A lot of researchers have been exploring the effects of taking certain foods on the immune system functions.
But which foods boost the immune system? We will soon find out here!
There are many ways to prevent winter colds and flu, one of such ways is to plan your meals with these 21 powerful immune boosting foods.
This is one of my favourite fruits. It is a reddish, succulent, delicious and refreshing pulpy fruit that is high in vitamins C and A, lycopene, Citrulline, and glutathione.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that prevents cell damage due to free radicals. Citrulline in water melon eases muscle soreness after exercise.
The ripe red pulpy flesh contains high amounts of glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that help strengthens the immune system function so your body can fight infections.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that has plenty nutrients and antioxidants. Eating spinach comes with a lot of health benefits such as reduction in oxidative stress and blood pressure levels, prevention of cancer and improves eye health.
It is an excellent source of plenty minerals and vitamins such as vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant promotes immune system function and skin health.
It also has Folic acid which is an essential compound that helps in tissue growth and normal cellular functions.
3. Sweet Potato:
Sweet potatoes have beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A in the body. This vitamin A picks up and clears cell damaging free radicals and thus boosts the immune system.
Broccoli contains a lot of vitamins A, C, E and fiber and many other antioxidants. Broccoli is probably the most beneficial vegetable you can incorporate in your diet plan.
The best way to eat broccoli is to cook it as little as possible or even better not at all, this way you can be able to maintain its potency.
Citrus fruits are fruits that grow on shrubs and flowering trees and are local to New Guinea, New Caledonia, Australia, and conceivably Southeast Asia, however they can also be cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates everywhere throughout the world.
Citrus fruits are characterized by a rough skin and white essence that encases succulent fragments.
Citrus fruits contain the popular antioxidant vitamin C. This antioxidant helps boost your immune system by increasing white blood cells production. These white blood cells are the major defense mechanisms of the body that fights off infections.
Below are some well-known varieties of citrus fruits that boost the immune system:
- Sweet oranges:
6. Sweet bell pepper:
Sweet bell pepper is a fruit popular for its high amount of vitamins A and C as well as phenolic compounds. These compounds are important antioxidant that may reduce your risk of diseases.
The plant is local to North and South America, it yields its fruits more in warm and dry climates.
Garlic is one of the most popular food additives used in almost every cuisine in the world because of its nourishing effects and health benefits.
Garlic has a high concentration of sulfur containing compounds called allicin which is responsible for its immune boosting properties.
Garlic has been used for years in fighting infections and may also lower blood pressure and reduce the hardening of arteries as revealed by National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Ginger is another immune boosting food that may help reduce sore throat and other inflammatory diseases. It may also help decrease nausea.
According to animal studies ginger has shown tremendous benefits in alleviating chronic pain and lowering cholesterol.
Not all types of yogurts can boost your immune system to fight off diseases, you need a probiotic. These probiotics are live and active cultures that are plain, free of flavor and do not contain much sugar. However you can sweeten your yogurt with honey.
These yogurts are rich in vitamin D and taking one that is fortified with D vitamins can do a lot of good to your immune system and will enhance your body’s natural defense systems against illnesses.
Almonds are rich in vitamins E. This vitamin is a fat soluble vitamins which means that it functions more effectively in the presence of fat or better still you can say it requires a fatty medium to be properly absorbed.
Almond not only does it have vitamin E, it also contains some healthy fats that is suitable for its absorption. As little as half cup serving of a shelled almond can offer you the required amount of vitamin E that you need for your day to day activities.
Turmeric is one of the common spices that add flavor to our meals. It is rich in curcumin an active element that is responsible for most of the properties of turmeric.
History has it that turmeric is used as an anti-inflammatory agent in treating arthritis. Turmeric also promotes the production of Brain derived neurotropic factor which is a protein that supports new brain cell regeneration.
Tea whether it is white, black or green each are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds that destroy cell damaging free radicals.
Green teas are rich in the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG which has shown to boost the immune function and help prevent cell damage. It also contains L-theanine an amino acid, which supports the production of compounds in your T-cells that fights germ.
Papaya contains a lot of vitamin C. In one single papaya fruit you can get 224 percent of the amount of vitamin C recommended for daily consumption or intake.
Papayas also contain vitamin B, vitamin E, vitamin A, potassium, alpha and beta-carotene, calcium, folate, pantothenic acid, fiber, and lycopene, the powerful antioxidant most commonly associated with tomatoes.
Kiwis are rich in essential nutrients such as potassium, vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that enhances the white blood cells to fight infection.
17. Chicken Soup:
The scientific basis for the use of chicken soup in cold is not fully understood. But history has it that chicken soup protects you from diseases and helps improve the symptoms of cold.
Moreso, poultry contains an active ingredient carnosine which helps to protect your body from flu. Chicken soup can be made at home or bought from the store.
Chicken soup also is loaded with vitamin B6 which plays a vital role in the production of new and healthy red blood cells.
18. Sunflower seeds:
They are enriched with the antioxidant Vitamin E and some other elements such as phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6.
The antioxidant component of sunflower seeds (Vitamin E) plays a vital role in regulating and maintaining your immune function.
Shellfish isn’t one of the commonest or primary sources of immune boosting foods that come to mind when you are trying to enhance your immune system function, however some varieties of shellfish are loaded with the immune booster zinc.
Zinc is a trace element and few know of it amazing immune boosting properties. The body does not produce zinc nor store zinc so it is only available to the body when it is consumed either as supplement or foods.
Advisably the recommended daily amount of zinc should not be exceeded as it can inhibit your normal immune function. The recommended amount of zinc for men per day is 11mg and 8mg for women.
Here are some types of shellfish that contains a lot of zinc: lobster, mussels, crab, clams, Oysters.
Oysters contain zinc which has the capacity to fight viruses by boosting your immune responses; it does so by the formation and activation of white blood cells. Oysters can also help in wound healing.
It contains high amount of antioxidants. Although not fully established, but few lab studies on the extract of elderberry showed tremendous help against flu viruses. This does not in any way substitute your yearly flu vaccine; get your yearly flu vaccination.
21. Acai Berry:
The color of Acai berry alone has sold it out as a great source for the nutrients anthocyanins.
Although no known studies have been done to establish its specific health benefits as an immune boosting food however it helps you build a healthy lifestyle.
Taking food supplements in addition to the above food nutrients will supercharge your immune system functions and go a long way in helping you achieve healthy lifestyle.
Get them, eat them and enjoy them while you boost your immune system and stay safe!