5 Immunity-Boosting Fruits That You Must Include In Your Diet!
If your body is a fortress, then your immune system can be equated to the soldiers that protect it from being invaded by outside enemies, which in this case are pathogens and germs. Yes, your immune system needs to be strong enough to protect your body from all kinds of infectious microbes that cause diseases and infections. The best way to strengthen your immune system is by including immunity boosters in your diet.
So what are these immunity boosters, you ask? Well they are foods that help bolster your immunity by including a healthy mix of essential micronutrients such as vitamin A, C,D,E, B complex and minerals like zinc, selenium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and folic acid, to name a few. One of the excellent sources of these nutrients is fruits, particularly the citrus ones. Yes, often overlooked, fruits are an excellent source of nutrients that help to bolster your immune system and keep it strong all year long. So what are the most common immunity-boosting fruits? Let’s find out.
Immunity-Boosting FruitsSome of the most common fruits that serve as immunity boosters are orange, grapefruit, blueberries, apples, and pears. Let’s look at each of them in detail.
OrangesWhen you talk about immunity-boosting fruits, the first thing that comes to mind is orange. Oranges are rich in Vitamin C, which is an important immunity booster. This important micronutrient also helps to produce collagen (responsible for healthy skin, joints and bones), lower the risk of cell damage due to oxidative stress (which could result in chronic diseases) and reduce cortisol levels and all other stress-induced health problems. Consistently having oranges or other citrus fruits throughout the year could help strengthen the immune system, which would result in keeping cold, cough and flu symptoms at bay.
Moreover, oranges or orange juice contain important antioxidants, flavonoids, and carotenoids that inhibit free radical activity and reduce inflammation in the body, both of which are the primary causes of chronic illnesses in the body. The vitamin C content in this fruit also helps to improve cell communication, which further assists in strengthening the immune response when the body comes into contact with an infectious pathogen.
BlueberriesBerries, particularly blueberries, are considered beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing. Blueberries are known to contain a certain kind of flavonoid, called anthocyanin, which is known to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to offset the effects of oxidative stress on the body. According to a 2019 research published in the Advances in Nutrition Journal, this flavonoid not only helps to strengthen the immune system by keeping infectious diseases at bay, but also helps to reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type-2 diabetes, and enhance digestive function among other things.
GrapefruitGrapefruit is another fruit that is rich in Vitamin C. So, if you are tired of consuming oranges, mix it up a little by eating grapefruit as an alternative. Having this fruit regularly is likely to strengthen the immune system. The antioxidant properties of this fruit reduces inflammation and improves cell function by protecting them from harmful pathogens and viruses. Apart from Vitamin C, this citrus fruit is also a rich source of vitamin A and fiber, which has the potential to benefit gastrointestinal health and reduce inflammation, all of which make it a great immunity booster.
Moreover, this reddish-orange citrus fruit is a storehouse of immunity boosters like zinc, magnesium, folate, thiamine, potassium and powerful antioxidants, which are present in its pulp, peel, and juice. However, it has been proven that grapefruit contains a compound that could hinder the absorption of some important medications, such as statins in case you have high cholesterol. That is why, it is advisable to consult your regular medical practitioner before adding it to your regular diet.
PearsPears, like most other fruits, are a storehouse of antioxidants like vitamin C that support the immune system and protect the body against various diseases. According to a research study published in the Science of Food and Agriculture Journal, the antioxidant components of vitamin C, vitamin A, chlorogenic acid, and flavonoid compounds like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are present in pears help the body to get rid of free radicals, which contribute to chronic diseases. This way they can boost the immune system, which may help alleviate conditions like the common cold, flu, and other mild illnesses. Furthermore, they are a rich source of dietary fiber that help to bulk up the stool and ward off gut issues, thereby contributing to a strong immune system.
A rich source of dietary fiber and natural sugars, apples are one of the most nutritious fruits you’ll ever lay your hands on. After all, like the saying goes, an apple a day keeps a doctor away. However, what makes it one of the healthiest fruits is the presence of an important plant pigment flavonoid called quercetin in its skin. That is why it is advisable to eat apples with the skin intact and not peel them. This important antioxidant acts as an immunity booster and an anti-inflammatory, which keeps infections and diseases at bay. This fruit is also a variety of soluble fiber, which helps fight gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, IBS, and the like, thereby aiding in maintaining a healthy gut flora and a strong immunity as a result.
Apart from the aforementioned fruits, you can include other vegetables and whole grain foods that serve as an effective immune support. You can check out our article,’ 5 Foods That Are Perfect for Immunity Building!’, to know more about them. You can also develop some healthy habits such as exercising regularly, improving your sleep quality, quitting smoking and minimising your alcohol intake to better your immunity.
Additionally, you can consult your regular health practitioner to include supplements to your diet. You can try out Wellbeing Nutrition’s Daily Greens, Grandma’s Kadha, Vitamin D3 Melts and Vegan Vitamin B12 Melts - all of which will definitely help strengthen your immune system!
● Nutrition and Immunity, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity/
● Effect of orange juice intake on vitamin C concentrations and biomarkers of antioxidant status in humans, Concepción Sánchez-Moreno, M Pilar Cano, Begoña de Ancos, Lucía Plaza, Begoña Olmedilla, Fernando Granado, Antonio Martín,The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 78, Issue 3, September 2003, Pages 454–460, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/78.3.454 (https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/78/3/454/4689971)
● 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/)
● Wilhelmina Kalt, Aedin Cassidy, Luke R Howard, Robert Krikorian, April J Stull, Francois Tremblay, Raul Zamora-Ros, Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 11, Issue 2, March 2020, Pages 224–236, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmz065. (https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/11/2/224/5536953)
● Murphy MM, Barraj LM, Rampersaud GC. Consumption of grapefruit is associated with higher nutrient intakes and diet quality among adults, and more favorable anthropometrics in women, NHANES 2003-2008. Food Nutr Res. 2014;58:10.3402/fnr.v58.22179. Published 2014 May 8. doi:10.3402/fnr.v58.22179. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4016745/)
● Comparative study of six pear cultivars in terms of their phenolic and vitamin C contents and antioxidant capacity, Andrea C Galvis Sánchez, Angel Gil-Izquierdo, María, First published: 02 July 2003 https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.1436, (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jsfa.1436)
● Dietary Fiber Content of Pear and Kiwi Pomaces, M. A. Martin-Cabrejas, R. M. Esteban, F. J. Lopez-Andreu, K. Waldron, and R. R. Selvendran, J. Agric. Food Chem. 1995, 43, 3, 662–666, 1995, https://doi.org/10.1021/jf00051a020, (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf00051a020)
● Li Y, Yao J, Han C, et al. Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients. 2016;8(3):167. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.3390/nu8030167, (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4808895/)
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