Can You Boost Your Immunity With Food? Yes!
Healthy eating is the most important thing you can do to boost your immune system. But you have to eat the right foods that boost immune system significantly on a consistent daily basis if you’re to equip your body to fight common infections.
By eating these healthy immune system boosters, you will not only be helping your own overall health, but you will be able to keep infection such as the common cold, flu and other viral indicator infections away.
The primary characteristic of these foods immunity enhancing foods is that they are high in vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.
So you can boost your immunity and here are 10 foods that boost your immune system with regular consumption.
Top Foods That Boost Immune System
- Green and black tea
- Citrus fruits
- Red bell peppers
Papaya is fruit that’s loaded with vitamin C. You can find 157% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C in one papaya. It originated in Central America and southern Mexico. However, this fruit is now cultivated in many parts of the world.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain. This can break down tough protein found in muscle meat and can help in digestion also. It also contains decent amounts of potassium, vitamins B and folate, both of which are beneficial to your immune system.
They also contain anti-oxidants and vitamin A. All these vitamins and anti-oxidants make it a great fruit for boosting our immunity.
Garlic is one of the most widely used ingredients or condiments that adds extra flavor to the food. Garlic is also known to be an immunity boosting superstar. For thousands of years, people all over the world have hailed garlic as an elixir of health.
It has been used to treats the common cold, flu and a variety of illnesses. Despite its notorious odor, this plant belongs to the lily family. Ancient writings show that garlic was used as an aphrodisiac in India and currency in Egypt.
A clove of garlic contains 5 milligrams of calcium, 12mg of potassium and more than 100 sulfuric compounds, that are powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and other infections. In fact garlic was to prevent gangrene in both world wars.
Raw garlic that is not cooked or dried is the most beneficial for health. Heat and water inactivates sulfur enzymes which can diminish the antibiotic effects of garlic. But because of the rather unwelcoming odor most people consume it cooked or taking the supplements.
Garlic is also best for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and kills other parasites in your body.
#3. Green and Black Tea
Green tea as well as black, are packed with flavonoids, a type of anti-oxidant. Green teas main strength as a food for boosting immunity is the presence of yet another powerful anti-oxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies show that EGCG enhances immune function.
Unfortunately black tea goes through a fermentation process which destroys a lot of the EGCG in it. Green tea on the other hand is not subjected to this fermentation process and therefore has lots of its ECGC preserved through steaming.
It has been studied to resolve various diseases and may be one of the mains reasons green tea has such powerful medical properties.
Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-Theanine. This amino acid may help in the production of germ-fighting compounds your T-cells among other functions such as helping people de-stress and unwind.
Published studies show that L-Theanine helps boost immunity by fighting upper respiratory tract infections.
Many people don’t really like broccoli but it’s one of the best foods that boost immune system to a considerable extent. Broccoli is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
It’s so rich in vitamins A, C and E. It also contains many other anti-oxidants and a great source of fiber. You’re missing greatly if broccoli is not one of the common vegetables you have usually have on your plate.
The rich amounts of Vitamin C found in broccoli helps boost immune levels. 100 grams of broccoli can contain up to 89 mg of vitamin C, which is more than a lot of citrus fruits contain.
It’s rich in beta-carotene and a whole host of anti-oxidants, making a perfect vegetable for overall immunity enhancement.
Here’s the trick to keeping the powerful immune-boosting properties intact: cook it as little as possible. In fact if you can, don’t cook it at all.
Eating it raw is the best way of consuming broccoli. However, if you’re like me and can’t eat it raw, research shows that steaming it is the best way to keep many of the nutrients preserved as possible.
Ginger is also one of the foods to boost immune system that people all over the world have trusted for ages for treating various types of illnesses. Ginger may help decrease inflammation which will reduce sore throat, joint pain, flu, common cold and many other inflammatory illnesses.
Ginger may also help decrease and vomiting. Whilst it’s used in many sweets and deserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, which is a relative of capsaicin. This compound decreases chronic pain and have cholesterol-lowering properties according to trusted studies.
Ginger helps the immune system perform optimally by boosting it when it’s compromised (underactive) or suppressing it when it’s overactive.
Research also suggest that ginger may also help fight drug resistant bacteria.
Spinach is extremely rich in vitamin C and packed with anti-oxidants, beta-carotene, which increases the infection fighting ability of your immune system. This vegetable can be incorporated quite easily into your diet. It’s also cheap and easy to prepare.
Spinach is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, folate and many other anti-oxidants which are essential to fighting off infections and boosting your immune system.
It’s similar to broccoli in that it retains lots of its nutrients when it’s cooked as little as possible.
However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A content and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid. Spinach is also one of the best sources of dietary magnesium which is necessary for a healthy immune system and also to maintain your blood pressure levels.
#7. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are one of the best sources of vitamin C. May I ask a question? How many times have you turned vitamin C when you have a cold? I bet more than you can remember.
Just like you and I most people do the same. And that’s because the all popular vitamin C helps build your immune system greatly.
Vitamin C increases the production of infection-fighting substances in your body called white blood cells. White blood cells are key to maintaining a great immune system.
A review published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that getting enough vitamin C can reduce the symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) like the common cold.
It may also be used the prevention and improving the outcomes of conditions such as pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea. Anti-oxidants meanwhile can protect against oxidative stress and prevent damage to your immune cells.
Popular citrus fruits include:
- lemons, and
Because the body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, you need daily doses of vitamin C for continued health and maintaining immunity against infections.
Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. The recommended daily dosage is about 75 mg for women and 100 mg for men.
With such a plethora of citrus fruits available in your grocery store, it’s very easy to get a full days supply of this vitamin in your diet.
Obviously some of these citrus fruits are sweeter than others, there are varieties of ways you can consume by adding them to your meal.
#8. Red Bell Peppers
It’s easy to think that citrus fruits are the best sources of naturally occurring vitamin C, I don’t blame you. I thought so too until during my research for this article. Weight for weight, red bell peppers contain three times as much vitamin C as compared to the citrus fruits sources.
Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may also improve and maintain a healthy skin. In fact foods that are rich in vitamin C are often touted as the best foods for a healthy glowing skin.
What’s more? Red bell peppers are also a rich source of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene assist in keeping your eyes and skin healthy.
Many studies have shown an association between diets rich in carotenoids and reduced incidents of many forms of cancer. It has been suggested that this is due to the anti-oxidant properties of carotenoids. (1), (2), (3), (4)
The next of the list of foods to improve your immune system is apples. There are many reasons why apples are recommended for building a strong immunity and overall good health.
Firstly, apples contain good quantities of all the essential vitamins like A, E, B1, B2 and vitamin C. All these vitamins are essential for the proper function of the immune system.
One of the prominent nutrients found in apples is pectin, a type of fiber which is a pre-biotic. This substance boosts the production of the good bacteria in your gut.
Our gut bacteria directly regulates the function of our immune system by releasing compounds in our gut that act on our immune cells and modulate their function.
Soluble fiber changes the personality of the immune cells. They from being pro-inflammatory, angry cells to anti-inflammatory, healing cells that help us recover faster from infections.
Yogurts are great not just for the smooth taste but also in helping build your immune system besides other health benefits. They contain probiotic bacteria that help in achieving this. Studies confirm the probiotics present in yogurt aids in strengthening your gut health.
Not all yogurts are created equal. Look for the ones with unsweetened and ‘active cultures’ on the label, such as Greek yogurt. You want to get plain yogurt that don’t have added sugars and fruits from the factory. These additives contain lots of sugar.
Instead you can sweeten it with honey and your own choice of healthy fruits.
In addition, yogurts are mostly fortified with vitamin D as an added health benefit. Vitamin D is proven to aid in boosting your immune system to help fight off infections. So look for plain yogurt that is also fortified with this vitamin.
Having variety in your diet is the key to staying healthy and being in optimal physical shape. Regularly adding these immunity boosting foods to your diet is certainly a great start to fighting off infections.
In addition to regularly eating these foods that boost your immune system, regular exercise, adequate sleep and proper supplementation are all essential to build a good immunity to protect yourself and your family from common illnesses.
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