With the coronavirus pandemic spreading like wildfire throughout the world, immunity and nutrition have yet again taken centre-stage for most of us. As the focus shifts from eating out to home-cooked food, from packaged to fresh, and from junk to nutritious intakes, Superfoods or immunity foods are drawing significant attention.
An immunity booster food is nothing but a natural whole food item free from any kind of processing. Unlike commercially produced health foods such as granola bars or breakfast cereals, immunity booster food is one that is naturally available. With growing awareness, these immunity foods or superfoods are easily available online or at most local groceries and the produce section of supermarkets.
Here are a few immunity booster foods that you can consume in order to keep your immune system functioning at optimal levels:
Commonly known as drumstick, moringa is one of the most potent superfoods and contains nearly 90 bioactive compounds that work towards improving the immune system. This plant also contains a wide range of both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, which give it nearly the same properties as that of a multivitamin.
Additionally, this immunity booster food is also rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, chromium, and calcium, along with a wide range of antioxidants that are designed to enhance the action of the killer white blood cells within the body. The B class of vitamins present in moringa is beneficial for increasing the energy produced by your body throughout the day and keeping you stable.
Moringa is also a natural anti-inflammatory agent which means that it works towards improving the inflammatory response of the body. Traditionally, this plant was infused with boiling water and made into tea as a way of fighting off the common cold. You can use this immunity booster food in a wide range of ways such as including it in traditional Indian dishes like sambar or even juicing it.
Commonly known as the Indian Ginseng, Ashwagandha is one of the oldest immunity foods that has been utilised in Indian medicine and culture. It contains a high reserve of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help stimulate the release of lymphocytes in the body. This primarily prevents the entry of harmful bacteria and the development of the common cold.
Consumption of superfoods like ashwagandha also causes a decrease in the markers of inflammation, such as C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which is also a marker of cardiovascular disease.
Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, Ashwagandha has also been proven to decrease oxidative stress and regulate the heart’s health by reducing bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, making it one of the most versatile food to increase immunity.
#3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a traditional food to increase immunity that carries out several essential functions such as slowing down the aging process of the body, improving digestion, boosting the body’s healing process, and controlling sugar levels. This plant contains a high reserve of important nutrients such as Vitamin B12, B1, B6, Folic acid, etc which are beneficial in reducing the oxidative stress exerted on the body due to free radicals.
Aloe vera also contains compounds such as emodin and aloin which have natural antiviral and antibacterial properties. This helps in warding off a lot of infections such as the common cold while improving both the innate and adaptive response systems of our body. You can get the best out of this food to increase immunity by making it a part of your daily diet, and also using it as a topical application.
Seasonal fruits are known for their rich antibacterial and antiviral properties. Mangoes are usually available right before the monsoon season sets in as a way to brace your body from all the potential diseases that it could contract. It is one of the most potent immunity booster fruits as it is rich in nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta carotene, Vitamin D, and even the B class of vitamins.
Mangoes are primarily rich in Vitamin A, which is useful for the production of collagen within the body. Since it cannot be synthesised on its own, the collagen obtained from external sources can help boost the regenerative properties of the skin cells and protecting the body against external damage. Additionally, the consumption of mangoes is also useful for keeping your sweet cravings at bay and meeting the recommended daily allowance of several micronutrients.
Amla is one of the most widely regarded immunity booster fruit and has been a major part of Indian tradition and medicine for a long period of time. It is the most potent source of Vitamin C and the antioxidant properties that it offers, making it the ideal choice to enhance the functioning of the immune system.
It is useful for carrying out a lot of functions like improving the flow of blood, strengthening our gums, improving the inflammatory response of the body to potential allergens, and reducing the oxidative stress exerted on the body due to the presence of free radicals.
Additionally, the consumption of amla can also reduce the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that induces stress within the body, making it one of the most effective immunity booster fruit available in the market.,
Regardless of the immunity booster foods that you are consuming, it is vital that most of your nutrition is coming from a healthy balanced diet. Make sure that you are following the guidelines for a healthy eating plate that evenly distributes your food intake among essential groups of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. By doing this, you will be making sure to consume just the right mix of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.