As an epidemic has claimed hundreds of lives, there is an immediate need to take precautions, where the key is to focus on building one’s immunity and overall health. Your immune system needs to be healthy enough to fight off viruses and germs lurking everywhere. Consuming nutrient-rich foods is a great way to keep you and your family healthy. Luckily, eating the right foods may be just the immune-system booster you need to ward off illness.
A strong immune system is your best defense against pathogens, bacteria, and carcinogens that can make you ill.
Here is a list of nutrient-rich foods and spices you can focus on to ward off illnesses.
Immunity boosting foods and spices
For a healthier immune system, nutritionists suggest at least two servings of fatty seafood, such as sardines, salmon, herring, and mackerel in your meal a week. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish and in other foods such as flaxseeds and walnuts are known to boost the immune system.
Olive oil and Coconut Oil
Monounsaturated fats in foods such as olive oil and wheat germ also protect our bodies from microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses. Interestingly, researchers have found that diets low in fat weaken the immune system and increase depression.
You can cook your food in pure cold-pressed coconut oil or even have it raw. Lauric acid and caprylic acid present in it are essential for boosting the immune system against virals.
A mineral that is abundant in meats like calf’s liver, beef, and lamb, that is zinc; works with the protein found in meat to help to strengthen the immune system. Certain types of immune cells, including white blood cells, cannot function without zinc.
Vitamin C rich foods
Indulge in leafy greens, citrus fruits like oranges, amla, vegetables like red peppers, and yellow peppers, all rich in vitamin C. This vitamin inactivates histamine, the substance responsible for your runny nose and congestion, and helps reduce the inflammation that accompanies colds and viruses. Brightly colored greens and other vegetables also contain large doses of immune-enhancing antioxidants that help fight wintertime illnesses.
So, feast on strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet potatoes – all a boon for your immune system. To enjoy your vegetables, even more, add them to soups, stews, and sauces. Or drink a glass of low-sodium tomato or vegetable juice now and then – they’re both great sources of vitamin C.
Herbs can help boost immunity. Anti-viral herbs such as oregano, tulsi, dried thyme are great for immunity and can be used in teas or curries for respiratory health including mucous problems which can become a breeding ground for bacteria and pathogens.
Nuts and Seeds
Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant present in nuts, fights respiratory infections, including colds. It boosts the responses of antibodies and certain immune system cells when we’re under stress – and who isn’t?
Here are a few nuts and seeds to snack on,
– ¼ cup of sunflower seeds have almost all the vitamin E you need daily.
– ¼ cup of almonds provides 50% of your need.
– Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral that works with vitamin E to boost wintertime defenses.
Both onions and garlic contain compounds that are fantastic immunity-cell boosters, called natural killer cells and T-helper cells. While onions and garlic are powerful anti-virals, they’re also helping defend you from cancer and heart disease.Star anise and ginger make a good concoction of immunity-boosting spices. The flower-shaped spice contains shikimic acid that is used as a base material for the production of Tamiflu, which is used for the influenza virus. It is super powerful as an anti-viral. Take star anise and boil it in water and add it to your teas like green tea or black tea. Or take mashed ginger and star anise, and make a concoction by adding little raw, unpasteurized honey.
Dehydration can lower your defenses. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water and other fluids every day. And if you’re already sick, double that.
All these dietary changes should also be coupled with good exercise and proper sleep.