A strong immune system helps to keep a person healthy. A good immunity always shows its protective work, whenever we are going through the disease. Can specific foods boost immunity? Yes… So to make our immunity is good and to boost it up, we must eat some numerous kind of food. In this post, we will learn about these A-Z immunity-boosting foods. These foods will help to fight some specific kind of infections and will even add a dash of variety in our platter. But firstly, we have to understand the immune system and how it helps us in fighting with different kinds of infections.
What is the Immune system? How does it work?
The immune system consists of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins. Together, these carry out bodily processes that fight off pathogens, which are the viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that cause infection or disease.
When the immune system comes into contact with a pathogen, it triggers an immune response. The immune system releases antibodies, which attach to antigens on the pathogens and kill them. Incorporating specific foods into the diet may strengthen a person’s immune response.
A good immunity plays a very potent role from keeping us away form many kinds of infections, infections not only the seasonal one like- Flu & cold but sometimes it even plays a good role in a sudden outbreak of some viral effects as well.
As the coronavirus spreads across the country and the world, you might be wondering how to stop the virus. And while there aren’t foods that can prevent you from contracting the coronavirus, there are ways to make viral symptoms less painful. In the same way, you’d do during flu season, now’s a great time to load up on nutrients like vitamin C, as well as to practice hygiene measures like proper hand-washing.
Of course, the best way to stop coronavirus is by practicing social distancing and staying at home as much as possible. But you can also protect your body from coughing and sniffles by loading up on these A-Z immunity-boosting foods. So read on to discover these foods.
Which foods boost the immune system?
Of course, a healthful, balanced diet plays a vital role in staying well. But the following foods may help to boost the immune system:
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t just an old wives’ tale—apples actually can help prevent illnesses such as the common cold. Therefore it owns the first place in the list of A-Z immunity-boosting foods. This fruit contains phytochemical antioxidants, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal. These antioxidants help boost immunity and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
2. Anise Tea
According to an in-depth review of the plant published in the International Scholarly Research Notices: Pharmacology, Anise acts as an antibacterial and antifungal. The study also noted that anise acts as an antiviral and contains antioxidants that can help boost your immunity. So sipping its tea is a good choice to keep you and your immunity in a good vibe.
Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system. A 2016 study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system.
Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection or common cold than those who did not. So, it’s very great if you have this food in your platter.
broccoli can be a great addition to your diet if you’re trying to prevent a cold. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables were proven to help boost immunity, according to the study. Researchers claim that sulforaphane, a chemical in the vegetable, turns on antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells, which combat free radicals in your body and prevent you from getting sick.
5. Bone Broth
Animal-based bone broths could be the key reason as to why soups are great for you when you’re suffering from sickness. According to a study by the American College Of Chest Physicians, chicken soup’s broth could be the reason for its anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which leads to relief from major cold symptoms. Yippie.. for such delicious soup which plays a good job in flavor and as well as in its immunity-boosting properties.
6. Chicken soup
Chicken soup is a staple for surviving cold and flu season, and not just because the warm comfort food is a nostalgic throwback to mom taking care of you. According to a study, this soup has an anti-inflammatory effect and calms down inflammation in the upper respiratory tract that takes place when you develop a cold. The study also noted that soup helps relieve nasal congestion.
7. Dark chocolate
Believe it or not, dark chocolate can be extremely helpful in fighting off of a cold. Dark chocolate contains a heavy antioxidant called theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing. This may help to boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals. A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that theobromine is helpful in suppressing cough symptoms for people with bronchitis, but notes that more research needs to be done to confirm the findings fully. So, isn’t it a yummy treat to find out such a delicious thing in the A-Z immunity-boosting foods?
Despite its potential benefits, dark chocolate is high in calories and saturated fat, so it is important to eat it in moderation.
8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This oil has been shown to also help rebuild and boost the body’s immunity. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that olive oil’s high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. The acids also assisted in boosting the immune system and guarding the body of infection.
Eggs, and especially the yolks, are packed with immunity-boosting nutrients. Eggs are not only a good source of protein but they also contain a high amount of vitamin D, which is vital in regulating and strengthening immunity. According to a study, participants who took a daily serving of vitamin D in the wintertime were less likely to catch a cold or any other upper respiratory tract infection in comparison to those who did not.
People use ginger in a variety of dishes and desserts, as well as in teas. While it’s used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties as well.
When it comes to treating a common cold, ginger is one of the best foods for relief. According to a review, researchers summarized that ginger’s potent anti-inflammatory properties were key in the root’s powers to combat a cold or flu. Because inflammation can affect your body’s immune response, anti-inflammatory ginger can play a key role in boosting your immunity. However, more research is necessary to confirm whether or not it can effectively prevent illness.
Garlic is a common home remedy for the prevention of colds and other illnesses. Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Garlic has built a reputation for being one of the best cold-curing foods, and for good reason. One review looked at whether taking garlic supplements containing allicin reduced the risk of getting a cold.
This review showed that a group of participants in a study who ate garlic over a three-month period only had 24 cases of the common cold total, a significant decrease in comparison to the 65 cases reported by the control group. However, the researchers noted that more studies need to be conducted in order to validate garlic’s true impact on the common cold.
12. Ginseng Tea
Ginseng tea is popular for more reasons than its delicious taste. Namely, the tea has been used as a treatment for upper respiratory tract infections (a.k.a. the common cold). A review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal noted that ginseng has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of colds and influenza. However, the researchers noted that more research needs to be conducted to support ginseng’s immunity-boosting claims fully.
13. Green Tea
Here is an one more variant of tea, in our list of A-Z immunity-boosting foods. Green tea is not only one of our recommended best teas for weight loss, but it’s also one of the best sources for fighting off a cold.
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that boosts immunity. 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, is known to be a powerful antibacterial and antiviral and can kill off cold-starting bacteria and the influenza virus. In 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.
Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
Kefir is a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for health.
Initial research suggests that drinking kefir may boost the immune system. According to a 2017 review, various studies have shown that regular consumption of kefir can help with:
- Fighting bacteria
- Reducing inflammation
- Increasing antioxidant activity.
The majority of the research that supports this was carried out on animals or in a laboratory. Researchers need to perform additional studies to understand how kefir may prevent disease in humans.
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton of essential nutrients, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
16. Light White Tuna
Like salmon, light white tuna is filled with zinc. According to a study, This nutrient has a heavy impact on your immune system and helps reduce symptoms of the common cold. The study found that people who were ingesting at least 75 milligrams of zinc a day were relieved of their cold symptoms in a shorter amount of time in comparison to those who did not.
This variant of soup is perfect to complete the A-Z immunity-boosting foods. Miso is made from soy, which contains isoflavone antioxidants that help boost the immune system. A study showed that due to the antioxidant content in soy products, postmenopausal women were able to reduce inflammation in their bodies and boost their immunity.
Mushrooms are great for boosting your immunity. Research suggests that participants who ate shiitake mushrooms every day for four weeks had a significant increase in numbers and strength of immunity-boosting T-cells. They also noticed a reduction in inflammatory-inducing proteins, proving that shiitake mushrooms also act as an anti-inflammatory agent.
The alphabetic list of A-Z immunity-boosting foods will remain incomplete if we won’t include nuts or dry fruits in it. Most nuts contain vitamin E, another vitamin that’s crucial to fighting off sickness. A study showed that taking 50 milligrams of vitamin E daily helped cigarette-smoking men who were 65 years and older living in cities reduce their risk of catching a cold by 28 percent. However, the researchers noted that more studies need to be conducted in order to fully validate vitamin E’s potential in preventing colds. So, a small handful or a quarter of a cup of nuts is a healthful snack that may benefit.
Oranges and mostly all citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient when you’re feeling under the weather. According to a study, vitamin C is helpful in preventing the common cold for people exposed to sickness-inducing environments, such as cold weather. It can also help lower the duration and severity of a cold.
21. Oily Fish
Fishes like- Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
According to a 2014 report, long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
RA is a chronic autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body.
Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. 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.
23. Raw Honey
All-natural & pure, raw honey not only tastes delicious but can also help soothe some symptoms of a cold. According to a study published in the Iran Journal of Basic Medical Science, honey is helpful in relieving sore and itchy throats and sometimes in coughing. The study also states that honey acts as an antibacterial, killing any germs in the body that can cause you to get sick. So, if you are feeling cold then take it but if you aren’t feeling any kind of flu still take this sweet delight to keep your immunity on a good level.
24. Red Bell Pepper
If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. So, Red bell peppers are another vitamin C-rich source for fighting colds. Thus this beautiful veggie owns its place in this list of A-Z immunity-boosting foods. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. In a review, it noted that consuming 200 milligrams of vitamin C every day cut the risk of getting a cold in half for “extremely active” people. It also cut down the duration of symptoms by eight percent in adults and 14 percent in children. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
But take little caution while cooking this veggie as Stir-frying and roasting both preserve the nutrient content of red bell peppers better than steaming or boiling, according to a study on cooking methods.
Rosemary isn’t just a tasty herb to add to baked goods—it’s also an amazing anti-inflammatory and is a rich source of antioxidants. A review based on food science noted that most herbs, such as rosemary, contain antioxidants that serve as anti-inflammatory properties in the body. This anti-inflammatory effect allows for better digestive and gut health, leading to a boost in your immune system to keep you healthy. So, try to add such amazing aromatic herbs in your food to boost up your immunity.
Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc.
Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.
Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:
But 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.
Spinach made our list of A-Z immunity-boosting food items not just because it’s rich in vitamin C. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene. Thus, spinach is a major superfood that is great for your overall health. It’s numerous antioxidants and beta carotene may 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.
28. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to salads or breakfast bowls. They are full of 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. It does this by fighting off free radicals, which can damage cells.
You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. But this bright yellow, bitter spice is more than just a delicious kick to your next dinnertime meal; it contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. (This same compound is what lends turmeric it’s signature vibrant orange-yellow color.).
So, Consuming turmeric may improve a person’s immune response. This is due to the qualities of curcumin. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology, curcumin activates the production of T-cells, which are the main cells fighting for your health in your immune system.
Tomatoes are a great food to eat when you’re sick due to their high concentration of vitamin C. Just one medium tomato contains more than 16 milligrams of vitamin C, which is a proven fuel to your body’s immune system. In a study, it noted that vitamin C was shown to be a vital part of the strength of the body’s phagocytes and t-cells, two major components of the immune system. The researchers also noted that a deficiency in this nutrient can lead to a weaker immune system and lower resistance to certain pathogens that can lead to illness.
So, eat tomatoes as a salad or include them in your platter in the form of veggie or soup, it will always be very good for your health and immunity.
In your sickness, good ol’ H2O can be one of the most helpful drinks to sip on. Staying hydrated can help loosen trapped mucus, according to The Mayo Clinic. Try drinking at least the recommended eight glasses of water a day to keep yourself fully hydrated, as we tend to lose more fluids when we’re sick, The Mayo Clinic suggests. So, water is our basic fluid, which occupies its important place in the list of A-Z immunity-boosting foods.
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 rather than the kinds that are preflavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.
Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
So, friends, this is all the A-Z list of superfoods that boost up and keep our immunity on a good level to fight with cold, flu and some kind of infections. I hope, that you found it helpful.