Over the years we have learned the importance of immunity. It works as the first line of defense against any imbalance in the body. From regulating our metabolism to preventing oxidative stress, your immune health does it all. However, some people are not blessed with strong immunity. Therefore, it is always advisable to fill up on healthy nutrients to boost our body’s defense mechanism. And the best part is, you don’t need to travel miles looking for those nutrients. All you need to do is scan your kitchen and select food ingredients wisely. In this article, we’ll walk you through some commonly available foods that will help you in the process. Read on.
Read also: 5 Common Antioxidant-Rich Foods That Promote Heart Healthy and Boost Immunity
What are the nutrients that help promote immunity?
1. Fatty Fish:
Rich in omega 3, a key nutrient for immunity. Omega 3 is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Omega 3 is part of cell membranes, eating fatty fish helps strengthen the immune cell membrane. Mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, tuna are good sources of omega 3 fats.
Rich in vitamin C, it is the most important nutrient for lung health and is known to reduce flu symptoms. Vitamin C is also associated with improving the functioning of immune cells. Vitamin C is important for tissue healing and aids in recovery after infection. Oranges, lemons, limes, kinu are some easily available fruits.
It has been used for centuries in our community for its antiseptic, antifungal and antiseptic properties. Garlic is associated with increased immune cell activity. Stress is known to lower immunity. Garlic has the ability to influence the adrenal glands response to stress. Garlic has been seen to reduce the production of stress hormones in clinical studies. Garlic also helps with the absorption of zinc from food. Zinc is a critical immune nutrient. We add garlic to our meals, make sure you get enough.
Another Indian spice known for its health-supporting activities is ginger. It also has very impressive antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial characteristics. Excessive free radicals attack and destroy cells, including immune cells. Antioxidants neutralize this activity, protecting the immune system. Ginger also contains magnesium, vitamin C and potassium, which improve immunity
The curcumin in turmeric is a well-established compound known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities. It is also an antiviral agent. Turmeric is known to strengthen the immune system and help fight infection and speed healing. In the summer you can add it to lemonades, iced coffee, iced tea for that extra dose.
The sulfur compounds in broccoli help in the production of glutathione which scavenges free radicals and protects the immune system. Plus, it’s a good source of vitamins A, E, and C, all of which are powerful antioxidants and known for their ability to boost immunity. Other cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower and kale.
Yellow and red bell peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, essential for its immune and antioxidant activity par excellence
Most leafy green vegetables, including spinach, are sources of vitamin A and beta carotene. Beta carotene is known to improve immune cell function and is a strong antioxidant.
Almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, peanuts are all sources of protein, the building block for immune cells. Additionally, almonds are a good source of vitamin E, an excellent antioxidant, and walnuts contain omega 3 fats, which are also needed to boost your immune system. All nuts are sources of zinc, magnesium, two important nutrients for immunity.
Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, chia seeds have a rich mineral profile, especially magnesium and zinc. Pumpkin seeds add omega 3 and flaxseeds help fight inflammation due to their nutrient profile. All of these boost immunity through the nutrients they contain, help keep inflammation down, and add fiber that promotes health, aids in digestion, and controls oxidative stress.
Read also: Here’s the surprising link between your gut and immunity, and how to keep both healthy
What is the link between immunity and gut health?
70% of our immune system is found in our intestines. The immune cells in our gut react with the microbiome, the colony of bacteria, of the gut. The diversity and composition of the microbiome is directly influenced by our food. Eating foods that help keep the gut healthy protects by improving immunity.
Yogurt or dahi is probably the simplest probiotic food available. Traditional drinks such as sattu, kanji of fermented beets, also help improve intestinal bacteria. Bael sorbet is also healthy. These drinks will also keep you hydrated.
Always remember that what works best is an overall good and balanced diet along with enough exercise and rest. A diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants helps keep your immune system in top shape and helps you recover faster.
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