10 Immunity-Boosting Foods You Must Include In Your Diet
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A strong immune system is central to building a solid foundation for your health. People often find it hard to stay healthy throughout the year, especially in the winter months when the days are shorter and tend to be more stress-inducing. That’s why it’s a mistake to not incorporate immunity-boosting foods into your diet on a daily basis. If you skimp on establishing a balance of healthy foods, your body may not be as battle-ready as you would like it to be on any given day.

Here is a list of some of the best foods that provide a wide variety of nutrients and anti-inflammatory agents that bolster your immunity

1)    Eggs

They’re one of the easiest and least expensive ways to boost your immune system. Eggs are high in protein and a great source of vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E that the body needs for proper immune functioning. They are also an excellent source of antibodies and immunoglobulins, which are essential components of the immune system. Studies show that eggs reduce oxidative stress, a condition in which the body’s cells are exposed to harmful molecules known as oxidants. This stress may otherwise damage cells and lead to diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Having 2 eggs daily provides 82% of your vitamin D requirements, 50% of your folate requirements, 25% of your riboflavin (Vitamin B2) requirements, and 40% of your selenium requirements.

The easiest way to add eggs to your diet during breakfast is to boil two eggs, slice them, and then sprinkle salt and pepper for taste. Or make a quick omelet using two eggs and a bit of olive oil, with some toast on the side. A tasty, nutritious, immunity-boosting breakfast is ready in a jiffy!

If possible, choose eggs from chickens that were fed a vegetarian diet. You can also choose eggs with slightly higher levels of omega-3s and vitamins D and E. Don’t worry too much about organic or cage-free varieties, though, as they don’t appear to affect nutrient content.

2)    Beans 

Beans are a fantastic source of protein, high fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Half a cup of beans contains around 7 grams of protein, about the same as 30 grams of meat. Beans are high in polyphenols, which control high blood pressure and even have antibacterial effects. Like eggs, beans also help reduce inflammation and cell damage from oxidative stress, which can, in turn, have anti-cancer benefits.

Diets high in fiber have been linked to lower body weight, waist circumference, and body fat as well as a healthy insulin response and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, making beans one of the best foods you can eat for improving your immunity. Research indicates that folate deficiency is among the most prevalent nutritional deficiencies worldwide. Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that the body requires to produce new red blood cells. Beans are high in folate, and adding them to your weekly food rotation lowers the risk for deficiency, especially in women. Studies show that chickpeas, lentils, peas, kidney beans, and black beans are the five healthiest beans.

3)    Spinach/Palak

Cliched but true: leafy greens are awesome for health and immunity, and they should always be a part of your diet. And there’s no better green veggie than spinach. It is rich in vitamins C and E, vital weapons in the armory that is our immune system. Packed with antioxidants and beta-carotene, spinach helps increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. In fact, most green and orange vegetables are good sources of beta-carotene. Spinach also contains vitamin A, an important building block of our immune system. It is also a great source of folate.

For best results, incorporate a cup of spinach into your cooking two times a week. Add a cup of spinach to your two-egg omelet for a super-healthy breakfast. You can also make a spinach smoothie for breakfast or an evening snack. Add some almonds to that spinach smoothie for a shot of super-immunity.

4)    Spices 

The spice rack is probably the simplest place to add immunity-boosting nutrients to your food. In addition to spicing up your food, garlic, ginger, and turmeric have long been considered to have immune-boosting properties.

Adding a pinch of turmeric to your daily diet can improve your health, thanks to curcumin, an antiviral as well as an immunity booster. Turmeric is, of course, also regarded in India as an anti-inflammatory that helps treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Ginger is said to help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. Studies indicate it may also help with nausea. Ginger’s "heat" comes from gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Some ongoing studies seem to indicate that ginger may decrease chronic pain and even possess cholesterol-lowering properties. As if we needed more reasons to have more ginger tea or sprinkle diced ginger on curries.

Garlic’s immune-boosting properties are due to a heavy concentration of sulphur-containing compounds like allicin, which can slow down the hardening of the arteries and may also lower blood pressure. So do not hesitate to add garlic to your food.

5)    Citrus fruits

Vitamin C helps reduce the duration of a cold. as in the sniffles, not the weather. Scientists aren’t entirely sure how, but vitamin C is believed to reduce the duration of common cold symptoms and improve our immunity.

The body does not produce or store vitamin C, so we need to add this to our daily intake if we want to maintain good health. The recommended daily intake is 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men. This is where citrus fruits enter the picture. Most citrus fruits—oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, etc.—contain high levels of vitamin C, which also fights infections by increasing white blood cells in the body. Citrus fruits contain phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols, which are antioxidants that help strengthen immunity and ward off cancer. Quercetin, a flavonoid found in citrus fruits, may help fight the chronic inflammation partly responsible for the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. They’re rich in potassium, which can help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. Vitamin C also has collagen, which reduces skin aging.

Eat them whole or squeeze the juice onto your food. A single lemon contains 50% of the daily vitamin C requirement. An orange has more than 100% of this daily requirement. tasty, anti-aging, and fights diseases. Do you need more reasons to add a citrus fruit to your daily diet?

6)    Chicken

Vegetarians, please excuse me. Chicken soup might be great for more than just your soul. Chicken is high in vitamin B-6, which can reduce inflammation and help in the creation of new red blood cells. It’s also rich in zinc, which increases the production of white blood cells. Just 85 grams of chicken can provide up to 50% of your daily allowance of vitamin B-6. Then there’s the health benefit from chicken broth: made by boiling chicken bones, the broth contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients that are great for intestinal health and immunity.

There’s only one caveat: chicken is great as long as it is not deep-fried. Grilled or boiled chicken is the way to go.

7)    Yogurt

Yogurt probiotics. A great source of vitamin D, yogurt stimulates the immune system to help fight disease. For the strongest boost, look out for yogurt or curd that has "active, live cultures." For example, Greek yogurt These cultures may stimulate your immune system; it and the microbiome work in tandem to target pathogens and fine-tune immune responses.

Try to stick to plain yogurt as much as possible and avoid sweetened yogurt that is loaded with artificial sugar. You can always add honey or fruit (berries can provide an additional immunity boost) if you do need to sweeten things up a bit. And yes, a small bowl of yogurt daily after your meal is the easiest way to add this immunity booster to your diet.

8)    Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are some of the most nutrient-dense foods. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats that aid in the growth of healthy cells. Brazil nuts, macadamias, walnuts, and almonds are great all-rounders. Flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds are particularly good for boosting your immunity. They’re high in vitamin E, a strong antioxidant that helps fight infections like the common cold and reduces the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Adults require approximately 15 mg of vitamin E each day. A half-cup of almonds, or about 45 whole, shelled almonds, provides around 100 percent of the daily recommendation. Sunflower seeds are filled with nutrients like phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and E. 30 grams of sunflower seeds provide 50% of the body’s daily requirement of selenium. These can be had as a snack anytime during the day or easily added to salads, breakfast, etc.

9)    Broccoli 

Broccoli is the superfood for immunity. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system, it is one of the best sources of healthy fiber that improves gut health.

Vitamins E? Check. Vitamin K? Check. B vitamins? Check. Vitamin C? You bet! Broccoli also contains minerals like manganese and folate and potent antioxidants like sulforaphane. It may boost production of glutathione, an antioxidant that attacks free radicals, thereby allowing the immune system to focus on staying healthy rather than repairing itself from damage. This green vegetable is an OP weapon in your armory.

The only catch? The key to getting the most out of broccoli is to cook it as little as possible, or avoid cooking it at all. Steaming is the best way to consume broccoli. So, either have it raw with a salad or steam it and add it to the vegetables on your plate. If broccoli soup is more your style, you can make it on some days.

10)    Oats 

The breakfast of champions Oats are one of the best whole grains for improving your immunity and boosting your health. One of the few whole grains that are gluten-free, oats are an extremely nutritious addition to your diet.

Oats contain dietary fiber called beta-glucans; minerals like copper, iron, selenium, and zinc; polyphenolics like ferulic acid and avenanthramides; and proteins like glutamine. These nutrients help optimize the immune system’s response to infections. Studies show that beta-glucans can bind to harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens and remove them from the body. Because the human body does not naturally produce beta glucans, oats are the best daily source of this infection-fighting nutrient. Oats also stimulate white blood cells and contain a high concentration of arginine, an amino acid that helps regulate blood flow, heals injuries, and removes waste via the kidneys.

Ideally, you want to have oatmeal as part of your breakfast every morning, along with some fruits for taste. This is one of the best immunity boosters that will turn your health around.