A healthy immune system is essential for the growth and survival of the human body. It is our immunity that keeps us safe from the attacks of all the external viruses, allergies, bacteria, parasites etc. Our immune system comprises of a vast network of cells, tissues, proteins, and organs which are spread throughout our body structure and helps in recognising and eliminating the foreign tissues from enemy attacks.
As per the Harvard Medical School Ph.D. Expert, Michael N. Starnbach, a strong immune system is all what we need to defeat the invading pathogens, just like two bacterial cells causing gonorrhoea is of no match to a neutrophil that could engulf and kill them all.
However, given the severity of condition in today’s world where coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused a devastating health condition across the globe. It is very important for all of us to take necessary steps in order to stay healthy, strong and fit. Researchers have found that a healthy balanced and nutritional diet plays a vital role to improve our body’s natural immune defenses.
Immune Boosting Diet
A low-fat balanced diet is all that you need for an overall development and growth of your immune system. Research has shown that a plant based diet which is full of fiber, protein and vitamins can help you in lowering your BMI levels that helps in maintaining the body weight. Not only this, nutrients and minerals such as vitamin C, D and E, zinc, protein, beta carotene etc. act as immunity boosters that lowers the stress hormones and are also rich in antioxidants.
- Vitamin C & E: These antioxidants play a crucial role in destroying free radicals and improves the natural immune response of the body.
- Sources- Oranges, lemon, amla, broccoli, red pepper, nuts, spinach, mangoes, seeds etc.
- Vitamin D: A study has shown that Vitamin D food items allows the prevention of viral flu and respiratory tract infections. Moreover, a rise of vitamin D in the blood helps in reducing the risk of hepatitis, cholera, tuberculosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Sources- Cereals, green leafy vegetables, sunlight, plant based milk supplements etc.
- Zinc: It is a natural mineral that protects the body from invaders and allows the production of white blood cells.
- Sources- Sesame seeds, lentils, nuts, beans, pumpkin seeds etc.
- Beta-Carotene: It is a strong antioxidant which not only increases the disease fighting cells in our body but also reduces inflammation in our body.
- Sources- Carrots, green leafy fruits, vegetables and sweet potatoes.
Benefits of Immune-based diet
- Vegetarian Indians have more number of white blood cells which helps in effective production of antibodies in order to combat flu, viruses, and bacterial infection as compared to Non-Vegetarian Indians.
- Plant based diet work wonders on our body as it not only reduces the inflammatory biomarkers but also enhances our immune system.
- A healthy nutritious meal lowers down the risks of influenza and pneumonia. Also, with a regular physical exercise plan, you can easily loss your weight as well.
- Low Fat food is quite helpful in impairing the white blood cell functioning and balances the gut microbiota for healthy immunity.
10 Food items that Improves Immune System
Here is a list of food items that can help you to keep your body and immune system strong, healthy and fit.
1. Spinach: Spinach is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin A, C and beta carotene. It enhances the ability of infection fighting tissues and retains the nutritious content in our body. Just like broccoli, spinach is one of the healthiest food that makes our bones, nails and teeth stronger. Moreover, it enables easy release of minerals from the oxalic acid.
2. Citrus Fruits: Most of the citrus fruits have high content of vitamin C which increases the resistance for common cold and infections. Not only this, it lowers the risk of scurvy and offers faster healing of wounds and fractured bones. Citrus fruits have innate ability to reduce weight loss, fatigue and joint pain. Also, you can simply squeeze a bit of lemon over your salad in a day to enjoy its richness in your body. Some of the popular citrus fruits involves guava, tomato, orange, lemon, amla, limes, grapefruit, strawberries, tangerines and many more.
3. Yogurt: Curd especially Greek yogurt stimulates our immune system in order to fight a plethora of communicable diseases. These yogurts offer active and refreshing appetite as they are a good source of vitamin D. Vitamin D assists in the healthy absorption of dietary calcium which helps in bone making and maintenance. Always make sure that you choose the plain yogurt instead of the flavoured or sugar loaded ones. Add some honey and healthy fruits for taste if you like.
4. Green Tea: Green Tea is regarded as one of the best detoxification drink as it is packed with a variety of antioxidants such as flavonoids and EGCG, namely epigallocatechin gallate. Green Tea is usually steamed in order to retain the value of EGCG that has shown excellent improvement in the immune system. Moreover, it is a good source of L-theanine which enhances the production of germ-fighting cells.
5. Almonds: Vitamin E present in nuts and seeds such as almonds, exerts an important antioxidant effect on our immune system. Also, it prevents anaemia and heart diseases by protecting LDL from oxidation which encourages the development of atherosclerosis. This fat soluble vitamin protects other substances from oxidation by being oxidized itself. Half cup of shelled almonds is exactly the daily recommended amount for consumption by a normal adult.
6. Ginger: According to a recent research, ginger is an excellent ingredient that can lower down chronic pain and cholesterol properties. Apart from this, it can decrease sore throat, nausea and various other inflammatory illnesses. Moreover, ginger involves some sort of heat in the form of gingerol which is a relative of capsaicin. It can also be used in a number of sweet desserts and dishes for flavour.
7. Papaya: Papaya is a brilliant source of Vitamin C, B, folate and potassium. It has rich anti-inflammatory properties that not only strengthens our immune system but also helps in faster digestion. It includes an enzyme known as papain which helps in enhancing the gut and bowel movement. A single papaya has around 224 % of vitamin C which is the daily recommended amount.
8. Garlic: As per National Center of Complementary & Integrative Health, garlic is known as an amazing ingredient to slow down the hardening of veins and arteries. Not only this, it decreases the risk of blood pressure and gastrointestinal diseases. Adding a little bit zest of garlic is a must especially in Indian cuisine dishes. Also, garlic gets its rich immune boosting effects from allicin, high sulphur compound.
9. Apple: ‘An apple a day, keeps a doctor away’ is a well-known proverb that signifies the true importance of apple for strengthening our immune system. Not only this, a study by the University of Illinois has proven that soluble fiber which is found in apple, oats, seeds and nuts reduces the inflammations related to obesity diseases. Moreover, apple, carrot, orange etc. are a healthy combination to safeguard your body from bacterial infections.
10. Broccoli: All the cruciferous vegetables especially broccoli is an excellent source of antioxidant minerals and vitamins. Also, it comprises of choline which not only supports healthy gastrointestinal barrier but also strengthens the body cells and tissues. It contains glutathione which helps in fighting off the flu and colds. You can either prepare a vegetable or even add it to your salad and soups for better flavour.
Common ways to prevent Virus
- Variety is the essential of a proper wholesome nutrition. It is very important for all of us to consume a plethora of vitamin and mineral rich food items and not just stick to a single one.
- Apart from this, you can also try Jeeragest, Immunocin and Chyawanprash available online which not only boosts your immune functioning but also fights digestion and acidity problems.
- Dalai Lama, a well-known Buddhist monk, has said that sleep is the best medication for the human body. Moreover, a recent study has shown that those who sleep less than 6 hours per night have high chances of suffering from common cold, flu and infection as compared to those who sleep for 8 hours.
- Apart from this, maintain proper neatness and cleanliness and try to wash your hands frequently.
- Proper physical exercises can lower down the stress hormone, cortisol, and can recharge the white blood cells.
- Do not forget to drink loads and loads of water in order to neutralise your body functioning.
Some Final Words
Thus, the above-mentioned food ingredients will not only safeguard your body from harmful diseases but will also help in the overall growth and development of the body muscles, tissues, organs and bones.