4 Immune-Boosting Food You Should Consider for Your Diet
Want to improve your body’s immune function? There is definitely no better place to start than with your diet. When you eat nutrient-dense food, like fresh fruit and vegetables, you provide your body with what it needs to function well. Your immune system is able to defend your body against “invaders” like bacteria and viruses that can make you sick.
There are many well-known nutrient-rich foods, and here are some underrated gems you should include in your diet.
Cauliflower: Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons automatically come into mind when vitamin C is mentioned, so you might be surprised to learn that cauliflower is a good source, too. One cup (about 100 g) of cauliflower contains 27.5 calories, 53 mg of vitamin C as ascorbic acid.
Vitamin C is practically synonymous with improved immune system health. This well-known vitamin helps fight oxidative stress and inflammation in your body, target free radicals, reduce infection risk, and encourage wound healing, among many other benefits.
If you plan on eating more cauliflower for vitamin C, be careful of how you cook it. It may be beneficial if you eat it raw, blanched or lightly heated only. One study showed that this vegetable’s vitamin C content was reduced after it was boiled, steamed, or placed in the microwave.
Fatty fish: Repeated research has highlighted that fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming food rich in healthy fats can be beneficial as it contributes to the health of your heart, brain, eyes, joints, and skin. These healthy fats may also help boost your mood.
However, omega-3 fatty acids are mainly praised for their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects. Omega-3 fatty acids are said to be helpful for people diagnosed with lupus, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Even if you are not diagnosed with any of these diseases though, omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammatory markers in the body, and assist with improved immune system health.
Turmeric: This spice, sometimes called Indian saffron or golden spice, will not just add brightness and flavor to food, but helps improve immune health too. Turmeric’s immune-boosting effects can be linked to plant compounds called curcuminoids, the most prominent of which is curcumin that has been shown in studies to exhibit antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Turmeric is a great addition to chicken marinades or rice. You can also add it to milk or combine with a few tablespoons of honey for a possible tonic. You may also look into turmeric tea blends at a store near you.
Green tea: While tea of various colors and flavors have been linked to various health benefits, green tea has been lauded for its potential benefits to immune health. For starters, sipping some green tea may protect your body against oxidative stress and free radicals.
The polyphenols or compounds found in green tea may be responsible for its health-boosting benefits, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This class of plant compounds has been linked to antioxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects, and have been shown to reduce risks for autoimmune diseases.
With these potential choices, together with other nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, you can make the needed leap towards improved health. Hopefully this list gives you another set of options to choose from!
Aside from eating a balanced diet, remember to include exercise in your daily routine. Regular physical activity helps with burning calories, maintaining ideal weight and making sure that various processes within the body (including the immune system) function efficiently. On top of a balanced diet and exercise, you may support your daily nutrition with immune-boosting supplements such as ascorbic acid or curcumin supplements.