As the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, government authorities have implemented stringent measures and nationwide lockdowns. While medical professionals and scientists engage in incessant research to develop an antibiotic that can fight the deadly coronavirus, the need to boost immunity has also become paramount.
Nutrition and lifestyle habits have a massive influence on the immune system and vulnerability to infectious diseases. The human body’s immune system works with white blood cells to produce antibodies that protect against bacteria, viruses and other infections. Experts suggest a low-fat, plant-based diet as the best bet to boost the immune system. We now take a look at the top 7 foods that can boost immunity.
1. Green vegetables:
Leafy green vegetables provide necessary nutrients for DNA repair and cell division. Spinach, in particular, is a superfood full of vital nutrients. High content of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium and fiber in spinach can do wonders to boost immunity. Broccoli is also known for its immunity-boosting characteristics. In addition to vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, protein, and fiber, the dark green vegetable that resembles a miniature tree has high levels of antioxidants that inhibit cell damage caused by free radicals and lead to reduced inflammation.
Good old carrots are full of beta carotene that acts as an antioxidant. Beta carotene supports the body’s mucus membrane lining the respiratory and intestinal tracts. Packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, carrots can guard the body against harmful bacteria and viruses. Carrot juice increases the production of red blood cells, which in turn boosts hemoglobin levels in the body. A high level of potassium can enhance blood flow circulation and help bring down high blood pressure.
3. Fresh fruits:
Fresh fruits are full of vitamins and minerals that are vital for developing the body’s resistance to infections. Citrus fruits such as orange, sweet lime and kiwi are super foods to boost immunity. Watermelon, mangoes, oranges, lemon and strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C rich foods destroy free radicals and strengthen the natural immune response. Watermelon has a heavy concentration of lycopene that helps reduce respiratory inflammation. Mangoes offer a delightful treat to develop immunity. In addition to vitamin C, A, E and K, mangoes have a substance called mangiferin that is known for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Turmeric and Cinnamon:
Turmeric has long been used in ancient medicine to cure breathing related disorders. Loaded with compounds such as curcumin, the yellow-orange spice is now touted as a superfood that can help fight cancer, depression and other ailments. Research suggests curcumin can help ward off a variety of viruses. Cinnamon, on the other hand, not only boosts immunity but also fights pathogens that cause illness. It is known to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that make it one of the best foods to develop resistance to infections. In addition to food, cinnamon can be added in tea or coffee for a powerful brew.
5. Herbal tea:
Made from dried fruits, flowers or herbs such as chamomile, herbal teas can fight against several ailments. A daily cup of herbal tea that contains powerful antioxidants can ensure that you do not catch common cold and other infections. Tea infusions with ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon and clove aid in strengthening immunity. Ginger tea, in particular, is extremely popular. It helps fight inflammation and packs a punch of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Garlic is commonly used in the kitchen to add flavour to food. With the natural presence of compounds that have medicinal properties, garlic helps keep bacteria and virus at bay. Along with vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, and vitamin C, garlic has minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc. High sulfur content in garlic lends antibiotic properties and builds immunity against ailments such as common cold.
7. Nuts and seeds:
A healthy dose of dry fruits such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, dates and apricots can protect the body against common infections. These dry fruits are a great source of proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients such as proteins, calcium and antioxidants and can also help keep infections at bay.