15 Foods that Help Boost the Immune System

Immune system boosters

In the current climate of panic buying toilet paper and pet food we thought that we would offer some alternative ideas for what you might consider stocking up on.

Feeding your body with super foods may help keep your immune system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent viral infections, your first step should be to upgrade your diet to include these immune system boosters.

1. Citrus fruit

Many people turn to vitamin C to help boost their immunity. Vitamin C is found in high doses inmost citrus fruits including:

  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • tangerines
  • lemons
  • limes
  • clementines

Your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C so you need daily doses for continued health. With so much choice it seems likely that there will still be some form of citrus fruit on the supermarket shelves.

2. Red bell peppers

Most people believe that citrus fruit is the best source of vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable. This is not the case, surprise your family with this little known fact: Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

So, fear not, if they are sold out of oranges no one will have thought bell peppers.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fibre. The key to keeping this super veg intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all.

4. Garlic

Did you know that us Brits use more garlic inner cooking than the French? Garlic adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilisations recognised its value in fighting infections. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

5. Ginger

Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may also help decrease nausea. 

While it’s often used in biscuits and cakes, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger really is a super spice and it also may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties, according to recent animal researchTrusted Source.

6. Spinach

Popeye really was onto something. Spinach is not only packed with vitamin C, it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene (like Broccoli), which is believed to increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid. Try adding some garlic for an extra boost.

7. Yogurt

Look for yogurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts and try sweetening them yourself with fruit, nuts and grains.

Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defences against diseases.

8. Almonds

When it comes to preventing and fighting off viruses, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.

9. Turmeric

This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Try a turmeric late for novel way of ingesting this fantastic spice.

10. Green tea

Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. 

11. Papaya

Fancy something a little more exotic in your shopping basket?. You can find 224 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single papaya. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Papayas have decent amounts of potassium, B vitamins, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.

12. Kiwi

Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

13. Poultry

Having chicken soup when you’re feeling poorly sounds like one of those old wives tales. But there really is something to it. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6.

Vitamin B-6 is vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.

14. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are full of micro nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. They’re also incredibly high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

Vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function.

Try adding them your yogurt for a truly immune boosting snack

15. Shellfish

Not necessarily an obvious choice but shellfish are packed with zinc.

Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but we need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.

Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:

  • crab
  • clams
  • lobster
  • mussels

Keep in mind that you don’t want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg), and for women, it’s 8 mg. Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.

More ways to combat Corona

Variety is the key to proper nutrition. Eat a balanced diet paying attention to recommended daily amounts and you won’t go far wrong. In the winter months it is recommended to supplement with vitamin D3 which is also essential to immune system health.

Eating right is a great start. Bulk buying some products may seem like a great way to prepare but following a good hand hygiene routine, exercising regularly, sleeping well and maintaining healthy lifestyle is the best protection that you can give yourself and your family.

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