A - Z of immune boosting foods
Let's admit it, boosting immunity is the need of the hour!
When we think about immunity, the first thing that strikes our mind is ‘Vitamin C’.
Are you aware of other essential nutrients and its sources for strong immunity?
The immune system plays a significant role in protection against infections and pathogens causing illness, thus maintaining the body’s defence mechanism.
The food you eat plays a key role in determining your overall health and immunity. Therefore, the process of strengthening your immune system begins with eating right kind of nutrient-packed foods.
Along with vit C, several micronutrients play a crucial role in maintenance of immune functions - Zinc, selenium, iron, copper, vitamins A, E, B and folic acid have important influence on immune responses.
This article suggests, A-Z immune- boosting foods with top picks!
A for Amla & Almonds:
Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are key to fight against infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C but amla (Indian gooseberry) tops the list with 600 -700 mg per fruit.
Amla also has anti-bacterial properties that can help detoxify your system. The recommended daily amount of vit C is;
Men – 80mg/d
Women – 65mg/d
Almonds are rich source of vitamin E. This nutrient tends to take a backseat to vitamin C but, this powerful antioxidant is also a key to healthy immune system.
B for Bell peppers & Broccoli:
Besides boosting your immune system, capsicums are also a rich source of beta carotene which keeps your eyes and skin healthy. It almost contains 3 times as much vitamin C than oranges.
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals necessary for immune functions and antioxidants.
C for Cinnamon:
This aromatic spice is a rich source of antioxidants like polyphenols and pro-anthocyanidins that give a boost to the immune system.
Moreover, it has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties that help reduce the chances of respiratory diseases and seasonal infections.
D for Drumstick:
Its high antioxidant content, boosts the immune system and keeps away infections.
Moreover, the iron and vitamin A nutrients in it enhances the functioning of the immune system.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of drumstick assists in reducing the symptoms of asthma, cough, wheezing and other respiratory problems.
E for Egg:
Eggs come packed with a lot of amino acids and antioxidants, which improve your health and keep your immune system functioning in the best way.
Apart from essential minerals like selenium and vitamin A, B and K they also contain zinc, which can speed up recovery and get rid of a cold.
Eating two eggs a day can greatly help fight off infections and keep the body healthy.
F for Flax seeds:
Rich source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, flaxseeds protect your body from bacteria and viruses, improving immunity. Has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps in preventing asthma.
G for Garlic & Ginger:
This duo is packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and gut-friendly properties, such as probiotics.
These ingredients are the potent immune boosters for your body’s defense against illness. Garlic has antibiotic properties too.
H for Halim Seeds:
Also known as garden cress seeds are rich source of iron, folic acid, Vitamin E and A with immunity-boosting properties.
Include: Roasted, salads, stew and soups.
I for Isabgol:
Also known as psyllium husk, helps to fight against body bulge.
It cleanses colon, improves digestive system and strengthens immunity, it automatically builds a strong body system that helps in reducing body fat.
J for Jamun:
Has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties that can keep infections at bay. The fruit helps control diabetes, boosts immunity and purifies your body.
K for Kalonji Seeds:
kalonji benefits the immune system of the body due to the abundant presence of antioxidants and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Most importantly, decreases the effectiveness of medications that weakens immune functions.
L for Lemon:
It’s well known that lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant that improves the immune system with antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Lime juice mixed with honey can be a great way to boost the body's capability to fight diseases.
M for Mango& Mushrooms:
Good source of immune-boosting nutrients. One cup (165 g) of mango provides 10% of your daily vitamin A and 100% of vitamin C needs.
Essential for a healthy immune system, as it helps fight infections and not getting enough vitamin A is linked to a greater infection risk.
N for Nutmeg:
Rich in potassium, calcium, iron and manganese, nutmeg helps to improve your body's immune system.Suffering from cough and cold? Raid your pantry for this spice.
O for Oranges:
Being a power house of immunity-boosting vitamin C, orange makes for an excellent option during monsoon to keep you away from viral infections, cough and cold.
P for Pumpkin Seeds:
Rich source of zinc which nourishes and supports the first defence mechanism of immune system (adaptive immunity).
Zinc, supports against viruses and bacterial pathogens and promotes integrity for white blood cells.
Q for Quinoa:
Recent research has focused on the importance of gut health and its relationship to immunity. Probiotics in quinoa help to defend against harmful bacteria that enter the gut and prevents us from getting sick.
R for Rajma:
High in protein & anthocyanins and great way to boost your immune system.
S for Sesame and Sunflower Seeds:
Good source of several nutrients crucial for your immune system, including zinc, selenium, copper, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.
T for Tulsi &Turmeric:
Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help boost immunity.
Tulsi is rich in Vitamin C and zinc, thus acts as a natural immunity booster and keeps infections at bay.
U, V, W, X, Y and Z
Urad dal, Val (field beans), Walnuts, Xiphias(Fish), Yoghurt and Zucchini are other food sources rich in immune boosting nutrients and strengthens the immune system.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Indu Vaishnavi R, Dietician