The main objective of your immune system is to fight off pathogens like bacteria, viruses and other foreign bodies that can cause infections and diseases. An immune response is triggered when the system comes in contact with any pathogen. The immune system releases antibodies that then kill the pathogen. (Burgess, 2018)
How fast and effectively your body responds to such pathogens depends on how strong your immune system is. Certain kinds of foods and following a healthy lifestyle provide immune system support.
For better immune system support, a healthy and well-balanced diet is essential. Certain food items are supposed to help boost the immune system. However, these do not provide complete protection against any specific diseases. There is no research showing that any of the foods mentioned below can specifically prevent any disease. (Schend, 2020)
What to Add to Your Diet
Here’s a list of food items you can add to your meals for better immune system support:Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges, limes, lemons and more are rich in Vitamin C. A water-soluble vitamin, it is known as a potent antioxidant that helps avoid infections and is often used as a remedy for cold.
- Berries: Different kinds of berries like the acai berry, elderberries, and blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants owing to a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which helps provide vital immune system support.
- Kiwi: Kiwis are packed with nutrients like potassium, folate, Vitamin C and Vitamin K making it a great option as a healthy snack that boosts your immunity. You can add them to your smoothie or make a salad for a well-balanced meal.
- Bell Peppers: If the sugar content of fruits is an issue, vegetables like red and yellow bell peppers are loaded with Vitamin C, are a source of Vitamin A and contain a high dose of fiber. (Schend 2020)
- Broccoli: Another rich source of Vitamin C, broccoli is the green vegetable that can always add more nutrients to make your meal well-balanced and healthy.
- Turmeric: A bright yellow spice, turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that it has high concentrations of curcumin, which shows promise as an immune booster. (Schend, 2020)
- Garlic: More research is required to understand how effective garlic is against a cold, but it is a common home remedy believed to ward off colds as well as other common ailments.
- Ginger: As per a review, ginger may have anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the case of a sore throat, colds and other ailments. It may also help reduce pain. However, more research is required to determine the effectiveness of ginger in the case of illness. (Burgess, 2018)
- Green Tea: Green tea contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants known to help your respiratory system and have a low dose of caffeine. Green tea has been used for thousands of years by various cultures and believed to have medicinal properties.
- Almonds: Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is an effective antioxidant. They are also rich in magnesium, manganese, and fiber. Nuts are a good addition to your diet as they are packed with nutrients and healthy fats.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is a super-food with probiotics that helps your digestive system. Yogurt is also a source of Vitamin D which is known to aid in many of our body’s functions and provides essential immune system support.
- Oily Fish & Shellfish: Oily fish like salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential nutrient for well-being and shellfish is a rich source of zinc. Zinc helps the immune cells function as intended.
Fuel Your Body with Goodness
Food is the fuel that keeps our body running and a balanced diet is vital for a healthy body. Getting the right nutrients and focusing on every food group can help sustain good health and a strong immunity system. We recommend planning meals and incorporating some of these healthy foods in your grocery list to not just add variety to your meals, but also to pack them with nutrients that will provide immune system support, and help your body fight off colds, viruses and disease.
Schend, James. “What to Eat and Drink to Boost Your Immune System.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 30 Apr. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system
Burgess, Lana. “15 Foods to Boost the Immune System.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 10 July 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322412#which-foods-boost-the-immune-system