How can you enhance your immunity? You must have been wondering about it ever since the COVID-19 situation started.
But before we address this question, do you know what exactly immunity is?
Immunity is nothing but a defence mechanism that kills any foreign body or germs entering your body.
Fortunately, nature provides us with many foods loaded with vitamins, minerals, proteins, antioxidants and other compounds that exhibit immune-enhancing properties.
Eating these foods, the right way can go a long way in boosting your immune system and preventing infections, including COVID-19.
Are you ready to take a quick peek at these foods?
Best Foods To Improve Immunity
Regional and Seasonal Vegetables:
Seasonal foods are best for your health and immunity. Why?
Because non-seasonal foods are picked up when they are immature to prevent spoilage. This causes vitamin degradation and nutrient loss. Furthermore, they are sprayed with heavy pesticides, adversely affecting your immune system.
In addition to eating seasonal foods, make sure to eat regional foods as well. These foods are in accordance with the climate and nutrient requirements of the place, thereby boosting your immune system.
Try to include coloured fruits and vegetables in your diet. They contain phytonutrients that are powerful immune boosters.
Nuts and Seeds:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that nuts and seeds are potent immune boosters. They contain antioxidants like vitamin E that can do wonders for your immune system.
But you should always eat them in moderation. In addition to powerful antioxidants, they also contain anti-nutrients that can decrease the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients.
Make sure to always soak your nuts and seeds overnight or roast them lightly before eating.
Spices like turmeric, clove, asafetida, pepper, cinnamon, etc., are some of the best foods to increase immunity. They not only remove toxins from your body but also raise your defence mechanism.
Out of these spices, turmeric is especially beneficial. There is a reason why your grandmothers nag you to drink Haldi Doodh or Turmeric Milk.
Curcumin present in turmeric exhibits potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help boost the immune system and prevent infections.
During winters, reap the benefits of Kachi Haldi and make Golden Milk or Haldi Doodh from it.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C:
Every nutrient, every antioxidant is important. But what beats all when it comes to immunity is vitamin C. Vitamin C enhances the antibody response and white blood function while actively reducing oxidative stress in the body.
But remember, just because this nutrient is important, it doesn’t mean that you take its supplements. Vitamin C supplements can increase the risk of getting kidney stones, so take it naturally.
Two of the best foods for vitamin C are guava and Amla. Dt Luna Jaiswal even says, “An Amla a day can keep the infection away.”
Eat Amla everyday throughout the year. When in season, make fresh Amla Murabba. During other months, take dried forms of Amla like Churan.
If there is one thing that unites all Indian households, it is jaggery or Gud. Almost all Indian kitchens have a jar of jaggery. It is one of the best sources of minerals, antioxidants and other immune-boosting nutrients.
Jaggery is also rich in zinc and selenium that prevent free radical damage caused by oxidative stress.
Kaala Gud is the best variety of jaggery. If you can get your hands on that, use it.
Sweet potatoes are one of the best foods to improve immunity. It is loaded in beta carotene which is known to raise the levels of white blood cells in your body, consequently increasing immunity.
We can not talk about immunity without talking about protein. After all, protein helps build the cells that operate the immune system. And when we look at protein sources, we have to take their bioavailability into consideration as well.
One of the best sources of protein is dairy products. Chenna, in particular, is highly rich in bioavailable proteins.
Certain animal-based proteins, like eggs, mutton, chicken and fish, are also known to have high bioavailability in addition to many essential nutrients and vitamins. Therefore, if you consume non-vegetarian foods, do not forget to include them in your diet.
However, you must remember to consume only their free-range or desi varieties that do not contain any harmful antibiotics.
During winter, drink Paya Soup or Mutton Bone Broth to keep yourself warm and boost your immunity.
2GO – Ginger, Garlic & Onion:
Ginger contains gingerols, garlic contains allicin, and onion contains quercetin. All these are powerful compounds that help boost the immune system in the body.
Besides eating foods that help boost immunity, you should also aim at leading a healthy lifestyle.
For immunity, we at Addlife have made an easy formula for you:
3SHE or Sun – Sleep – Stress – Hygiene – Exercise:
- Take an adequate amount of sunlight every day, especially from your navel and back region.
- Take a good quantity and quality of sleep.
- Manage your stress through meditation, yoga or other stress-relieving activities.
- Maintain good hygiene, and don’t forget to wash your hands.
- Exercise regularly. If you can’t invest a lot of time, aim at 25-30 minutes for 4-5 days a week.