The best topic of these days, namely Coronavirus, not only has affected the way people live around the world but also has caused people to have a new perspective about their physical health. Accordingly, the immune system, as the first and most important defense barrier against this disease, has received more attention. Now, people care more about their immune system and seek ways to strengthen it. That is why we decided to discuss the most important healthy foods for the immune system in the following.
1. Vitamin C containing foods
Most people search for foods rich in vitamin C to prevent or treat the common colds and often get good results from consuming such foods. This happens because vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, playing an important role in fighting a variety of infections in the body. It is worth noting that in addition to boosting the immune system, vitamin C can also help the skin to stay fresh and clear.
The human body is not able to produce and store vitamin C, so it is necessary to consume fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C daily. Citrus fruits are important sources of vitamin C, including grapefruit, sweet lemons, sour lemons, oranges, and tangerines. However, you should not assume that citrus fruits contain the highest amount of vitamin C among the fruits and vegetables, since each gram of sweet pepper has twice as much vitamin C as an orange. Besides, Brassicaceae family plants, including Chinese cabbage and broccoli, contain significant amounts of vitamin C. Kiwi, strawberry, cantaloupe, pineapple, and tomato are other sources of this valuable vitamin.
Note that vitamin C is rapidly depleted by exposure to air or heat; so, avoid fruits and vegetables that have been stored for a long time or have been over-cooked or grilled.
2. The favorite of Popeye the sailor man
Spinach can boost the body’s immune system because of its nutritional and antioxidant content. Spinach contains flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which help the immune system to work powerfully. Researches have shown that flavonoids help prevent colds in healthy people; hence, it seems that they can play a role in the immune system improvement.
In traditional medicine, garlic is considered as a herbal remedy for the prevention of colds and respiratory diseases. Garlic contains beneficial compounds, such as allicin, ajoene, and thiosulfate, helping the body to resist different diseases. The garlic compounds are so effective that consuming raw garlic juice is reported to be as effective as Neosporin in disinfecting the wounds.
4. Healthy oils
Among healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids are the most popular. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids, constituting the membrane of immune cells, as well as regulating cellular membrane properties. Tuna and salmon fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium, and protein, which are useful for strengthening the immune system.
The good fats that were found in olive oil have made it a healthy food for the immune system. Such oils can improve the immune system’s response to pathogens by reducing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a natural response to stress or injury, but chronic inflammation can suppress the immune system.
5. Dark chocolate
The presence of an antioxidant called theobromine in dark chocolate has made this delicious food as one of the beneficial foods to boost the immune system. Theobromine can help the immune system by protecting the body’s cells against free radicals. Also, the polyphenolic compounds of dark chocolate can improve the blood flow in the body, which helps the stored fats to burn. Therefore, you can include it in your diet and fitness plan safely.
6. Green tea
Black tea and green tea both contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants, so both are considered as healthy foods for the immune system. Of course, green tea contains large amounts of Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is another powerful antioxidant. The fermentation process in the production of black tea removes a large amount of EGCG, while green tea retains its EGCG due to the lack of fermentation. EGCG strengthens the immune system by its antioxidant properties.
7. Foods with vitamin D
Several studies have shown that vitamin D plays an important role in the proliferation and differentiation of immune cells and regulates the immune system responses. Such effects had made it effective in preventing respiratory infections. That is why vitamin D is always prescribed to avoid coronavirus infection.
The fish with a high amount of fats such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and common kilka, as well as milk, yogurt, and cereals are rich in vitamin D. Eggs, mushrooms and shrimp are also significant sources of this vitamin. It should be noted that sunlight has a great effect on the production of vitamin D in the human body, so daily nourishment of the skin with the sunlight for 20 minutes can be very helpful.
8. Foods rich in vitamin E
Vitamin E eliminates free radicals. Free radicals are the molecules produced as a result of food break down in the body or of being exposed to contaminants. Free radicals damage the body’s cells and can lead to various diseases.
Sunflower seeds are a delicious source of vitamin E, used directly as nuts or indirectly in the form of its oil. Another great source of vitamin E is almond. Almond also contains manganese, magnesium, and fiber, making it a valuable nut. A handful or a quarter of one cup of almonds can affect the immune system positively. Seafood such as salmon and trout can also help you receive the daily need of vitamin E.
9. Blue, purple, and red foods
Blue, purple or red colors of fruits or vegetables are the result of a pigment called anthocyanin, which is a powerful intioxidant neutralizing free radicals in the body. Anthocyanin not only empowers the immune system but also protects the body against cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurological disorders. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and black grapes are among the most significant sources of anthocyanin.
Fresh fruits and vegetables together with seafood are the best healthy foods for the immune system. But you should always consider a proper balance of different foods in your diet and avoid over consuming one type because a variety of foods are needed to meet the different needs of the body. To get the best results, try to buy your foods organic. Organic foods have higher amount of nutritional minerals and antioxidants compared to inorganic ones and keep you healthy without exposing you to the residues of chemicals, pesticides and other synthetic preservers.
These foods that we are discussing here are but few of the many HAPPY FOODS that greatly boost the immune system. Happy foods chase away stress and replaces gloomy, frowning face with SMILE.
Keep smiling as you impart your thoughts, leave your comment and join the discussion.
God bless you and stay safe,