The immune system acts as an active defender of our body system as it aids in preventing attacks from bacteria and viruses. A robust immune system helps to reduce the severity of any ailment. Our body cells can bounce back effectively following an illness thanks to our immune defense.
One effective way to strengthen your immune system is by consuming nutritious foods that boost the immune system and help fight diseases. These foods that boost the immune system are not only wholesome but are also full of flavor.
This article covers the top 15 foods that can boost the immune system effectively when consumed.
Here are the 15 Foods that boost the immune system
Elderberry is a shrub that grows in rocky mountain areas in North America. This plant has been used medicinally for a long time. The flowers and fruits are edible, whereas the other parts are poisonous hence should not be consumed.
Elderberry comes in many forms, such as extracts, gummies, teas, and pills. This amazing plant has anticancer, antiviral, as well as anti-inflammatory attributes. It is also packed with vitamins and flavonoids that can build your immune system.
People take elderberry syrup for treating bacterial sinus infections, colds, and flu. According to some studies, elderberry extract helps minimize flu symptoms, congestion, headaches, stress, joint pain, and kidney problems.
Although elderberry comes with lots of benefits, the remedy can interact with some prescription medicines. Therefore, consult your physician before adding elderberry to your diet plan.
2. Acai Berry
This is a fruit that comes from the acai palm tree found in parts of Thailand, Brazil, and South America. It contains a high amount of anthocyanins, which have potent antioxidants. These help to mop up free radicals and hence fight against oxidative stress within our system.
Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation and also boosts your body’s immunity. It is also a rich source of healthy fats and fiber.
Studies show that Acai berry can help :
- Reduces rectum cancer
- Increases PSA (prostate-specific antigen)
- Minimizes constipation
- Helps in treating cardiovascular ailments and metabolic syndrome
- Acai berry can fight symptoms of flu and yeast infections.
Besides being useful for keeping your system hydrated, hot chicken or vegetable soups are a healthy source of starch, protein, and vitamins. Furthermore, soups are delicious meals thanks to the inclusion of onions, garlic, ginger, and other flavorful spices.
Hot soup also aids in de-clogging your nasal passages while combating flu and the common cold. Additionally, it promotes the production of secretions which help to eliminate viruses and bacteria from your body.
The spices such as turmeric, ginger, Oregon, and garlic added in the soup help suppress pain, coughing, fever, and function as mild sedatives. In particular, garlic helps target H. pylori, which is responsible for the development of stomach cancers and ulcers.
Oysters, wild-caught from the deep sea waters, come with lots of nutritional benefits. For instance, 3 ounces of Pacific oysters will give you 50% of your daily requirement of iron, 180% of your daily requirement of selenium, and 25% of your daily vitamin C requirement.
Oysters are also rich in protein, vitamin A, and zinc. These minerals and vitamins are essential for a strong immune function.
There are different ways to consume these food items. Although most people prefer eating raw oysters, there are other ways to eat them, such as grilling or stewing.
One of the top immune-boosting fruits happens to be watermelon. One single cup serving of this beneficial fruit provides 40% of the daily requirement of vitamin A, 280 mg of potassium, as well as 25% of the daily needed vitamin C.
Watermelon has fewer calories therefore it can be consumed in large quantities. For instance, one cup serving of watermelon has only 80 calories.
This fruit super fruit is also a good source of glutathione and vitamin B6. Our system needs these essential nutrients for a proper immune function.
You can consume watermelon in salads, lemonades, juices, sorbet, or good pops.
Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, limes, Clementine, tangerine, and grapefruits have high contents of vitamin C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin C can aid in boosting our immune system, fight infections, and fight free radicals.
Citrus fruits are also low in calories but are very high in fiber and water, which can help reduce weight, lower cholesterol, and improve your digestive health. These fruits can also reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers and increase iron absorption from other foods.
Our system needs vitamin C from external sources since it cannot produce it on its own. It is, therefore, essential to add Citrus fruits in your diet.
Mushrooms contain a high amount of antioxidants, vitamins, B, D, and selenium, which are responsible for a robust immune system. Mushrooms contain all the essential amino acids which our body requires for proper functioning.
These food items also supply much-needed proteins and anti-inflammatory compounds, which help reduce inflammation, slow down the aging process, and improve longevity.
Preparing mushrooms by adding them to your stir-fries, soups, and pizza toppings can be a delicious way to include them in your regimen.
Green tea has high amounts of antioxidants/polyphenols and flavonoids. Antioxidants help to fight and alleviate free radicals to prevent premature aging and the destruction of healthy cells. They also help lower the risk of developing certain cancers by reducing the oxidative damage of cells.
Additionally, several studies show that green tea has antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can help to inhibit the growth of disease-causing pathogens.
Green tea also aids in keeping your system hydrated. Make it a point not to mix green tea with milk since the proteins present in milk can reduce the effects of tea by binding with the polyphenols.
Garlic contains a compound called Allicin, which is activated when you crash or cut fresh garlic. Allicin has powerful antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral properties, which can effectively treat and reduce the reproduction of harmful bacteria.
Studies show that it can amplify our immune system, and enhance the production of more white blood cells, which can help fight bugs. It can as well effectively kill multi-resistant superbugs such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
The antiviral properties of garlic make it useful in preventing and reducing the symptoms of flu and common colds.
Garlic is more potent when you consume it in its raw form though you can also find it in powdered forms, extract, or capsule. Add it to your salads, sauces, soups, or infuse it in your teas.
10.Dark green leafy vegetables
Dark green leafy vegetables such as collards, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, and kale are healthy sources of vitamin A, C and E, beta-Carotene, antioxidants, fiber, and folate.
These nutrients help to repair damaged body tissues, reduce inflammation, fight disease, and enhance the proper functioning of cells within our system.
Prepare a delicious salad using green veggies along with a tasty dressing to satisfying your taste buds. You can also add vegetables to your soups.
11.Nuts and dry fruits
Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachio, cashews, and dry fruits like dates can help strengthen your immune function.
These have high contents of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as zinc, selenium, and iron that are essential for keeping our body cells healthy.
They contain healthy fats and oils, which, when consumed in moderation, can strengthen your heart. They can also help lower cholesterol and inflammation in the body.
Sunflower seeds have high contents of powerful antioxidants, vitamin E, and minerals such as selenium, copper, and magnesium.
These nutrients are necessary for a more robust immune system. They can fight infections, prevent free radicals, and improve the appearance of your skin.
You can spout sunflower seeds, add them to your salads, snack on them, and add them to your nut mix or breakfast bowl.
13.Red Bell Peppers
Bell peppers happen to be a good source of vitamin C. Compared to an orange, a red bell pepper has got twice the amount of vitamin C.
Additionally, they are also rich in vitamins A and E,- an effective antioxidant that helps build a robust immune response and improve your skin health. They also have essential compounds that help to improve brain functions.
You can include slices of bell pepper in salads, stir-fry along with other vegetables, or use them in making soups.
Yogurt contains live and active probiotics that are potent for a healthy immune system. These cultures help to fight diseases and support our gut.
It is essential to add probiotic-rich foods like yogurt in your diet to help promote the growth of good bacteria that can enhance your gut permeability, and strengthen your microbiome.
Fresh Ginger has a powerful compound called gingerol that has high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. These components make ginger excellent for fighting infections, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the immune system.
Other benefits of ginger include:
- Lowering cholesterol
- Easing digestion and preventing constipation
- Reliving symptoms of flu and common colds
- Its Ability to fight certain cancers as it exhibits anticancer properties
- Boosts weight loss
- Regulate blood sugar
Ginger should be taken in moderation because it has some natural blood-thinning properties; thus, it may cause excessive bleeding if consumed in large amounts.
Ginger may also react with some medications; therefore, consult your doctor before adding it to your regimen.
Other ways to boost your immune system
Eating these foods alone may not be sufficient to enhance your immunity and prevent diseases. You still need to eat a balanced diet, do moderate physical exercises, and practice good personal hygiene to stay healthy.