Looking to fight off the infections spreading around in the office or your kids’ school? Well, then, take the first step to boost your family’s immunity by first stopping by at your grocery store! Your diet plays a major part in strengthening your immune system and feeding your body the right foods is where it all begins.
Eating a portion of just one type of fruit or vegetable isn’t sufficient in providing us the right nutrition; there has to be a balanced mix of fruits, vegetables and other foods with an eye on the serving size to ensure that we get our daily quota of vitamins and minerals. Of course that’s not all… sufficient sleep and exercise are also needed for the immune system to work optimally.
Most of the foods recommended by experts to improve your immunity aren’t always available in India or aren’t easy on the pocket, so the following is a list of immunity-boosters that are easily available:
Beta carotene foods – Yellow and orange coloured foods like papaya, oranges, carrots and pumpkins act on different components of the immune system and can be eaten in salads, soups or curries.
Vitamin C foods – These natural antioxidants are high in citrus fruits and guavas and help white blood cells to fight infections effectively and provide loads of fibre too, which help in controlling cholesterol and heart disease.
Flaxseeds – By virtue of their natural fatty acids and phytoestrogens, these are important in modulating the immune response, keeping infections and auto-immune diseases at bay.
Garlic – It’s well-known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It also protects your heart from disease and high cholesterol levels. Garlic is particularly effective in reducing the symptoms and the duration of common cold and flu.
Yogurt – It not only improves digestion, but also protects against common infections. It stimulates interferon production thereby promoting immune function.
Turmeric – This spice contains Vitamin B6, Curcumin as well as loads of minerals that improve and enhance immune function.
Almonds – These chewy nuts are rich in vitamin E that’s required for an immune system to run smoothly. A handful of nuts would do daily.
Crabs, oysters and red meat – These foods are rich in zinc which is needed for optimal white blood cell performance against foreign organisms. Vegetarians can get it from cereals, beans and whole grains.
Green leafy vegetables – These are the ultimate sources of folic acid which are required for sufficient antibody formation in response to infections. Greater amounts are needed while breastfeeding or pregnant.
Green tea – Antioxidants found here are great in controlling the common cold virus as well as improving vascular health.
Ginger – Ginger is rich in gingerol, a bioactive substance that helps prevent the risk of infections. Ginger has anti-microbial properties that may inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria.
Nuts and Seeds – Nuts and seeds are good sources of Selenium, Copper, Vitamin-E, and Zinc, all of which play an important role in immune health.
All these natural items are easily available locally and help keep diseases at bay without having to resort to pills, hospitals and days off from work!