One of the most fundamental ways to stay healthy is to adopt habits that boost immunity. That means managing stress, getting enough sleep, washing your hands properly, being active, and yes, eating right. While no supplement or food can “cure” or even 100% prevent you from catching a virus like a coronavirus or the flu, some foods help bolster immunity. Here are top immune system boosting foods and how to incorporate each into your regular eating routine.
Fresh pomegranate juice is a great food that boosts immunity via its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity. The flavonoid antioxidants present in pomegranate juice can fight viruses and minimize the length of a cold by as much as 45%. Sip on pomegranate juice, add splashes to chamomile tea or water or blend into smoothies, freeze in BPA free molds along with ginger root and pureed banana, to prepare popsicles.
Green vegetables provide anti-inflammatory antioxidants, as well as crucial nutrients, and are known to help the immune system function, including vitamins A and C, and folate. They also contain bioactive substances that release a chemical signal that optimizes immunity in the gut, the location of 75-85% of immune cells. Saute veggies in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) along with garlic, turmeric, and black pepper, or add them to the soup. You can also blend leafy greens, like spinach or kale into a smoothie.
Studies lend credibility to garlic’s immune-supporting properties. In one earlier study, 146 volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or a garlic supplement daily for 12 weeks throughout the cold season. The garlic group experienced significantly lesser colds compared to the placebo group, and they recovered quickly if they did get infected.
Apart from being one of the best anti-inflammatory foods, walnuts contain various nutrients that play a part in strengthening the immune system, including vitamins B6 and E, folate, and copper. Walnuts according to some studies decrease psychological stress, and unchecked stress weakens immunity. Pair dried tart cherries with walnuts as a snack, or chop and use as a garnish for fresh fruit or cooked vegetables.
Dried tart cherries
The rich antioxidant content in dried tart cherries is tied to a bolstered immune system, including a reduced risk of upper respiratory tract problems. They also boost healthy sleep because of their natural melatonin levels, which is crucial because studies show that people who don’t get enough sound sleep are more prone to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Add to nut butter and eat off a spoon or eat them as is.
Curcumin, the bio compound in turmeric responsible for its vibrant hue, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It can spike immune cell activity and improve antibody responses. Combining black pepper with turmeric significantly increases curcumin bioavailability. Add turmeric and black pepper combo onto a soup, smoothie, broth, or cooked veggies.
Pumpkin seeds and Baked beans
Zinc impacts multiple aspects of the immune system. The production of specific immune cells is limited when zinc intake is low, and adequate zinc is crucial for the healthy function and development of the immune system. A cup of vegetarian baked beans provides over half of the recommended daily intake for zinc, and an ounce or a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds contains 25%. Combine both: opt for baked beans as your protein source, paired with cooked veggies sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.
Sardines and Brazil nuts
Fewer quantities of the mineral selenium delay immune response, and sufficient amounts can boost immunity. Selenium is also a powerful antioxidant, meaning it acts as a shield to avoid cells from being destroyed in ways that attack DNA. One ounce of Brazil nuts, about 6 to 8 whole nuts, provides nearly 1,000% of the daily value for selenium. Three ounces of sardines offer over 85%. Chop Brazil nuts or pop as-is and mix to cooked veggies or oatmeal. Toss sardines with vegetables, tomato sauce, and pasta, or add to salads.
Carrots and Sweet potato
These veggies are rich sources of beta carotene, a predecessor to vitamin A. This nutrient assists the immune system by helping to generate white blood cells, which fight viruses and bacteria. It also aids in creating the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract which acts as a protective shield to keep invaders out of the body. A baked sweet potato fulfills over 150% of the daily vitamin A goal, and a cup of raw carrots over 100% of the prescribed intake. Top a baked sweet potato with seeds or nuts and munch on carrots with healthy dips, like nut butter or tahini.
Almonds and Sunflower seeds
Apart from vitamin C, vitamin E plays a crucial role in immunity. This fat-soluble vitamin boosts the activity of immune cells to aid the body’s ability to fend off invading viruses and bacteria. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds or an ounce supplies about half of the daily recommended target for vitamin E. The same portion size of almonds has 46% of the daily goal. Add them either with fresh fruit or whip sunflower seed or almond butter into smoothies.
Henna is a wellness lifestyle writer. She loves sharing her thoughts and personal experiences related to natural remedies, Ayurvedic, yoga and fitness through her writing. She currently writes for How To Cure. She can connect with others experiencing health concerns and help them through their recovery journeys through natural remedies.
See Also : PCOS treatment