Nutritionists and health experts say people should revert to the basics of healthy eating, managing stress and exercising to boost their immune system with fears over Covid-19 taking center stage all over the world. The immune system should have been built up over the years, not just now, but we need more antioxidants now, and fruits and vegetables are the best source.
Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Plan your meals to include these powerful immune system boosters.
As you head to the supermarket to fill up the stockpiling cupboard, it might be worth choosing items that could help protect you against infections. Eating certain foods is not going to stave off coronavirus, but it may help you boost your immune system, which in turn could prepare your body to fight off the virus. From vitamin-packed fruits to the benefits of bone broth, here are the foods and ingredients that are believed to improve your body’s natural defenses, as recommended by the experts.
Vitamin C is known as an ascorbic acid, it is an essential nutrient, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free radicals, a type of unstable molecule known to damage the immune system.
. To increase your vitamin C intake, add these foods to your diet:
- citrus fruits and juices (such as orange and grapefruit)
- kiwi fruit
- red and green peppers
- Raw apples
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant. Research suggests maintaining ample levels of vitamin E is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system, especially among older people. To get your fill of vitamin E, look to these foods:
- wheat germ oil
- sunflower seeds
- peanut butter
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of essential fatty acid known to suppress inflammation and keep the immune system in check. Research suggests that omega-3s can protect against immune system disorders like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Try these omega-3-rich foods:
- oily fish (including mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, and trout)
Most people turn to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These are key to fighting infections.
Popular citrus fruits include:
Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
Red bell peppers or Tatashe
Tatashes contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may also help decrease nausea.
While it’s used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties.
High intake of turmeric and onions, which is rich in quercetin, are foods that boost your immune system. It has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, researched Trusted Source shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.
It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6.
Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.
This fruit is loaded with vitamin C. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. They also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.
With decent amounts of potassium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.
Green tea is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine which may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved.
Some type of shellfish are packed with zinc. Although Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.
Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:
Keep in mind that you don’t want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. For adult men, its 11 milligrams (mg), and for women, it’s 8 mg. Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.
Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are pre-flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.
Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.
Zinc is an essential mineral involved in the production of certain immune cells. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) caution that even mildly low levels of zinc may impair your immune function. Here are some top food sources of zinc:
- baked beans
- raisin bran
To keep your immune system healthy, it’s important to get sufficient sleep, exercise regularly, and manage your stress.
A lot of protein, it doesn’t matter what type, be it fish or eggs, because protein is a very important component in the immune system
Drinking a lot of water, at least eight glasses a day and a balanced diet, is a must to build up the immune system.
Note that high sugar intake will be detrimental to one’s health.
Although supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and other nutrients found in whole foods are often touted as natural immune-boosters, some research indicates that taking dietary supplements may have limited benefits for the immune system. For people who are sick and have undergone surgery, or old people who cannot eat well, supplements will help But for the average person, the 35-year-olds who are physically active or young children it is best to seek the advice of a nutritionist, if you want to take supplements at these times, it is better to talk to a nutritionist first to weigh the pros and cons.
Please Wash your hands!