During the COVID-19 pandemic, you must have heard a lot about developing healthy eating habits, increasing your vitamin C intake, and swapping processed foods with natural items. It goes without saying that what you eat and drink can affect your body’s natural ability to fight viruses and recover from infections. While nothing you consume can prevent or cure the coronavirus infection, you must focus on eating foods that boost the immune system along with social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing and sanitizing your hands.
We’ve prepared this food guide to help you eat a healthy, balanced diet this year and beyond.
List of Foods That Boost the Immune System
From today onward, plan your meals to include the following immune-boosting foods to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
1. Citrus Fruits
Ever wondered why people take vitamin C after catching a cold? That’s because it helps strengthen the immune system. It promotes the production of white blood cells in the body, which are important immune system cells that fight against infections and foreign bodies.
A 2017 study conducted on children revealed that 1000 mg consumption of vitamin C per day reduced the cold duration by 8%. This implies that vitamin C can help you fight illnesses.
One of the best ways to consume vitamin C is by eating citrus fruits. They are insanely high in vitamin C, and the best thing is that you get a variety of options to choose from. These include:
It’s crucial to note that your body can’t produce or store vitamin C. This means that you need to consume it on a daily basis to meet your dietary requirements. For adults, the recommended daily amount is:
- 90 mg for men
- 75 mg for women
If you want to take vitamin C supplements, you shouldn’t take more than 2000 mg a day.
Broccoli is one of the most nutritious foods that boost the immune system. Rich in vitamins A, C, and E along with fibre and other antioxidants, this vegetable is one of the healthiest things you can have on your plate.
The secret to keeping all its vitamins and minerals intact is to cook it as little as possible or not at all.
Spinach is not only packed with vitamin C but also contains powerful antioxidants and other nutrients. These include:
- Vitamin E
- Beta carotene
All these nutrients work together to help the immune system fight against infections and diseases.
As with broccoli, spinach should be cooked as little as possible to retain maximum nutrients. Light cooking allows your body to absorb vitamin A better and causes oxalic acid to release other essential nutrients.
Garlic is a staple in kitchens across the world. It adds a unique taste to food and is incredibly beneficial for your health.
Garlic is packed with compounds that help boost the immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight germs. Thanks to its heavy concentration of sulphur-containing compounds, like allicin, it has helped treat the common cold and other illnesses for years.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study investigated the role of garlic supplements in treating the common cold. It involved 146 healthy participants who were either given a garlic supplement or placebo for three months. The results showed that those who received the supplements had a 63% lower risk of catching a cold. Their colds were also 70% shorter than the other group.
Since ginger has excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s also on our list of foods that boost the immune system.
People often turn to ginger when sick to reduce inflammation and treat nausea, sore throat, and inflammatory illnesses. In some cases, it may be used to alleviate chronic pain and lower cholesterol levels.
To enjoy the health benefits of ginger, you can add it to a variety of dishes, desserts, as well as in teas.
In the wonderful world of vitamins, vitamin C is not the only key to a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that works wonders when it comes to preventing and treating colds.
This fat-soluble vitamin requires fat for proper absorption. This is where nuts, such as almonds, come in. They are an excellent source of the vitamin and also have the required healthy fats. Apart from vitamin E, almonds are rich in fibre, magnesium, and manganese.
On a daily basis, you must consume about 15 mg of vitamin E. A half-cup or a handful of almonds makes for a healthy snack that promotes your immune function.
7. Red Bell Peppers
It’s a common misconception that citrus fruits contain the highest amount of vitamin C out of all fruits and vegetables. You may be surprised to hear that red bell peppers have almost three times as much vitamin C as orange.
Red bell peppers are the perfect alternative for people concerned about the sugar content in fruits. According to a paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, red bell peppers are a vital part of a healthy quarantine diet, thanks to their vitamin A and C content.
The best way to cook red bell peppers is by roasting or stir-frying to preserve their nutritional content.
Papaya is also one of the best foods that boost the immune system. It is loaded with vitamin C. You can actually find double the recommended daily amount in a single, medium-sized fruit. It also contains a digestive enzyme called papain that has great anti-inflammatory properties.
Apart from this, papayas have significant amounts of:
All these nutrients are essential for your health and help keep your immune system working at optimal levels.
As long as preventing the coronavirus infection is concerned, eating right is a great start. Now that you have a list of foods that boost the immune system, get ready to add more variety to your daily diet and keep infections at bay!
Make sure that you stay on top of the serving sizes and the recommended daily intake to ensure that you consume all the vitamins and minerals in the right amount. Moreover, it’s best that you avoid going out as much as possible, even if it’s for grocery shopping, to keep yourself and your family safe.
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