Super Healthy Foods That Will Boost Your Immunity
Food is the best medicine. Many foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help you stay healthy.
Your immune system includes a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect you from pathogens — the germs that cause illness. Your immune system does not work alone: it needs nutrients from food for fuel and support. So, if you want to boost your immunity, you need to eat nutritious food regularly.
Here are the top foods that will boost your immunity:
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerine, etc., are rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps build your immune system.
The nutrient helps in building white blood cells which fight against infections. The antioxidants in citrus fruits also help in reducing inflammation and boosting immunity. They can be eaten fresh or squeezed into a glass of water to make a vitamin-rich drink.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and potassium. They also contain potent antioxidants, which are essential for fighting infections.
- Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits like oranges. Betacarotene, vitamin B6, folic acid, and iron are other vitamins and minerals found in bell peppers.
Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E as well as fiber and many essential nutrients. It also consists of antioxidants that aid immune system functions by neutralizing free radicals. Broccoli may help guard against infection and chronic illnesses such as cancer.
Garlic is known for its antimicrobial properties which help boost immunity against colds and flu viruses. Garlic contains allicin, a chemical compound with anti-bacterial properties that help fortify the immune system.
Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It also has been shown to enhance immune function by boosting levels of certain immune cells like lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells. These cells kill bacteria and viruses that invade the body.
Shellfish like oysters and clams contain zinc, which is an important mineral that helps boost your immune system. Oysters also contain vitamin C and iron, which have been shown to help shorten the duration of colds in those who are infected.
Yogurt is a good source of probiotics, which are bacteria that help keep the gut healthy by regulating digestion and promoting regular bowel movements. This prevents pathogens from entering your bloodstream and causing infections or other illnesses that can lower your immunity.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin by strengthening the tissues in its outermost layer, preventing harmful pathogens from entering your body.
This spice is used in almost every Indian dish. It helps relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation by inhibiting the formation of free radicals. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric that helps fight infections and boost immunity.
- Green Tea
Having a cup of green tea is one of the easiest ways to boost your immunity. It contains flavonoids that fight against free radicals, which help in boosting the immune system. Green tea also contains antioxidants, which act as an anti-inflammatory agent to protect the body from cold and flu.
Almonds contain nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, and zinc, which help remove free radicals from the body. They have also been known to reduce cancer risk due to their high vitamin E content. Almonds are packed with the goodness of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E helps increase the level of gamma-tocopherol in the body that fights off viral infections and other illnesses.
- Sun Flower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules, such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. Sunflower seeds also provide protein, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, and copper.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fight off free radicals that can damage cells, and vitamins B1 and B6 help support the immune system. Magnesium is involved in over 300 cellular processes, including regulating blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and protein formation. Selenium is an antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage by working closely with vitamin E in the body. In addition to their immune-boosting properties, sunflower seeds are a great source of protein, helping build muscle strength and healthy tissue.
The powerful antioxidant vitamin E—found in abundance in cashews—is known for its disease-fighting ability. A quarter cup of cashews provides nearly 100 percent of your daily requirement for this vitamin which has been shown to protect against prostate cancer. Cashews are also a good source of magnesium—a mineral that helps regulate calcium levels in the blood—which may help keep bones strong and prevent osteoporosis. In addition to vitamin E and magnesium, cashews are a good source.
Mushrooms provide a wide array of health benefits containing selenium and copper that boost immunity. They also contain beta-glucan, which stimulates white blood cells to fight infections.
Papayas are rich in vitamin C and beta carotene, boosting immunity by protecting against free radicals and stimulating white blood cells to fight infections. They also contain papain, an enzyme that helps prevent inflammation and aids in digestion.
Kiwi is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Although it is a small fruit, it packs a lot of nutrients, including vitamins E and K, potassium, folate, copper, and fiber.
- Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranates contain punicalagins — powerful antioxidants responsible for many of their health benefits. Punicalagins may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, both associated with chronic diseases and tissue damage throughout the body (1). Additionally, pomegranate seeds contain high amounts of vitamin C, another antioxidant nutrient that supports immune function.
This fruit is a powerhouse of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. It also contains vitamin C and amino acids, which contribute to good health.