Foods to Boost Your Immunity

  • The immune system is the body’s defense against foreign bodies. 
  • The immune system helps fight against bacteria and viruses which are sources of common illnesses like colds, COVID-19, hepatitis, and cancer.
  • We can protect ourselves by boosting our immunity with the use of nutrient-rich foods on a regular basis. 
  • Foods containing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals help boost the immune system.

Our body is a site to various microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, and other microbes. These microbes can either be beneficial or harmful to your body. To protect us, our immune system acts as a barrier to some of these microbes. The first line of immune defense comes from our skin, hair, stomach acids or enzymes, and mucus.

Improving your diet is also a great way to boost your immune system. We can boost it by loading ourselves with food rich in nutrients. Having the right amount of sleep and being stress-free also boost immunity.

Scientists have been studying the connection between lifestyle and immune response. Many factors bolster immunity and help us have a better life. Eating the right amount of nutrients helps our body’s defense system. Exercising and losing weight also help to have an active immune system.

Healthy Foods to Boost Immunity

A balanced diet means eating foods full of nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D, E, B12, and antioxidants such as flavonoids, minerals, and proteins. Here is a list of foods you can try to achieve a strong immune system:

  1. Yogurt. You must be thinking, does yogurt boost immunity? Well, yes! Yogurt is a probiotic with microorganisms, proteins, and vitamins. These support the immune response by targeting foreign bodies. Yogurt is the best food for a healthy gut and immune system.
  2. Garlic. For years, garlic has been used to cure infections for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. But, excessive intake of garlic can have adverse effects too. You may experience allergic reactions, fatigue, headache, and bloating. It is best to consult your doctor before taking any garlic supplements.
  3. Vegetables. Plant-based diets are rich in photochemical and antioxidants. They have ample amounts of minerals, vitamins, and proteins. Some vegetables also have carotenoids that aid in repairing damaged cells. Meals containing vegetables are the best choice to boost the immunity system. Consume more spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers.
  4. Fruits. You can have fresh and energized skin, a shaped body, and a stronger immunity for just eating fruits. Kiwi is rich in potassium, vitamin C, and folate. Blueberries contain flavonoids that are immune boosters and have high antioxidants. Bromelain enzyme is present in pineapples. This enzyme fights against many illnesses such as diarrhea, diabetes, and heart diseases.
  5. Dates. Three to four dates a day makes a stronger immune system. The well-known nutrients of dates are fibers, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and iron. Magnesium, potassium, copper, and calcium in dates can ward off hypertension with long-term benefits. Add dates in your meal to nourish your body, repair damaged cells, and produce new cells.

Nutrients You Need To Know

Here are nutrients that are critical for the growth and function of immune cells:

  • Vitamins.  Vitamins are responsible for protecting us from having any illness. They have antioxidant properties. Seeds, hummus, chickpeas, lemon, oranges, grapes, strawberries contain essential vitamins.
  • Minerals. Our immune system needs minerals like iron, folate, copper, selenium, and potassium. These are micronutrients required in a small amount. Below contains the recommended daily nutrient values according to FDA:

MINERAL

DAILY NUTRIENT VALUE

Calcium

1,000 mg

Copper

2 mg

Iron

18 mg

Selenium

70 µg

Zinc

15 mg

Summary

Many factors contribute to a strong immune system. Intakes of healthy foods that are rich in nutrients will strengthen your body. Fruits and vegetables are immunity boosters you can include in your meal.

Scientific Information

  • Immune system – defense system of the body that protects us against bacterial and viral infections.
  • Enzymes – chemicals released in the body for metabolic activities.
  • Antioxidants – substances that protect cells from the damage of free radicals.
  • Anti-inflammatory – agents that act against inflammation.
  • Catalyzation – the process of breaking down substances in the body.
  • Micro-Nutrient – nutrients required in small amounts.
Written by:
Ifrah Awais, MS
Microbiology
Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian

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