The body can stay healthy when the immune system is functioning at full capacity. This can be made possible by enriching the body with healthy and nutritious foods that can boost the immune system.
In addition to foods and fruits, a healthy lifestyle is also necessary to maintain healthy body conditions. Regular exercise, avoidance of alcohol and tobacco products, maintenance of healthy weight, adequate sleep etc are all essential requirements for a high level of immunity against diseases and infections.
Foods that boost immune system
- Red bell pepper
- Sunflower seed
- Green tea
- Sweet potato
- Button mushroom
- Wheat germ
Turmeric is a spice that is widely used for cooking. It contains a compound called curcumin. This compound has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property thereby making turmeric effective for boosting immune system.
Red bell pepper
Red bell pepper is fortified with vitamin C and beta carotene. It is a good alternative to citrus fruits for those trying to cut down their sugar consumption. The vitamin C in it boosts immunity while the beta carotene helps keep the eyes and skin healthy. The best way to prepare it is stir-frying and roasting.
Ginger is another plant that is widely used around the world as cooking spice. Research suggests that Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and these help it boost immunity and reduce chronic pain.
Spinach is packed with nutrients and antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and flavonoid. The vitamins C and E helps improves the rate at which our immune system fight infections while the flavonoid prevents common cold. It is preferably to cook it lightly so that the nutrients can be retained.
This vegetable is filled with minerals and vitamins. It has high amount of vitamins A, C and E, as well as antioxidants and fiber. Broccoli is classified as one of the healthiest vegetables and it is most potent when slightly steamed or not cooked at all.
Garlic is also a plant used as cooking spice all over the world. There are studies that support the effectiveness of garlic for preventing and treating common cold and other illnesses. This effect is accredited to a compound called allicin that is present in garlic.
Sunflower seed is rich in phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin E. Vitamin E fights off free radicals, regulates and maintain the immune system. Sunflower seed is also rich in selenium, a compound that is suspected to treat viral infection like swine flu. In addition, sunflower seed adds extra taste to salads.
Green tea is an awesome alternative to coffee because it contains only small amounts of caffeine. Just like spinach, green tea contains flavonoids which can help protect against common cold. Green tea is also a good source of amino acid L-theanine which may help produce a compound that fights against germs.
Sweet potato has high content of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene contains vitamin A that helps keep the skin healthy. It also provides the skin protection against UV rays.
Mushrooms are rich in vitamin B and minerals that help boost the immune system. It is also rich in sugar-like molecules called polysaccharide that helps improve immune functions.
Wheat germ has high amount of minerals and vitamins. It is a great source for zinc, vitamin B and antioxidants. All of which are essential for boosting the immune system. It is also rich in protein and fibre and can sometimes be used in place of regular flour for some recipes.
- Oily fish
Shellfishes get less relevance when people talk about nutritious foods but they are highly fortified with minerals like zinc. Zinc helps improve the functionality of our body’s immune cells. Despite the goodies that are in shellfishes, we should not consume it in excess. Examples of delicious shellfishes that are rich in zinc are; periwinkle, crabs, lobster, shrimps, oyster, prawn etc.
Oily fishes like salmon, tuna etc are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggests that regular consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids could reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Poultry products like chicken and turkey are rich in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is important for the formation of healthy red blood cells. It also plays an active role in the chemical processes that take place in the body. According to reviews, chicken soup helps reduce the symptoms of cold. The bones of chicken contains gelatin and other nutrients that help improve the healing of gut.
Order foods that boost the immune system
- Dark chocolates
Fermented products like yoghurt contains a substance called probiotic. This substance may be helpful in easing serious cold. When buying yogurts, look out for the ones that have “live and active culture” written on them. Also check for vitamin D as an added nutrients. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to frequent occurrence of cold and flu.
Dark chocolate contains a compound called theobromine. This compound can help protect the body cells from free radicals and boost the system’s immunity. Free radicals are molecules that the body releases when it breaks down food or when it comes in contact with pollutants.
Dark chocolate should not be consumed in excess because it contains calories and saturated fat.
Fruits that boost immune system
- Citrus fruits
- Acai Berry
Citrus fruits are great source for vitamin C. Vitamin C is believed to enhance the production of white blood cells which is responsible for fighting against infections.
Most times when people are down with common cold, they turn to citrus fruits because they need the vitamin C in this fruits to help boost their immunity and fight against those germs.
Kiwis have high concentration of folate, potassium, vitamin k and vitamin C. All these nutrients helps the body fight against infections and keeps it functioning at a proper rate.
Blueberries contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are antioxidant that helps the immune defence system of the respiratory tract. Research shows that individuals who consume foods rich in flavonoids experience less common cold compared to those that do not consume flavonoid-rich foods.
Pawpaw is one highly nutritious fruit. It contains vitamin C, magnesium, folate and potassium. The digestive enzyme (papain) in pawpaw makes it effective for fighting against inflammation, while vitamin C helps build up white blood cells to fight against infections.
Almond is rich in vitamin E, manganese, fibre and magnesium. Vitamin E may not be as effective as vitamin C when fighting against the common cold but it is highly essential for a healthy immune system.
Elderberry contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Some research suggests that elderberry extract may prevent flu viruses. However, scientist warned about it, saying further research is required to draw the conclusion. Therefore, it is advisable to take the yearly anti-flu vaccines.
Watermelon is a fruit that is readily available as well as affordable. It has a refreshing taste when ripe and it is packed with an antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione helps fight against infection by strengthening the immune system. It is highly concentrated at the red fleshy part close to the rind.
Pomegranate juice is effective for fighting bacteria and treating infections. It is also very potent in treating several viruses and flu. This fruit is delicious and colourful.
Other ways to boost immune system
In addition to consuming healthy food and fruits, adopting a healthy lifestyle will also help keep a stable immune system.
Eating a balanced diet
It is important for us to always eat in moderate quantities. Ensure to eat every class of food in the right quantity, do not over consume a particular food because it has high nutrients. When we do this, it will help boost our immune system.
Stress increases the level of cortisol. When cortisol level is high, it blocks the immune system from protecting the body against bacteria and viruses.
Get enough sleep
The body has the potential to heal and reproduce immune cells during sleep time. When you don’t get enough sleep your body may not be able to carry out this rejuvenation process, thereby making you prone to infections.
Frequent exercise helps the body limit the risk of developing illnesses like obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise also helps the body reduce stress and lack of stress boosts immunity.
Limit the intake of alcohol and tobacco products
When you consume a lot of alcohol and tobacco products, the body tries to rid itself of the toxins from these products, thereby caring less about immune system. This will expose the body to bacteria and viral infections.
Maintain a healthy weight
Keeping your weight at a healthy level not only help you stay fit but prevents illness like obesity. Exercise often and eat a balanced and healthy diet in other to maintain your weight.
A high immune system signifies a healthy body. Maintaining this healthy lifestyle is as simple as eating delicious, nutritious and healthy foods. These foods are not necessarily expensive and they are readily available in the market. Regular healthy practices also helps improve the immune system.
We should try as much as possible to include in our diet foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals and inculcate healthy lifestyle habits that will help boost our immune system.
If you experience a persistent illness like cold or flu please contact your doctor for proper treatment and advice.