10 Foods That Boost Your Immune System | Hea Boosters
Reviewed by : Arpita Bose Jain, Certified Health Coach, My Health Buddy
If there was ever a year for immunity, last year was it. We heard about everything from home remedies to miracle cures to immunity booster breakthroughs.
Vitamin C and Zinc supplements flooded our home medical kits and became buzzwords everywhere. Perhaps the most common question we all asked was “Is there anything we can eat to avoid falling sick?”
The answer is yes! Plenty.
The immune system is the body’s defence mechanism. It is the first line of defence against harmful foreign objects, whether external or internal. This marvelous system keeps you safe from any bacteria, viruses, injuries and infections that the body might encounter. Your immune system depends heavily on a healthy lifestyle in order to sustain itself effectively.
In the absence of this, you tend to fall sick more often and take much longer to recover. This can be avoided by consuming immunity booster foods that are rich in nutrients. Micronutrients (vitamins and trace elements) are an indispensable part of this equation and play a vital role in keeping your body functioning well. Without these micronutrients, your cells will not be able to do very much with the food that you eat.
Research has shown that there are 3 nutrients that help improve immunity significantly.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) helps to increase the generation and function of white blood cells. It also helps your body to produce important antibodies.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin, deficiency of it can lead to affect the functioning of the innate and adaptive immune system. Which can increase the risk of infections and allergies...
Zinc keeps the immune system strong and fights infection. According to the ICMR, men and pregnant mothers need approximately 12mg per day, while women need 10mg per day. Zinc deficiencies are known to causes problems with wound healing and often result in a general loss of appetite as well
These need to be consumed in the right quantity, consistently, every single day to maintain a healthy state of immunity, since the body’s ability to store these is rather limited. We’ve listed the top 10 natural sources of these nutrients that are easily available in India to help you get started.
10 Immunity booster foods:
These are rich in Vitamin C and other antioxidants such as Vitamin A. A single Clementine orange contains 90% of your Vitamin C requirement for the day (40g). Mandarin oranges contain about half of this amount. Since Vitamin C is water-soluble, it gets flushed out frequently instead of being stored in your body and thus needs to replenished every day.
This is a wonder fruit. 1 cup of a medium-ripe Papaya contains as much as 87mg of Vitamin C. They also have a high amount of Vitamin A and E and reduce the chances of heart risk while improving digestion. Do note is that advisable for pregnant women to avoid eating Papaya as it can lead to miscarriages.
Love berries? 6-7 strawberries will comfortably see you achieve your vitamin C intake for the day.
An excellent source of Vitamin C and flavonoids, lemons help reduce blood pressure, increase iron absorption (which is an essential component of the energy pathway) and boosts the immune system.
Rich in Vitamin D which is known to lower the chances of infection and frequent colds. An egg is also an excellent source of Vitamin B2 which helps in the development of red blood cells, Vitamin B12 converts food into energy and Vitamin A for the proper functioning of the immune system and promotes healthy skin.
A great option for all the vegans out there to get their daily dose of Vitamin D. We need 10mg of Vitamin D every day and a bowl of commercially grown mushrooms provide around 4.2mg of it.
They are high in Vitamin D and are a very popular fatty fish. However, there’s a difference between farm and wild Salmon. Farm Salmon contains approximately 108IU and wild Salmon has 524IU.
Almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts have high amounts of Zinc which is the gatekeeper of the immune system. Lack of Zinc can lead to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
One sweet potato contains 14187 IU of Vitamin A. They are also a good source of fiber, potassium and other minerals. Deficiency of vitamin A is an acquired immunodeficiency disorder that leads to widespread immune alterations and increased infectious disease.
They are rich in beta carotene, which is a substance that the body converts into vitamin A. It also acts as an antioxidant and immune system booster.
This is merely an indicative list. There are lots of other naturally occurring sources of these immunity boosters that can help you get your daily requirement of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Zinc and strengthen your immune system.
That said, there are days when it may not be possible to incorporate these in your diet due to a lack of time, work commitments, limited access to a well-stocked grocery store, etc. It is also important to remember that a lot of these foods lose some of their nutrient value when they are cooked.
Health and nutrient supplements are really handy in both these respects and are a quick and convenient way to ensure that you get all the nutrients you need to keep your immune system strong.
Choose wisely, live well!