“Health is wealth” is an old adage, yet as true as ever; especially in this era of technology-driven life of people, where prolonged inactivity, pollution, and stress have become a part of everyday life. Under these circumstances, maintaining a healthy body requires paying attention to food and exercise. Building a strong immune system is vital since immunity and natural resistance go hand-in-hand with good general health. Here is a list of foods that are claimed to have immunity-boosting characteristics along with being generally vital to maintaining a balanced diet.
Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits are a rich source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to improve immunity by increasing the production of White Blood Cells (WBCs). WBCs will fight infections caused by foreign bodies. Some fruits high in Vitamin C include lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines. As our bodies are not built to store or produce Vitamin C, it is essential to add it to our daily diet menu.
Nuts and Raisins: Next to Vitamin C, Vitamin E is another essential vitamin that helps in preventing and fighting off colds. It requires fat to be absorbed by the body as it is a fat-soluble vitamin. Nuts and raisins are a power pack of vitamins and fats so taking them on a daily basis will give your body the recommended dose of vitamin E.
Turmeric: Turmeric is a spice which is added to many foods in Indian cuisine. Curcumin in turmeric is not only a powerful anti-oxidant but also helps repair muscle damage caused by exercise. It helps to rejuvenate the cells and improves mood.
Green Tea: Flavonoids are a type of anti-oxidants which helps fight against unwanted foreign bodies that enter the body. Green tea is also rich in epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG which is another anti-oxidant. It is also a source of an amino acid called L-theonine which aids in germ-fighting compounds in the T-cells.
Papaya: Papaya is a power packed fruit rich in Vitamin C along with other nutrients and minerals such as potassium, vitamin B, folate, etc., all of which are extremely beneficial to the overall health. It also has a digestive enzyme – papain that has anti-inflammatory properties.
Poultry: The symptoms of cold and flu can be improved with chicken soup. Vitamin B-6 acts as a catalyst in many chemical reactions that occur in the body. Chicken and turkey are a rich source of this vitamin. New and healthy Red Blood Cells (RBCs) are formed with the help of Vitamin B6. It blocks the migration of inflammatory WBCs. The amino acid cystein, released during the cooking process is similar to bronchitis drug acetylcysteine.
Yogurt: Yogurt contains probiotics which are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.
Ginger: Ginger is a spice that decreases inflammation. Ginger extract, taken along with a dash of honey will reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. It also helps in reducing chronic pain and has cholesterol-lowering properties.
Garlic: Garlic is another spice which fights infections, helps lower blood pressure, and slows down hardening of arteries which means it is not only a good immunity booster but it is also good for your heart health.
Sunflower Seeds: The nutrients such as phosphorus, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin E are all found in sunflower seeds, all of which regulate and maintain immune system function.
Green Leafy Vegetables: Green Leafy Vegetables such as spinach are rich in vitamin C and many other anti-oxidants which help boost the immune system. They are also rich in beta-carotene which increases the infection-fighting ability of your immune system.
Broccoli and cabbage: These are supercharged with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, and E. They are a rich source of many anti-oxidants and fiber as well.
Whole Grains: Whole grains such as unpolished brown rice, whole oats, whole barley and whole wheat contain beta-glucan, which is a type of fiber with anti-microbial and anti-oxidant capabilities. Including these grains in the diet will make you less prone to catching a cold, flu, etc. it also helps in fast recovery from wounds and improves the healing power. They help maintain a clean and healthy body.
Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which is converted by the body into vitamin A which is essential for the production of connective tissues.
Water: Water not only keeps you hydrated and elevates your mood by reducing stress, but also helps flush out unwanted materials out of the body. Drinking plenty of water or fresh vegetable and fruit juice without added sugars or artificial flavours is another great idea to stay healthy and fit. You can also eat watermelons or grapes to keep your body hydrated.