We are what we eat
In wake of this, it is important that we choose wisely and eat food that helps boost our immunity, fight infection and keeps us healthy and fit. With the ongoing pandemic and rise in the number of cases yet again, we need to make sure our immune system is strong and ready to fight off pathogens such as virus, bacteria, or any other foreign particle that can have an adverse reaction on our health. As a response to these pathogens, the immune system releases antibodies that attack and kill these particles, but for the system to be strong, one has to incorporate the right food and diet that will help it strengthen. One way in which we can ensure to maintain good health and well being is to make sure we are taking enough immune boosting nutrients through our daily diet.
Along with diet, make sure to keep a check on your vital health numbers. Book a preventive health check up here.
Here are a few immunity boosting food, straight from the kitchen that will keep the immune system strong and help prevent frequent illnesses-
1. Yogurt: This can be a good source of vitamin D, and also contains probiotics that helps regulate the immune system and prepares our body to fight against diseases. In general, avoid flavoured ones, and instead go for homemade yogurts, adding seasonal fruits or even honey to make it sweet and at the same time, nutritious and healthy.
2. Turmeric (Haldi): Turmeric, found in every household’s kitchen, contains curcumin that is found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The bright yellow coloured powdered spice has since ages been used to treat wounds, acnes etc. It promises itself as an immune booster that can help keep diseases at bay. We often find ourselves consuming haldi in curries, and other day-to-day food, keeping in check, this goes inside our bodies and improves immune response needed.
3. Garlic: A staple found in almost every household, garlic not only adds flavour to the food, but is also an excellent source to boost immunity. Eating it in its raw form can work wonders for the body. It contains sulphur compounds such as allicin, and is a must have food for healthy keeping. It produces T-cells that can reduce the amount of stress hormones, thus proving a boon for the immune system either way.
4. Ginger: People often turn to hot ginger tea when they feel under the weather; it helps decrease inflammation, nausea, sore throat etc. One might love it when it’s added in food or dessert or drinks, for the flavour, but unknowingly, it also works as a good source of antioxidants.
5. Spinach: A leafy vegetable, rich in vitamin C, spinach is at its best when cooked little, so that the nutrients remain intact. This is a powerhouse in itself, with not just vitamin C present, but also several antioxidants and flavonoids, vitamin E and beta carotene, that are both capable of enhancing the infection fighting ability of the immune system.
6. Papaya: With the richness of vitamin C, this is a fruit enough to get the daily recommended amount of vitamins. Along with vitamins, it has potassium, magnesium, folate etc. which are all essential and beneficial for keeping the immune system in check. The fruit has a digestive enzyme, papain, which contains anti-inflammatory properties too. All in all, a bowl of papaya in your breakfast can do wonders to keep immunity strong.
As per a few studies, vitamin D has got some role in regulating the immune system. Check out if you have enough vitamin D levels in your body with a simple blood test.
7. Tea: Another most common thing found in every household, with consumption levels approx 2-3 times a day in any house. This has disease fighting polyphenols and flavonoids, antioxidants responsible for destroying cell damaging free radicals. Whether it is black tea or green, in fact green tea has high levels of epigallocatechin gallate aka EGCG, that is a powerful antioxidant to boost the immune system working. Make sure to avoid high sugar content in your tea.
8. Citrus food: Highly rich in vitamin C, responsible for increasing the production of white blood cells, citrus foods like oranges help keep the immune system strong, by fighting infections. One should include fruits like grapefruits, oranges, lemons etc. in their diet, to maintain the daily requirement of vitamin C. During Covid outbreak, people have been subscribed to tablets for keeping vitamin C in check as well.
9. Nuts: Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a powerful source of vitamin and healthy fats. They are another key to building a healthy immune system. They also contain manganese, magnesium and fibre, making for a healthy munching on the go snack. Soak them overnight, to have them the next morning, or have them in their raw form, however you like it.
Apart from these easily available kitchen foods, there are a lot of other food items such as dark chocolate, berries, mushrooms, oysters etc. that help strengthen the immune system and improve its ability to fight infections. Our immune system is complex, it needs the right amount of care and handling to make sure it functions well and prevents colds, coughs, and other illnesses. Exercising, drinking plenty of liquids, getting adequate sleep, meditation etc. are some lifestyle changes which when accompanied with the right choice of food, can make the immune system stronger.