition, occurs when immune cells do not function as intended. They mistakenly attack part of our body in this condition. Too much zinc is also not good. Having more zinc than the daily recommended amount may inhibit immune system function. Some of the shellfish that are rich in zinc are as follows:
- Mussels, etc.
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More