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. Certain foods may be helpful for boosting the immune system and preventing colds and the flu. Here’s a look at many types of nutrients that your immune system needs to perform and which foods to find them in.
Some tips to increase immunity power-
When you’re feeling sick, 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 you fully hydrated, as we tend to lose more fluids when we’re sick, The Mayo Clinic suggests.
Sweet potatoes have beta-carotene. In your body that turns into vitamin A, this mops up damaging free radicals. This helps bolster the immune system and may even improve the aging process.
They give you the mineral selenium and the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin. That helps you in several ways. If you’re low on selenium, you may be more likely to get a more severe flu. Riboflavin and niacin play a role in a healthy immune system.
Its dark colour is a sign that it’s got plenty of nutrients called anthocyanins. There isn’t any research that shows acai is good for any specific condition. But in general, antioxidants from foods are a key part of a healthy lifestyle.
It’s not only refreshing. When it’s ripe, it’s also got plenty of an antioxidant called glutathione. It strengthens the immune system so it can fight infection.
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fibre and many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate.
Chicken Noodle 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 the University of California Los Angeles, 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 university also noted that the soup helps relieve nasal congestion.
When it comes to treating a common cold, ginger is one of the best foods for relief. In a review published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, 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.
This 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 its signature vibrant orange-yellow colour.) 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 German study published by Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten, 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.
It’s the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, and it’s rich in nutrients. It’s a great way to get zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins.
Oranges or kiwifruit (kiwis)
Oranges and kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is the vitamin that many people turn to when they feel a cold developing. While scientists are still not sure exactly how it helps, vitamin C may reduce the duration of common cold symptoms and improve the function of the human immune system.
Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system.
Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine, which may help to boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals.
Wild salmon is filled with zinc, a nutrient that has been proven to assist with reducing common cold symptoms. If you want your family, and especially your children, to avoid a cold this winter season, then you should be giving them zinc-rich foods. The Journal of Family Practice published a study examining the effects of zinc on the common cold in children ages one to 10 years old. Researchers found that zinc, in comparison to a placebo, significantly reduced the severity and duration of symptoms when taken within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms.
Spinach made our list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C — it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Almonds are another excellent source of vitamin E. They also contain manganese, magnesium, and fibre. A small handful or a quarter of a cup of almonds is a healthful snack that may benefit the immune system.
Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to salads or breakfast bowls. They are a rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant. In the same way as other antioxidants, vitamin E improves immune function. It does this by fighting off free radicals, which can damage cells.
Green tea contains only a small amount of caffeine, so people can enjoy it as an alternative to black tea or coffee. Drinking it may also strengthen the immune system. As with blueberries, green tea contains flavonoids, which may reduce the risk of a cold.
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 act 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. It contain a high amount of vitamin D, which is vital in regulating and strengthening immunity. According to a study published in the journal JAMA, 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.
“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. This fruit contains physiochemical antioxidants, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal. These antioxidants help boost immunity and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Most nuts contain vitamin E, another vitamin that’s crucial to fighting off sickness. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found 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 has noted that more studies need to conduct in order to fully validate vitamin E’s potential in preventing colds.
Oysters, like other types of seafood, are high in zinc. And they’re one of the highest recommended kinds of seafood to eat for incorporating zinc into your diet.
Kefir is a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for health.
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.
Eating a low-fat diet may also be protective. Studies have shown that limiting dietary fat helps strengthen immune defences. Research also shows that oil may impair white blood cell function and that high-fat diets may alter the gut micro biota that aid in immunity. Maintaining a healthy weight can also benefit the immune system. Obesity has linked to increased risk for influenza and other infections such as pneumonia. Plant-based diets are effective for weight loss, because they are rich in fibre, which helps fill you up, without adding extra calories. Fibre can also lower BMI, which is linked to improved immunity. A plant-based diet has also been shown to reduce inflammatory biomarkers.
Our bodies need sleep to rest and recharge. Without a sufficient amount of sleep, we increase our risk for developing serious health problems—like heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and obesity. Inadequate sleep has linked to suppressed immune function. One study found that those who sleep fewer than five hours per night are more likely to have recently suffered a recent cold compared with those who sleep more.