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7 Foods That Naturally Help Boost And Improve Your Immune System

7 Foods That Naturally Help Boost And Improve Your Immune System

These superfoods can help us fight infections and be a source of vitamins and minerals that improve our health.

In light of this pandemic, one of the first precautions every medical body around the world told us was to wash our hands regularly, use sanitizer regularly and maintain social distance. However, one other crucial step to fight illnesses is to improve the immune systems.

Our immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that protects our body against infections. It also keeps a record of the germs it has defeated so it can identify and destroy it quicker next time, as per Better Health by Victoria Government.

One of the two ways of improving immunity is through the right food, Dr. Carolina Figley, owner of Medically Fit, told WKBN. "We can have two separate ways of boosting your immune system. One of them is the food part and the other is some habits that we can practice in this time of being at home," she said.

The habits we can inculcate to build and maintain immunity include sleeping enough, keeping stress level down and switching off electronics one to two hours before bed. "Researchers say that when we shut off the blue light, our brain activity is still going on for over 30 minutes, so that would really help," she said.

The other way is eating certain foods that amp up the immune system. Here's a list of foods you should eat or probably pick-up during your next grocery run: 

1. Dark chocolate 

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Burak Karademir

The luscious tasting dark chocolate is not just a treat for the taste buds they also have an antioxidant called theobromine. This boosts the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals (molecules produced by our body when it breaks down food). It also protects us when our body comes in contact with pollutants. They can be damaging for the cells and can cause disease too. While dark chocolate is great, it should be had in moderation as it is high in calories and saturated fat, according to Medical News Today.

2. Shellfish



 

Shellfish like crab, clams, lobsters, and mussels are one of the tastiest ways of boosting the immune system. They are rich in zinc, which may not seem too important, but actually our body needs it for ensuring that our immune cells are functioning properly. However, it is important that we stick to the daily recommended amount of zinc in our diet. For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg), and for women, it’s 8 mg, according to Healthline

3. Turmeric



 

A key ingredient in many curries and cuisines from different parts of the world, this yellow spice is great to boost your immunity. It is also an anti-inflammatory and can help those who have osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, a study namely — Reduced inflammatory and muscle damage biomarkers following oral supplementation with bioavailable curcumin showed that consuming high concentrations of curcumin, says curcumin, which is present in turmeric, helps reduce exercise-induced muscle damage.

4. Almonds

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Arx0nt

These dry fruits are a good source of vitamin E. They have manganese, magnesium, and fiber as well. A quarter cup of these can be a hearty snack and provide us with healthy fat, along with 6 g of plant protein, 4 g of filling fiber (13% of the daily minimum), half of the daily target for vitamin E, and 20% for magnesium and B vitamins and smaller amounts of calcium, iron, and potassium, according to Health.

5. Citrus fruits



 

Many people pop Vitamin C tablets once they have caught a cold or the flu because it boosts immunity. Vitamin C is crucial for fighting off infections and in the need of the hour. Other than those pills, you could also include citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes, or clementines in your diet. All of them are rich in Vitamin C. It is important to consume some form of this vitamin daily, as our body doesn't produce or store it, as per Healthline.

6. Spinach



 

This green leafy vegetable is high in vitamins A and C, and folate. It also has plenty of magnesium and the plant compounds in them boost our immunity. They also contain carotenoids — beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin — which are great for protection against age-related vision diseases, such as macular degeneration, and heart disease and some types of cancer, according to MayoClinic

7. Sweet potatoes



 

These potatoes have more than just starch in them. They are actually high in the antioxidant beta carotene, which gets converted to vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A is crucial for our immune system as well, according to Healthline. The nutrients in sweet potatoes also help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of some cancers. These potatoes are a good source of fiber, vitamin B-6, and potassium. They also happen to be low in calories. 

References:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/immune-system
https://www.wkbn.com/news/coronavirus/natural-ways-to-boost-immunity-and-fight-off-illness/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322412#other-ways-to-boost-the-immune-system
https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#citrus
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214647416300034?via%3Dihub
https://www.health.com/food/health-benefits-almonds
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/health-foods/sls-20076653?s=8
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sweet-potato-benefits#section6

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.