Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Due to the current pandemic, immune-boosting foods take on a new urgency today. Your immune system is, after all, your best line of protection against infections. However, we should emphasize that social isolation and the use of masks remain the most important COVID-19 prevention strategies. So, while you can use foods to boost immunity, don’t forget or neglect safety protocols as well as health warnings
When it comes to boosting your immunity, you don’t have to choose pricey or rare fruits and vegetables like avocados and broccoli. Instead, concentrate on regional produce and variations. Here are a few of India’s best immune-boosting foods.
Top 10 Immunity Booster Foods in India
- Citrus Foods: It makes no difference which citrus fruit you consume because they are all beneficial to your immune system. Vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapes, and grapefruit, which is thought to aid white blood cell formation. As a result, the body’s ability to combat infections increases. Red bell peppers are a great option for those looking to cut down on fruit sugar. They also have a healthy dose of beta carotene. If your diet isn’t providing enough vitamin C, try taking vitamin C supplements; just remember to limit it to less than 2,000 mg a day.
- Leafy Greens: Leafy greens like spinach and fenugreek are among the most affordable and widely available foods in India. They’re high in flavonoids and carotenoids, as well as vitamins C and E and a variety of other nutrients. Although vitamins C and E are known to aid in immune function, there is also evidence that flavonoids can aid in the prevention of seasonal infections in adults, such as the common cold.
- Nuts: Nuts are well-known for their nutritional benefits, but when it comes to foods that boost immunity, they are often ignored. Walnuts are known for their high levels of vitamin E, vitamin B6, copper, and folate. These nutrients are essential for immune function, and walnut consumption has been linked to stress reduction in studies. This stress-relieving advantage may stand alone.
- Seeds: We don’t give seeds much thought, but they’re nutrient-dense and low in calories. Pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc, are an especially good choice for immunity. Zinc deficiency is linked to increased infection susceptibility. Zinc is also found in sesame and hemp seeds, in addition to pumpkin seeds.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is an ingredient that can be used in almost every Indian kitchen, and it’s also prized for its medicinal properties. Curcumin, the key bioactive compound in turmeric, is responsible for these properties. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that can increase immune cell function and antibody responses. Curcumin is poorly absorbed unless it is mixed with black pepper.
Stop if… you feel bloated or experience cramping.
Recommended per day: No more than 3 grams (half a teaspoon) in a day, if taking in a concoction.
- Garlic: Garlic is another inexpensive flavoring ingredient that is commonly used in Indian cuisine. If you haven’t already, you can add it to your regular meals because it’s one of the best foods for boosting your immune system. Garlic consumption has been shown to boost immune cell function, making the immune system more effective at battling illnesses such as the common cold.
Stop if… you feel bloated or weak, as it could be a sign of low blood pressure.
Recommended per day: No more than 7 grams a day (one and a half teaspoon) or 300 mg (a pinch) of dry garlic powder.
- Yogurt: The gut microbiome’s function in human immunity has only recently been investigated. Gut health is gradually being recognized as having a direct effect on immune function and infection. Yogurt is one of the best sources of natural probiotics, also known as lactobacilli, which protect and stimulate the immune system when consumed. Only make sure you’re using plain yogurt.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate, when consumed in moderation, can be highly beneficial to one’s immunity. Its immune-boosting properties are attributed to the existence of theobromine, a potent antioxidant. It’s also worth noting that the health benefits of chocolate are only found in dark chocolate, not the sweetened milk chocolates commonly sold in stores.
- Raw Honey: Raw honey contains a variety of plant chemicals that serve as antioxidants, helping to protect cells from free radicals and cell damage. Honey is also one of the most delicious foods that help create immunity because of its high antioxidant content. Raw honey, which naturally contains an antiseptic, has also been shown in some studies to have the ability to destroy unwanted bacteria and fungus.
- Ginger: This common cooking spice helps to keep the digestive tract healthy by balancing gut bacteria. The lungs are cleansed with dried ginger. Additionally, it purifies the blood, which means that toxins can get flushed out easily from the body. Consume ginger lime juice to give your metabolism a great boost.
Stop if… you experience gastrointestinal discomfort.
Recommended per day: No more than 10 ml (two teaspoons) of fresh ginger juice or four to five grams (one teaspoon)
Although the foods mentioned above are known to improve immunity and some, such as garlic, can even help combat viruses, nutrition isn’t the only thing that influences immune health. A healthy immune system often necessitates proper sleep, rest, physical activity, and grooming, so make it a point to live a healthy lifestyle in general.
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