Foods That Boost The Immune SystemA healthy, balanced diet is instrumental in keeping your body and mind healthy. It helps to improve the body’s immune response to infectious pathogens and germs. Your meals should ideally consist of foods that contain essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as vitamin C, D, E, zinc, carotenoids, and omega-3 fatty acids. These foods not only boost the immune system but also keep symptoms of cold, cough, and flu at bay.
Herbs and spices
Turmeric, ginger and garlic are a few examples of spices that are known to bolster the immune system. Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant properties. That is why turmeric mixed with warm milk is a popular and effective remedy for cough and cold.
Ginger contains a bioactive compound known as gingerol, which makes it an effective remedy for prevention of colds, cough and other inflammatory illnesses. At the same time, garlic contains allicin, which prevents all sorts of fungal and bacterial infections, all in all strengthening the immunity.
Herbs like ginseng, thyme, parsley, ashwagandha, among others also have therapeutic effects on the immune system that help fight different bacterial and viral infections. A 2021 report published in the Phytomedicine Journal indicates how herbs have medicinal properties that help to strengthen the immunity to fight severe viral infections like COVID-19.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are superfoods that aid in boosting immunity. That is why nutritionists emphasize adding a healthy mix of dates, apricots, almonds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and groundnuts among other things to your diet to lead a healthier life. These are proven to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, and other essential nutrients that help boost immunity and in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K.
Citrus fruits like sweet lime, lemons, orange, grapefruit, citron, sudachi, yuzu, pomelos, among others are rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that is known to strengthen the immune system and keep the skin ever-youthful and supple. They are also known to be rich in other forms of vitamin and minerals that the body needs from time to time to function efficiently. These include potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and the like. Moreover, they contain plant compounds like flavonoids, essential oils, and carotenoids that are known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties.
Fish and Poultry
Poultry such as chicken and turkey are known to be rich in vitamin B-6 - a nutrient that plays a very significant role in the formation of healthy red blood cells. The broth or stock of chicken is also considered to be nutritious. It contains chondroitin and gelatin, which help in healing the gut and boosting the immunity.
On the other hand, fish and seafood are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is vital in supporting the immune system by bolstering the function of immune cells like B cells, a certain kind of white blood cells. Seafood like crabs, oysters, mussels and lobster are also important for immunity as they are rich sources of zinc.
If you are looking for a herbal immunity booster, then green tea is the perfect choice for you. Green tea is a rich source of phenolics and antioxidants that help in boosting the immune system and in protecting the body from harmful pathogens and infections associated with cold and other respiratory issues. There’s a wide range of green tea for you to choose from- such as turmeric, ginger, peppermint, licorice root, chamomile, lemongrass, and hibiscus teas, to name a few.
Final TakeawayThese are just a few variations of immunity boosting foods that you must include as a part of your daily diet. Other immunity boosting foods include antioxidant-rich fruits like papaya, blueberries, kiwis, and green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, spirulina, and the like. Other vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, etc, are also known to improve immunity levels in the body.
If your food doesn’t provide enough nutrients to support your immune system, consult your regular health practitioner to include supplements to your diet. You can try out Well Being Nutrition’s Daily Greens, Grandma’s Kadha, Vitamin D3 Melts and Vegan Vitamin B12 Melts for a proper nutrition boost. These products will definitely help strengthen your immune system!
● Biological properties of 6-gingerol: a brief review, Shaopeng Wang, Caihua Zhang, Guang Yang, Yanzong Yang, National Product Communications, 2014 (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25230520/)
● "Spicing up" of the immune system by curcumin, Ganesh Chandra Jagetia 1, Bharat B Aggarwal, Journal of Clinical Immunology, 2007, doi: 10.1007/s10875-006-9066-7. Epub 2007 Jan 9. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17211725/)
● Arreola R, Quintero-Fabián S, López-Roa RI, et al. Immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic compounds. J Immunol Res. 2015;2015:401630. doi:10.1155/2015/401630
● Khanna K, Kohli SK, Kaur R, et al. Herbal immune-boosters: Substantial warriors of pandemic Covid-19 battle. Phytomedicine. 2021;85:153361. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2020.153361, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7532351/)
● Ros E. Health benefits from nut consumption. Nutrients. 2010;2(7):652-682. doi:10.3390/nu2070652, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/)
● Vitamin C contents of citrus fruit and their products: a review, Steve Nagy, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf60227a026)
● Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. Published 2017 Nov 3. doi:10.3390/nu9111211, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/)
● Lv X, Zhao S, Ning Z, et al. Citrus fruits as a treasure trove of active natural metabolites that potentially provide benefits for human health. Chem Cent J. 2015;9:68. Published 2015 Dec 24. doi:10.1186/s13065-015-0145-9, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690266/)
● Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells, Ananda S Prasad, Molecular Medicine, 2008, doi: 10.2119/2008-00033. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/)
● Vitamin B6 and immune competence, L C Rall, S N Meydani, Nutrition Reviews, DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1993.tb03109, (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8302491/)
● Rahayu RP, Prasetyo RA, Purwanto DA, Kresnoadi U, Iskandar RPD, Rubianto M. The immunomodulatory effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis) leaves extract on immunocompromised Wistar rats infected by Candida albicans. Vet World. 2018;11(6):765-770. doi:10.14202/vetworld.2018.765-770 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048092/)