You are what you eat: 5 Foods for a healthy immune system

The food you eat plays a major role in determining your overall health and immunity, confirms Zarine Friend, a diet coach. She recommends eating foods rich in beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, essential vitamins, and other antioxidants to build resilience in the body against infections. Immunity stems from your gut. Gut bacteria are responsible for the production of infection-fighting T cells in our bodies. Thus, foods that improve bowel function are key to overall immunity.

1- Probiotics like yogurt, fermented foods like kimchi made from cabbage and fermented vegetables replenish gut bacteria, which is important for the absorption of nutrients by the body.

2- Turmeric, garlic, ginger and turmeric contain a compound called curcumin which when taken with black pepper enhances immune function. Garlic and ginger have powerful anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that boost the body’s immunity and the function of gut bacteria.

3- Pomegranate contains ellagitannins that help your gut grow healthy bacteria. These bacteria help improve your immune system. The high content of Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Potassium add to it the immune boosting properties.

4- Spirulina is a blue-green algae available in powder or pill form. Rich in amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins. Spirulina contains biologically active proteins that have the ability to stimulate the intestinal immune system.

5- Rich in protein, calcium, potassium, iron, chromium, magnesium, selenium and zinc and contains high levels of antioxidants. Moringa is a good source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3. The leaves contain all the essential amino acids, zinc, vitamin C and other antioxidants that can help boost the immune system. Drinking tea made from boiled Moringa flowers and leaves works great. Other everyday superfoods that include zinc is an essential mineral involved in the production of immune cells. Even low levels of zinc may reduce immunity. Foods rich in zinc are cooked beans, cashews, raisins, chickpeas, blueberries, chicken breasts, cheese, dark meats, eggs….

Foods for a healthy gut

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation

Foods rich in omega-3s are oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.

Magnesium helps in the synthesis of antibodies and the cleaning of infectious microbes from the body by attaching them to lymphocytes. Also seen in asthma and breathing difficulties, magnesium helps relax the smooth muscles of the airways and improve lung function. Foods rich in magnesium are pumpkin seeds, almonds, boiled spinach, roasted peanuts, quinoa, bananas, and avocados.

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