Categories: Nutrition and diet

Immune System: Foods that Boost and Supplement It

Immune System: Foods that Boost and Supplement It

It’s that time of the year again when you’ll be surrounded by products and immune system supplements that claim to have the power to improve the immune system of you and your family. Unfortunately, our immune system is not designed to be shaped for the better by these vitamin formulations or antibiotics. What we need are fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farm and onto the table. Seasonal and local foods are best to keep our body healthy and ready to tackle the pollutant laden present environment

Let’s take a look at some of the best natural immune system boosters, nutrients that are essential to provide immune system boosts.

Nutrients Essential for Building Immunity

Nutrients that are the building blocks of the body, when consumed on a regular basis in prescribed amounts can lead to glowing skin and a toughened immune system. The best immunity boosters are:

Vitamin C
Among vitamins for the immune system, the most important one is Vitamin C, an antioxidant. It fights free radicals that are capable of damaging the immune system, especially in people who work in high-stress environments. Immune boosting Vitamins like Vitamin C intake can be increased by eating Citrus fruits such as orange, kiwi, red and green peppers, broccoli & other green, leafy vegetables, and strawberries too.

Vitamin E
Rather than resort to immune boost supplements, try and consume more almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, etc. which are full of Vitamin E that helps maintain the immune system. Especially helpful to the elderly, it’s also found in wheat germ oil. You can make snacks with Vitamin E rich peanut butter that will act as an immune booster for kids.

Zinc
Zinc, needed to produce certain immune cells, is an essential component of many foods that boost your immune system, like cashews, chickpeas, baked beans, etc. Low levels of zinc in the body impair immune function.

Carotenoids
These are plant pigments, which when consumed convert to Vitamin E. Foods rich in carotenoids are carrots, apricots, papaya, mango.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
A type of essential fatty acids known to suppress inflammation, these are found in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring. One should eat more Omega 3 rich flax seeds and walnuts to help keep the immune system in check.

Foods that Help to Boost the Immune System

Superfoods that help the immune system should be integrated into the daily diet. The must-have list of foods to strengthen the immune system contain the following common and not so common items.

Garlic
Studies reflect that regular consumption of herbs to boost the immune system such as garlic can have positive effects on high cholesterol levels. It’s full of antioxidants and thus an essential food to boost the immune system, which helps strengthen the body’s natural defenses.

Ginger
The spicy, aromatic ginger root reduces inflammation, relieves pain, and is effective in cases of nausea making it a must-have immune-boosting food.

Chia Seeds
Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, chia seeds can provide twice as much protein as other seeds.

Matcha
As a booster for the immune system, tea can also be of use as part of drinks to boost the immune system. The matcha ground green tea has a high content of free radical scavengers, vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that make it potent to fight the common cold and flu.

Kale
The high antioxidant content of this winter vegetable helps fight diseases like Alzheimer’s and arteriosclerosis.

Blueberries
They come loaded with Vitamin C and potassium, can be incorporated in smoothies, and oatmeals to imbibe you with anti-inflammatory vitamins & flavonoids.

Immune Booster for Kids

Contemporary health-conscious parents are always on the lookout for supplements to boost the immune system of their kids. Detailed research goes into deciding the most favorable food, fruits, and supplements that best address their concern of how to boost immune system quickly in their kids.

The following are some snacks that act as an immune booster for kids.

  • Yogurt – Contains helpful germs called probiotics which live in the gut and improves metabolism, & fights sickness too. Kids who drink yogurt drinks have 19% lower risk of catching colds, ear infections, or sore throats.
  • Walnuts – Omega– 3 fatty acids contained in walnuts help reduce respiratory infections in kids. You can sprinkle walnuts in your kids’ meals and help them fight illness better.
  • Fruits and Veggies – Kids’ diets should be rich in fruits like strawberries, citrus fruits, etc., and vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, & sweet potatoes. These are full of Vitamin C that acts as immune boosters for toddlers.
  • Eggs, lean meats, pulses – These include macronutrients that are integral to a child’s growing years. The egg yolk stores vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
    Lean meats and poultry have high zinc content that leads to increased white blood cell count. For vegetarian households, supplement the protein intake through various pulses eaten daily.

A lot of superfoods dot our traditional diet structure that can be made more use of, replacing the carb-loaded fast foods. Make sure to eat healthy and exercise to bolster your immune system better.

Anjum Fathima | Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, HSR Layout

Narayana Health

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