Boosting Your Immunity Has Never Been More Important! Top Foods to Boost Your Immune System Naturally (2021)

Boosting Your Immunity Has Never Been More Important! Top Foods to Boost Your Immune System Naturally (2021)

In this article, we have listed down some very common healthy foods that you can add to your daily diet in order to boost your immunity system. From whole grain bread to citrus fruits, this article has it all. There are also other tips for a healthy diet. Read away!

Importance of Healthy Food in Our Lives

Our food choices impact us in every way, be it your mental, physical or spiritual health. What we eat, how we eat and when we eat plays a significant role in our overall well-being and thought process. Good nutrition combined with regular exercise is the effective way which leads to a healthy lifestyle. The right food can help you to reduce weight, cuts the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer and also leaves you with a naturally glowing skin. Unhealthy food habits can lead to problems like obesity, gastric problem, constipation and headache, heart disease due to increased cholesterol, hypertension, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes. The eating habits established in young age often carry till adulthood, so educating children about the correct dietary methods inculcates the right eating culture in them and stays for lifetime.

Eating the Right Quantity at the Right Time

If you are gorging on heavy food, then ensure that half of your stomach remains empty and even if you are eating light food, then also more than 3/4th the capacity of stomach is not allowed. Always eat as per your hunger and avoid eating when not hungry. Don’t eat in a hurry, chew the food properly, try to eat at about same time every day and keep a difference of 3 to 6 hours between two meals. Sip little quantities of warm or room temperature water with meals and never drink a lot of water or beverage just before or after your food. Moreover, try to eat in a quiet atmosphere and keep away from distractions like reading, mobile or watching television.

Water is Important

Drink a glass of warm water right after you wake up, this activates your internal organs and removes any toxins from the body. Similarly, drink a glass of water half an hour before meal and one hour after the meal. Ensure not to drink water just before or after a meal as it dilutes the digestive juices and causes difficulty in digestion. Also, drinking a glass of water before bath helps to lower down the blood pressure. And, drinking one glass of water an hour before you go to sleep is an effective way to replenish your body with any fluid loss that may occur during the night.

Importance of Immune System

The very basic duty of immune system is to protect our bodies from harmful external agents like bacteria, parasites, viruses, etc. and ensure our survival. The immune system consists of different types of cells, proteins and tissues present in different organs which are spread in our entire body. WBCs or white blood cells in our body are a part of our blood and they constantly keep on looking for invaders like bacteria, viruses, etc. and as soon as they detect a pathogen, they start their action against the intruder.

Best Foods to Build Immunity

Vitamin C has been considered the most essential nutrient to strengthen the immune system, but more components present in various foods like Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, folic acid, Iron, selenium, zinc, etc. are also considered important for a strong immune system. Let’s check out few foods to build immunity. Most of these are easily available in your kitchen and you don’t need any special preparation for these food items.

Ginger Tea

We all know that ginger is useful in fighting common cold, cough or flu and is also useful in gastric problems, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can impact body’s immune reaction; hence ginger plays an important role in boosting your immunity. Ginger also has antibacterial elements and is a natural blood thinner, thus helping in enhancing the immune system.

To prepare ginger tea, boil some freshly sliced small pieces of ginger in about one cup of water. Simmer for 5 minutes and then strain the water. You can add few drops of lemon for some added acidity or you can also add some pure honey or maple syrup to soothe the strong ginger flavor.

Turmeric

Turmeric is more than a spice and has anti-inflammatory properties due to a compound called curcumin present in it. This compound is also responsible for the bright orange-yellow colour of turmeric. Curcumin triggers the production of T-cells, which are the most important cells for a strong immune system. Turmeric is an integral part of mostly all Indian curries; however, to get maximum benefits, boil 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder with a glass of milk (you can add some sugar) and consume before bed. This mixture helps to cure sore throat, cold and cough and is a strong immunity booster drink.

Orange

The citrus fruit Orange is a good source of Vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient to fight the influence of changing weather. Also, Vitamin C has been found effective in preventing the common cold and helps to lower the intensity and duration of cold and flu. Oranges (or any other fruits) should be consumed prior to meals and not after you eat food, else it will interfere with the natural digestion process.

Tomatoes

Tomato is another good source of Vitamin C and a medium one contains about 16 milligrams of Vitamin C. Two major components of the immune system, T-cells and phagocytes are major ingredients of Vitamin C. Deficiency of this important nutrient in body can result in weaker immune system and reduces the resistance power against few pathogens which can lead to illnesses. Tomato is used in a lot of recipes, but to get optimum benefit, eat it raw in salad or in a sandwich.

Dark Chocolate

Some of you may be obsessed with dark chocolate as the taste is addictive, but very few people know that it’s also an effective food to boost immunity. Dark chocolate is very helpful in fighting with cold and it also has a good amount of an antioxidant called theobromine, which is useful to reduce cough problems. You can try dark chocolate bar, or dark chocolate powder can be mixed with milk to prepare a shake.

Green Tea

You have heard about the ‘weight loss’ properties of Green Tea, but it’s also one of the best drinks to fight off a cold. Green tea contains antioxidants called flavanoids, which strengthen immunity and also have anti – inflammatory properties. Studies suggest that Green Tea has a heavy concentration of an antioxidant catechin, which is a powerful antibacterial and antioxidant and can kill influenza virus and the bacteria which start cold. To prepare green tea, you can use green tea bags and dip them for 2-3 minutes in a cup full of hot water or boil one teaspoon of green leaves in a glass of water, simmer for 3 minutes and strain in a cup. You can add little sugar to dilute the bitter taste.

Spinach

Since childhood we have seen the superpower of ‘Popeye’, which he gets from the superfood Spinach. Spinach is not only rich in iron (which creates hemoglobin, responsible for circulating oxygen to the tissues of your body), but is also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, folic acid, magnesium, Vitamin B, Vitamin E and calcium. All these components, especially Vitamin C, helps to boost the overall immunity. One cup of spinach or half cup cooked spinach should be taken per serving and there are several Indian recipes like methi palak or palak paneer which are made using spinach.

Whole Grain Bread

Whole grain bread contains anti – inflammatory properties due to the presence of whole grains, resulting in an increased production of healthy bacteria. About seventy percent of our immune system is prevalent in our gut, so it’s very important to keep it healthy to battle the cold-causing germs and eating whole grain bread helps to do this perfectly. You can try sandwiches made of whole grain bread and try not to grill them as heating may destroy some of the nutritional contents.

Eggs

Eggs (especially the yolks) are full of immunity boosting nutrients and proteins. They are also a source of Vitamin A, B, E and K and most importantly are full of Vitamin D and selenium, which is helpful in strengthening immunity. Regular consumption of eggs makes you less likely to catch cold and diseases caused due to change in weather. Boiled eggs are the best way to consume eggs to get the most out of them as it retains most of the nutritional value in the egg.

Garlic

An essential part of our foods, garlic is a herb well known for its medicinal properties. Garlic is commonly used for treating conditions related to high BP, cholesterol and blood related problems. Studies suggest that people who regularly consume garlic are less likely to catch common cold. Garlic is normally used in many recipes, especially in non-veg recipes; but one petal of garlic when taken empty stomach with a glass of water early morning can give amazing results to boost your immunity and also helps in curing stomach disorders.

Apples

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is not only an old saying, but apples are actually effective in preventing seasonal diseases like cold and cough. Apple contains phytochemical antioxidants, which boost immunity and decrease the risk of chronic diseases. Apple can be taken in fruit salad, custard or can be even eaten as filler between two meals.

Nuts

Nuts are a good source of Vitamin E and are not only delicious in taste, but also high in fat and calories. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews and pistachios, etc. are easily available throughout the year and not only in winters, but a handful of nuts every day go a long way in boosting your immunity. Though American studies suggest that a person should consume about 25 – 30 gms nuts every day, but India being a warm country, 10 – 15 nuts a day should be sufficient for a normal person.

Raw Honey

Natural honey tastes good and is also effective in soothing symptoms of cold and relives itchy and sore throat. Honey has antibacterial properties and it kills germs in your body which are responsible for initial sickness. One tablespoon full of honey when mixed with lime juice (1 full lime) and consumed with warm water empty stomach in the morning cleans your system, builds immunity and also helps to cut body fat. Honey can also be used as a spread on bread or roti and even kids would love this sweet and healthy breakfast.

Mushrooms

Mushroom has multiple benefits which come from the embedded properties of Vitamin E, Vitamin D, the powerful antioxidant selenium, T-cells, etc. which makes it an effective food to strengthen your immunity. Studies suggest that consumption of mushroom decreases inflammation causing proteins, which means that mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties. Mushrooms can be consumed in vegetable biryani, different curries and even in salad.

Fennel Seeds

Consumption of fennel seeds after meals is a dietary culture in many parts of India as it aids digestion. But many are not aware that it has many other benefits like regulating blood pressure, reducing water retention, useful for acne problems and helps purify blood which makes it a great immunity booster food. You can also make fennel tea by mixing hot water and crushed fennel seeds in a bowl, cover it with a lid and let rest for 10 minutes before you strain the water and then drink it immediately.

Foods that Weaken the Immune System

Certain consumables are tempting, but regular consumption of these can weaken your immune system. Foods like fast food, foods with MSG, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, pesticide laden fruits and vegetables, falsely ripened fruits and vegetables, sugary snacks, diet soda, refined oils and products containing gluten, etc. are examples of some foods that you should avoid to keep your immune system healthy and well functioning.

Writer
Rahul Banerji
Rahul began his stint as a freelance writer after working in the corporate world for ten years. He enjoys writing on various topics and is an avid blogger. His interest in science, technology, politics, current affairs and the latest trends helps him to back his writing with well researched facts. Rahul finds solace in gadgets, nature and spirituality.
From our editorial team

Good Food is no Substitute for Exercise

In the end, no matter how healthy you eat. If you are not involved in any physical activity, then all the immunity building food is not going to help, as the necessary ingredients from these foods wouldn’t be absorbed by the body in absence of good metabolism. Hence, proper diet with regular exercise is the key to a strong immune system.