Building your immune system is essential for keeping your body fit and healthy. Including immune-boosting foods in your diet works wonders in the process of staying healthy and fighting illness. When it comes to disease and infection, prevention is better than cure, and what better way to prevent getting sick than by consuming some healthy immune-boosting foods. Immunity is the body’s ability to resist infection by building antibodies. So, having a good immune system is very important in order to be able to fight infections.
Have you ever wondered “how can I boost my immune system quickly?” Well, sadly, there is no shortcut to it. However, there are various ways to boost and preserve your immunity—by getting a good night’s sleep, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly. Food plays a huge role in boosting our immune system too. Adding the right immune boosters in our diet can go a long way when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. It is also important to know what foods fight viruses and other infections and include them in our daily diet.
Most of these immunity-boosting foods can easily be added into your daily meals through easy and delicious recipes. Read on to know what boosts the immune system.
Uplift Your Diet With These 15 Immune-Boosting Foods
The Most Popular Citrus Fruit, Orange
A delicious immune-boosting fruit, oranges are loaded with vitamin C, the essential nutrient that helps to prevent the common cold. Oranges also provide fibre, potassium, and choline, which are all good for your heart. Orange is a fairly common fruit and can be found in most markets easily. They can be eaten as they are, or be added to salads or fruit juices for a yummy citrusy kick. Eating orange peels is also very beneficial for health. The peel is said to be an anti-allergic food that can help you fight off allergic sneezes.
A very famous salad recipe that uses oranges and can be whipped up under five minutes is the Mediterranean Orange Salad.
The Flavour That Your Food Just Can’t Do Without, Garlic
One of the most popular flavours in any cuisine, be it Chinese or Italian, garlic is full of medicinal benefits as well. It can combat diseases, as it has a variety of vitamins and nutrients. However, for maximum benefit, it is best to eat it raw regularly, this is when it retains most of its nutrients. When it comes to immune-boosting foods it is a powerhouse of flavour, benefits and versatility.
Garlic has a compound called allicin that gives it the pungent smell and flavour. This compound boosts the disease-fighting response in humans. Garlic is very easily available and can be added to pasta, curries, included raw in salads, and of course, be used to make healthy garlic sauce or the ever-popular garlic bread.
Popeye The Sailor Was Right All Along, Spinach
Spinach is one of the most popular and easily available green leafy vegetables out there. It’s rich in vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, iron and manganese. It is also a great source of calcium. Moreover, spinach contains beta carotene, an essential pigment which helps the immune system, making it a super immune system boosting food.
Spinach is a versatile vegetable and although it is best eaten fresh, it can be added to a number of dishes to give them a healthy spin. From soups to smoothies, spinach goes with anything. Try this spinach sauce or this spinach and banana power smoothie.
Good For Your Gut, Yogurt
A popular milk product, yogurt is great for your gut health. It has similar health benefits as milk but it is much easier to digest and healthier. Yogurt is full of calcium which helps improve bone health. More importantly, yogurt is rich in probiotics which supports your immune system by maintaining levels of good bacteria in your gut.
Yogurt is easily available in the market and can also be made at home with the help of milk and some leftover yogurt. It is very satiating and can be had with cereal for breakfast or as a supplement to your daily meal. Try this yogurt and fruit parfait for that extra boost of energy.
The Most Nutritious Nut, Almond
Almonds are one of the most popular tree nuts. Highly rich in nutrients and healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, almonds make for a great snack in between meals. It’s loaded with antioxidants and vitamin E, both essential in boosting your immunity.
Almonds are easily available, raw or roasted, and can be consumed as is or added to smoothies, salads, and as toppings in various desserts. Almonds can be used to make homemade and healthier alternatives to your regular store-bought butter. Make your own almond butter using this recipe.
Chocolate Can Be Healthy Too, Dark Chocolate
Bet you weren’t expecting to see chocolate on this list. Well, dark chocolate is a great addition to your list of immune-boosting foods. Not only is it a tasty alternative but it also contains high levels of flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that can protect our cells from damage and reduce inflammation. Cocoa contains phenolic compounds that can strengthen the defences of our immune system.
The darker the chocolate, the greater the health benefits. However, it is only beneficial if taken in small amounts; so eating one whole bar in one go is not going to boost your immunity.
Dark chocolate is delicious to eat as is, but it can also be added to various healthy desserts or your own granola bar.
The Better Potato, Sweet Potato
One of the sweetest immune-boosting foods, sweet potato is much healthier than your regular potato. Not only is it a great alternative if you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake, but it is also a great immunity booster. Sweet potato is a great source of vitamin A that helps build immunity. It is also rich in various antioxidants that improve gut health.
It comes in different varieties of colours—purple, orange, and white. It is very easy to include it in your diet and it can be boiled, baked, roasted or stir-fried. It’s also a vegetable that has great flavour in itself and can be eaten just as is.
A very simple yet fancy dish that can be prepared with sweet potatoes is the sweet potato gnocchi.
The Healthiest Spice, Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice that is added to many Indian savoury dishes as it provides a wonderful flavour and a lovely colour. But it is more than just a delicious spice as it contains a powerful antioxidant called curcumin which activates the production of T-cells, the main cells responsible for fighting for your health in your immune system.
Turmeric is easily available in powdered form and can be added to any cooked dish along with other spices. It can also be consumed in its natural raw form, in fact this has more health benefits as compared to its powdered form. It is hugely beneficial when taken along with warm milk especially while recovering from an injury, since it’s also an anti-inflammatory.
Since turmeric has recently come to the forefront for health reasons, a lot of recipes adopting turmeric as the main ingredient have come forth. One of them is the very famous turmeric latte.
The Healthiest Fat On Earth, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is extremely healthy as it is extracted using natural methods and standardised for purity. It helps in rebuilding and boosting the body’s immunity due to the oil’s high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids that act as anti-inflammatory agents.
It also contains a small amount of vitamins A and K. Olive oil comes in three other varieties as well—virgin, refined, and pure. However, these aren’t as great for health. So, it’s always better to choose extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil can be purchased from grocery stores or even online.
Extra virgin olive oil is best eaten raw, and so, a drizzle of it can be added as a relish or topping to pasta, sauces, and salads. Make delicious pesto sauce with this recipe that can be used as a dipping sauce or added to pasta.
The Healthier Alternative To Sugar, Honey
Honey is a natural sweetener that serves as a great alternative to processed sugar and can be added to various desserts, teas, or as a topping. Raw honey is rich in phytonutrients known for its antioxidant properties. They also give honey its antibacterial and antifungal power. This is why raw honey has been shown to have immune-boosting and anticancer benefits.
For best results, it is better to buy raw honey as it contains more nutrients and antioxidants. Quite often, the honey extraction process is harmful to bees and is considered to be an unethical practice. Nowadays, however, there are ethical practices to extract honey that do not hurt bees. It is a good idea to look for brands that follow these environmental-friendly honey extraction practices over the ones that come at the cost of hurting bees.
One Of These A Day Keeps The Doctor Away, Apple
Wondering which fruit is good for the immune system? Look no further. An iron rich fruit, apple can help prevent colds, flu, and other infections. Apples contain phytochemical antioxidants that not only help boost immunity but also help in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
The fruit comes in a lot of varieties and is easily available as it is one of the most widely eaten fruits. Apples are best when consumed raw but they can also be used to create applesauce that works as a natural sweetener as well as an alternative in desserts. You can also try your hand at making some healthy apple muffins.
The Most Versatile Food In Your Kitchen, Egg
Eggs are one of the most widely-eaten immune-boosting foods. The reason for its popularity is that it can be consumed in a variety of forms—boiled, scrambled, omelette, sunny side up, and so on. Eggs are highly beneficial and the yolk especially is packed with immunity-boosting ingredients. They contain a high amount of vitamin D which is essential in regulating and strengthening immunity.
Eggs are locally available and come in a lot of different varieties. Different eggs can be used to create different dishes. A popular dish made with eggs is the Mediterranean dish shakshouka.
A Healthier Way To Get Your Caffeine Boost, Green Tea
Green tea is a type of tea that is made of unoxidised tea leaves. It is one of the best immune-boosting drinks, that has gained popularity for being a healthier choice of beverage when compared to regular tea and coffee. It is less processed than the latter two and also contains flavonoids that boost immunity and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Green tea also promotes weight loss. It is easily available in markets in the form of tea bags and as loose tea leaves. It is most beneficial when it is had without milk and any form of sweeteners.
When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade, Lemon
Lemons are packed with heart-healthy nutrients like vitamin C that boost immunity and help to resist infections. Drinking a cup of warm lemon water every morning has numerous health benefits and helps flush out toxins from the body. It not only boosts your immune system but also increases your body’s ability to absorb iron. Lemons also contain high volumes of zinc that make it a great immune-boosting food.
Squeeze some lemon into a glass of warm water and drink it every morning for good health and weight loss. Lemon also goes well with a variety of teas as it adds a burst of fresh flavour – you can also add it to your green tea and make a super combo. It can also be used to make a lot of desserts such as lemon bars or just drizzled on top of salads for an extra zing.
Healthiest Of The Fungi, Mushroom
Mushrooms come in loads of different varieties and all of them have varying levels of protein and fibre. The fungi are a great immune-boosting foods as it contains B vitamins along with a powerful antioxidant, selenium. It helps prevent damage to cells and tissues. The healthiest mushroom to eat is the shiitake mushroom. While this variety may not be easily available, all other varieties are also beneficial.
Mushrooms are easy to include in your diet as they can be added to a lot of savoury dishes. You can also make creamy mushroom soup, a great comfort food.
Good Food, Good Life
Health is of paramount importance and being healthy should be a part of our lifestyle. While exercising and getting enough good quality sleep are key factors in staying fit, it is incomplete without a proper diet. Every bite that we eat, either feeds or fights disease. Therefore, our diet plays a crucial role in being healthy. It is important to stick to a healthy diet that provides all the essential nutrients and boosts our immunity. There is nothing more beneficial than going natural when it comes to our health and no amount of additional supplements and medication can ever come close.