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25 immune system boosting foods

25 foods to boost the immune system

Published on August 2, 2021

The immune system is a hot issue these days, and for a valid reason. This essential system keeps you robust and healthy by fighting off invaders that threaten your health. The meals you eat are near the top of the list of things that ordinary people can do to strengthen their immune systems.

You have complete control over what you eat, and with a bit of discipline and ingenuity, you can incorporate various immune-boosting items into your daily diet.

COVID-19 and Immune System

While more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccines daily, there is one thing to bear in mind: the coronavirus itself is still spreading all over the country and around the world. While there are no foods that can protect you from COVID-19, there are ways to make viral symptoms less severe and keep you healthy. As you would during flu season, now is an excellent time to stock up on nutrients like vitamin C and maintain hygienic practices like appropriate hand-washing.

Of course, the most effective strategy to prevent coronavirus spread is to practice social distancing and stay at home as much as possible. However, you can also defend your body by eating nutrients that boost your immune system. If you haven’t already, you should start eating these foods! 

Here are 25 immune-boosting foods to get you started:

1. Garlic

Garlic may be found in almost every cuisine on the planet. It provides a little zing to food and is essential for good health. Garlic is packed with vitamins B and C, manganese, selenium, iron, copper and potassium. Early civilizations recognized its effectiveness in fighting illnesses. Garlic may also decrease artery hardening, and there is some evidence that it may help lower blood pressure. Garlic’s immune-boosting benefits appear to be due to a high quantity of sulphur-containing substances like allicin.

Garlic is packed with vitamins B and C, manganese, selenium, iron, copper and potassium.

There was one review. The researchers at Trusted Source investigated whether consuming garlic supplements containing allicin reduced the likelihood of catching a cold.

Participants in the placebo group had more than twice the colds as those in the garlic supplement group. The researchers concluded, however, that further research is needed to understand whether garlic can mitigate colds.

2. Citrus Fruits

After catching a cold, most individuals reach for vitamin C. This is because it helps in the development of your immune system. Vitamin C is known to boost white blood cells, which are essential for combating infections.

Vitamin C levels are high in almost all citrus fruits.
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Vitamin C levels are high in almost all citrus fruits. With so many options, it’s simple to incorporate this vitamin into every meal. Popular citrus fruits include grapefruit, oranges, clementine, tangerines, lemons, and limes.

Because your body neither makes nor stores vitamin C, you must consume it daily to maintain your health. While scientists aren’t sure how it works, vitamin C may shorten the duration of viral infection symptoms and boost the immune system’s performance.

3.Watermelon

Watermelon is rich in vitamin C, lycopene, carotenoids (including beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A), and cucurbitacin E, an anti-inflammatory plant ingredient. Plus, it’s incredibly moisturizing.

Watermelon Slices
Watermelon is rich in vitamin C, lycopene, carotenoids (including beta carotene)

Watermelon has only eight calories per 2-cup serving. Other nutrients found in watermelon include vitamins B6 and glutathione. A healthy immune system relies on vitamins, minerals, and chemicals, such as glutathione.

4. Elderberries

The benefits of elderberry are numerous; yet, the treatment may interfere with certain prescription drugs. Before adding any new medication to your regimen, always consult with your doctor or pharmacist. The following medicines may interact with elderberry.

Elderberry syrup is used as a treatment for colds, flu, and bacterial sinus infections.

Elderberry syrup is used as a treatment for colds, flu, and bacterial sinus infections. The plant remedy works by lowering swelling in mucous membranes. According to specific research, elderberry extract can shorten the duration of the flu. If it helps with flu infections, it may assist your immune system fight coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in selenium as well as Vitamin B, such as riboflavin and niacin. These vitamins and minerals are required for the immune system to function correctly. Mushrooms are also abundant in polysaccharides, which seem to be sugar-like compounds that help the immune system.

Mushrooms
Mushrooms are rich in selenium as well as Vitamin B.

6. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are high in minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and E. Vitamin E aids in regulating and maintaining immune system function. Avocados and dark leafy greens are two other foods strong in vitamin E. Sunflower seeds have high selenium content.

Sunflower seeds are high in minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and E.

Just 1 ounce contains approximately half of the selenium that the average adult needs daily. Several types of research, mainly on animals, have looked into its ability to combat viral illnesses such as swine flu (H1N1).

Sunflower seeds, despite their modest size, pack a powerful punch. With high levels of phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, and antioxidants, these tiny seeds are ideal for incorporating into your diet at any time of year.

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7. Green Tea

Green tea is high in antioxidants and contains the amino acid theanine, which aids in preventing ailments. Green tea has been a mainstay in various Asian civilizations for millennia, and it is now becoming increasingly popular in North America.

Green tea is high in antioxidants and contains theanine.

Flavonoids, a type of antioxidant, are abundant in both green and black teas. Green tea shines when it comes to levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another potent antioxidant.

EGCG has been shown in trials to improve immunological function. A large portion of the EGCG in black tea is destroyed during the fermenting process. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed rather than fermented, preserving the EGCG. Green tea is also high in the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may help your T cells produce germ-fighting chemicals.

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8. Blueberries

Anthocyanin is a flavonoid in blueberries. There are antioxidant qualities to anthocyanin. Your immune system benefits greatly from antioxidants. They improve your body’s resistance to a variety of ailments.

Blueberries
Blueberries are full of antioxidants.

According to studies, people who consume foods rich in flavonoids are less likely to have an upper respiratory infection. Blueberries are also effective in fighting the typical cold and flu, as well as other infections.

9. Pumpkin Seeds

These tasty seeds are high in vitamin E, zinc, and essential fatty acids, such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant omega-3. Vitamin E is necessary for antibody synthesis. These operate as our bodies’ bodyguards, destroying any infections that seek to harm us. Zinc promotes the growth of infection-fighting lymphocytes and T cells.

Pumpkin Seeds
These tasty seeds are high in vitamin E, zinc, and essential fatty acids.

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10. Almonds

Vitamin E often takes a back seat to vitamin C when it comes to preventing and combating colds. This potent antioxidant, on the other hand, is essential for a healthy immune system.

Almonds
Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E.

Almonds are the nut family’s undisputed champion. They contain significant levels of vitamin E, which protects your cells from damage. When you have a cold or the flu, eating almonds helps to enhance your immune system. Almond butter, slivered almonds, and almond milk make it simple to incorporate almonds into your everyday diet.

It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it needs fat to be absorbed correctly. Almonds, for example, are high in vitamin E and also contain healthful fats.

Adults only require about 15 milligrams of vitamin E per day. A half-cup portion of almonds, around 46 whole, shelled almonds, contains approximately 100 per cent of the required daily intake.

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11. Sweet potatoes

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain high levels of fibre, vitamin C and beneficial minerals.

Sweet potatoes contain high levels of fibre, vitamin C and beneficial minerals. But sweet potatoes are loaded with more powerful antioxidants for your immune system; chlorogenic acid, anthocyanins and carotene, which converts to vitamin A, the excellent anti-inflammatory vitamin. This vitamin is perfect for both the regulation and development of your immune system.

12. Ginger

Another component that many people resort to when they are sick is ginger. Ginger may help reduce inflammation, which can assist with a sore throat and other inflammatory disorders. Ginger may also assist with nausea.

Ginger root & Powder
Ginger is another immune-boosting food you can add to your diet today.

While ginger is commonly used in sweet treats, it also contains some heat in gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger has been shown to reduce chronic pain and may even have cholesterol-lowering properties.

Antioxidants in foods like ginger neutralize free radicals and protect against arthritis, cancer, neurological disorders, and other diseases.

To create tea, grate some fresh ginger and steep it in boiling water. Freshly grated ginger is also a tasty complement to healthful stir-fried vegetables. Ginger has been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral effects.

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13. Spinach

This vegetable is high in vitamins A, C, and E and antioxidants, which the body needs. When cooked briefly, spinach retains the most nutrients. Replace your salad lettuce with this infection-fighting leafy green by adding fresh spinach to your smoothie!

This vegetable is high in vitamins A, C, and E and antioxidants.

Spinach made our list not only because it is high in vitamin C but also because it contains various antioxidants and beta carotene, which may help our immune systems battle infections.

Spinach, like broccoli, is healthiest when cooked as little as possible to preserve its nutrients. On the other hand, light cooking improves the absorption of vitamin A and permits other nutrients to be liberated from oxalic acid, an antinutrient. 

14. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are rich in punicalagin, which is an antioxidant found in its juice and peel. These beautiful fruits have three times more antioxidants than red wine or green tea, and they are highly anti-inflammatory.

Pomegranates
Pomegranates are rich in punicalagin, which is an antioxidant found in its juice and peel.

Pomegranates also contain high levels of vitamin E and C, which can significantly boost the immune system.

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15. Yogurt

Look for yogurts that say “live and active cultures” on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may help your immune system fight diseases by stimulating them.

Greek Yogurt
Yogurt can be a great addition to your diet to boost your immune system

Purchase plain yogurt rather than flavoured and sugar-laden varieties. Instead, you can sweeten plain yogurt with fresh fruits and a dab of honey.

Yogurt can also be a good source of vitamin D, so look for fortified types with this vitamin. Vitamin D is thought to improve our body’s natural defences against illnesses by helping to control the immune system.

16. Turmeric

Turmeric is a common component in many curries. This bright yellow, bitter spice has been utilized as an anti-inflammatory in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis for years.

Turmeric Powder
This bright yellow, bitter spice has been utilized as an anti-inflammatory in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis for years.

According to Sources, high amounts of curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its unique colour, can help reduce exercise-induced muscle damage. Based on animal research, curcumin has the potential to be an immune booster and an antiviral. More investigation is required.

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17. Kefir

Kefir is a fermented drink that is widely available in supermarkets and is famous for its immune-boosting properties. It contains live bacteria cultures, which help reduce inflammation, boost antioxidant activity, and fight bacteria.

Kefir is a fermented drink famous for its immune-boosting properties.

As Dr Axe explains, this fermented dairy product is a combination of milk and starter “grains” — a variety of bacteria and yeasts interacting with the milk. It’s popular in many countries, mainly because You can make it with any type of milk (from cows, sheep and goats, to rice and coconut). “Kefir contains 10 to 34 types of probiotics, which are essential for gut health and immune function,” explains Dr Axe. While you can drink kefir on its own, he recommends adding it to smoothies or using it as a base in soups and spreads.

18. Eggs

Adequate protein consumption is vital for an immunological response, and eggs are a fantastic way to do this. They also contain vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E that your body requires for good immune functioning.

Eggs
Eggs contain vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E that your body requires for good immune functioning.

If possible, choose eggs from birds on a vegetarian diet. You’ll receive ones with slightly more significant quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins D and E. There is no need for organic or cage-free versions, as these do not appear to influence nutrient levels.

19. Salmon

Immunity-boosting benefits aren’t commonly linked with salmon. Still, appropriate and consistent intake of omega-3s (especially DHA and EPA, which are two types found in cold-water fish) is critical for reducing inflammation. As a result, the immune system may concentrate its efforts on protecting the body against microorganisms and combating sickness.

Salmon Fish
Salmon is high in vitamin D and the antioxidant component selenium, enhancing immunological function.

Stock up on canned salmon or mild tuna in water. Both fishes are high in vitamin D and the antioxidant component selenium, enhancing immunological function.

20. Papayas

Another fruit high in vitamin C is papaya. A single medium fruit contains more than double the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Papayas also contain papain, a digestive enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties.

Another fruit high in vitamin C is papaya. Photo by alleksana from Pexels

Consuming papaya in its raw form helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and cholesterol levels in balance. High in vitamins A, B, C, and K, the fruit is an excellent immune booster.

Minerals found in papayas include potassium, calcium, copper, and magnesium. According to research, papaya can lower oxidative stress and increase immunity in older persons.

21. Kiwi

Kiwis, like papayas, are naturally high in a variety of critical elements such as folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

Vitamin C helps white blood cells fight infection, while the other minerals in kiwi keep the rest of your body running smoothly.

Kiwis are naturally high in various critical elements such as folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that improves your immune system, aids in collagen creation, and protects against infection and inflammation. Keeping your body nourished with vitamin C can help protect it from dangerous germs. Consuming one kiwifruit every day helps to keep your vitamin C levels stable.

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22. Dark chocolate

Cacao contains theobromine. Immune system-boosting antioxidant, theobromine. This substance defends your body’s cells against free radical damage.

Cacao contains theobromine. Immune system-boosting antioxidant

When food is broken down, the body produces free radicals. The body may also absorb them as a result of exposure to specific contaminants. Free radicals can damage cells in the body, increasing the risk of disease. This means that dark chocolate has a very positive impact on the immune system. Despite all of its benefits, dark chocolate is heavy in calories and saturated fats. Consequently, You should consume it in moderation.

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23. Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutrient-dense powerhouse that can help boost your immune system. One cup of broccoli contains the same amount of vitamin C as an orange. The vegetable also has a lot of beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Broccoli contains a variety of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B6). These vitamins and minerals work together to keep the immune system in peak condition. Another beneficial chemical found in broccoli is glutathione, the body’s main antioxidant.

Broccoli is high in vitamins and minerals.

Broccoli is high in vitamins and minerals. Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies you can eat because it is high in vitamins A, C, and E, fibre, and many other antioxidants.

The key to preserving its potency is to cook it as little as possible, if at all. According to the Source, steaming is the best approach to maintain more nutrients in food.

24. Red Bell Peppers

Think again if you believe citrus fruits offer the highest vitamin C content of any fruit or vegetable. Red bell peppers have nearly three times the amount of vitamin C (127 mg) as a Florida orange (45 mg). They are also high in beta carotene.

Red Bell Peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Vitamin C may help you maintain healthy skin in addition to boosting your immune system. Beta carotene, which your body transforms into vitamin A, boosts eyes and skin health.

The vitamin C content of red bell pepper is high. A diet high in vitamin C-rich veggies can help strengthen your immune system. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can help your body develop suitable antibodies, so preventing infections.

25.Shellfish

Take a crab cracker and enjoy! It’s important to note that some shellfish are incredibly high in zinc, a mineral needed for the growth and function of your immune cells.

Shellfish are incredibly high in zinc.

Healthy inflammation response is promoted by zinc, and oxidative stress is reduced by its presence, which occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are unbalanced. Our immune cells require zinc to operate appropriately. If the immune cells do not act as they are supposed to, rheumatoid arthritis will develop and become chronic. In this circumstance, they wrongly assault a portion of our body.

Conclusion

The key to good nutrition is variety. Even if you eat one of these meals regularly, it will not be enough to help you fight the flu or other infections. Pay attention to serving sizes and the suggested daily intake to avoid getting too much of one vitamin and not enough others.

Eating well is an excellent place to start, but there are additional things you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu, cold, and other ailments.

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