20 superfoods that can help boost immunity
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
July 10, 2020
Staying in the pink of health is easier said than done and goes beyond the common tips you’ll find on the internet. Things like exercising daily and giving up unhealthy habits like consumption of fast food or excess alcohol are all good suggestions, but aren’t enough to boost your body’s natural resistance. To keep diseases at bay and improve overall health, it is essential that you build your immunity. Thankfully, with good, nutritionally dense food, this is easy to achieve and can help you inculcate healthy eating habits too.
Typically, eating well means combining the right macronutrients with other essential requirements for the human body. This is where ‘superfoods’ come into play. These are foods that are rich in essential nutrients. As such, they protect you from infections by bolstering your immune system.
To stay healthy naturally, here’s a list of superfoods that you should add you to your daily diet.
- Citrus fruits: Oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits have a high content of vitamin C. Arguably the richest source of Vitamin C, these are essential for boosting your immunity. These fruit are known to help with the production of white blood cells. Remember that the human body doesn’t naturally produce or retain vitamin C, and so, you should consume it on a daily basis to keep your immunity in check. Typically around 90mg and 75mg per day is recommended for men and women respectively.
- Broccoli: This vegetable is an adequate source of vitamins C, E, and A, minerals and fibre. These, in combination with other minerals, make broccoli one of the healthiest foods you can consume. It is also rich in antioxidants, which helps keep inflammation in check.
- Garlic: Widely known for its ability to fight off infections, garlic has several immunity-boosting properties too. In fact, it can help keep arteries from hardening and also lower blood pressure in some cases. However, there is very little scientific evidence for the latter. In any case, garlic should be a regular part of your diet.
- Ginger: Ginger is a medicinal root that reduces chronic pain and inflammation. It may even have cholesterol-lowering properties that can help keep you healthy for longer.
- Gooseberry/ Amla: Rich in micronutrients and antioxidants, Amla plays a vital role in boosting the body’s immune system.
- Spinach: Without a doubt, spinach is a superfood that helps build a strong immune system. It is rich in vitamin C, beta carotene and antioxidants. These aid the immune system in fighting off infections.
- Sweet Potato: At just 100 calories, a single sweet potato provides the body with 30% of Vitamin C and 120% of vitamin A of its daily recommended value.
- Yogurt: The essential probiotics or the ‘good’ bacteria in yoghurt ensure optimal stimulation of the immune system. It contains a healthy amount of vitamin D too!
- Turmeric: This root is known for its healing effects and anti-inflammatory properties. Besides being an immunity booster, turmeric has anti-viral properties as well. Drink some golden milk, which is essentially warm milk with a teaspoon of turmeric to enjoy the plethora of its benefits.
- Green tea: Loaded with antioxidants, even just as much as a cup of green tea every morning can help you reap benefits. Known as the health-promoting beverage, green tea can prevent cellular damage. You can also have it with honey, if you prefer it sweeter.
- Red bell peppers: These are a rich source of beta carotene and have almost 3 times as much vitamin C as regular oranges. Naturally, given the importance of vitamin C, you should definitely add them to your diet.
- Almonds: Vitamin C requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Almonds contain healthy fats that help in vitamin absorption. In addition to that, almonds are rich in vitamin E.
- Button mushrooms: Packed with selenium and the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, button mushrooms help build a healthy immunity.
- Watermelon: A refreshingly tasty way to get healthier, a ripe watermelon is full of an antioxidant called glutathione (especially near the ripe part of the rind) that strengthens the immune system to fight infections.
- Sunflower Seeds: Full of nutrients like magnesium, phosphorous and vitamins E and B-6, sunflower seeds have the potential to combat viral infections effectively. They also contain a high amount of selenium.
- Papaya: This fruit has a decent amount of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and folate, which are proven to benefit overall health.
- Raw Honey: Honey is an antibacterial and kills germs in the body that can cause sickness. A glass of warm water with a teaspoon of honey in the morning does wonders for skin and gut health. It is rich in calcium, iron and magnesium with several medicinal properties too.
- Chicken / Turkey: If you are a non-vegetarian, poultry such as chicken lowers inflammation and is high in vitamin B-6 which helps in formation of red blood cells.
- Egg: Especially with regards to the yolk, an egg is packed with immunity-boosting nutrients such as vitamin D, which is vital in regulating and strengthening immunity.
- Shellfish: Seafood such as oysters, crab, lobster, mussels contain high levels of zinc that help in nutrient absorption. However, consumption of zinc over the recommended amount has side effects, so you shouldn’t exceed 11mg and 8mg for men and women respectively.
Eating superfoods is definitely the first step in the right direction towards building your immunity and staying healthier. While you can always take supplements to get required nutrients and minerals, consuming the right foods is a more natural and controlled option. However, do remember that even the healthiest foods must be consumed in smart quantities. Overdoing any can have adverse outcomes. With a dietician to guide you, this is easily avoided and you can find the best one near you using the Bajaj Finserv Health App.
This app simplifies your access to healthcare and even allows you to make the most of telemedicine. With it, you can find top specialists in your area and book appointments at their clinics online. To add to that, you can skip a physical visit altogether and consult with doctors virtually over video. Remote care saves you both time and money, adding much-needed convenience to quality healthcare. To avail these benefits and much more, download the Bajaj Finserv Health App today on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.