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7 Immune-Boosting Foods to Keep You Healthy
To be able protect yourself from illnesses and diseases, your body needs a strong immune system which you can get through immune-boosting foods, enough rest, and exercise. After all, your immune system serves as your body’s first line of defense. Without it, your body will succumb to the slightest exposure to bacteria, germs, and viruses.
The processes of the immune system are voluntary and you have no control over how your body protects itself. However, you can do some things to help it as it keeps you alive and healthy. Taking care of your immune system will be beneficial in the long run, especially in times of a public health crisis.
How to prepare your immune system
The thing about the human body is that you will not know when you are going to get sick unless symptoms start to show. By then, chances are, it would have already been too late. The best thing to do is to prepare your immune system and keep it at its best condition.
Among age groups, the very young and very old are more prone to getting sick. This is because their immune systems are too fragile to ward off viruses and bacteria.
A balanced diet, proper sleep, and regular exercise are key to keeping the immune system strong and body in top shape. One natural way, and probably the easiest, to attain this is to eat immune-boosting foods.
Eating the proper food to combat illness
The saying you are what you eat rings true. Food serves as your body’s source of energy and how well it functions depends on the food you consume. By eating healthy, you ramp up your body’s efforts in protecting itself from illness.
Aside from having the right balanced diet, it is also good to complement it with immune-boosting foods. More than serving as a supplement, immune-boosting foods also give you the nutrients you need to keep yourself healthy.
Truth be told, immune-boosting foods are not special and rare produce that you have to seek out. In fact, these are items that may already be sitting in your pantry or refrigerator. Some are even kitchen essentials that people use on a regular basis.
Here are seven immune-boosting foods that can help your immune system work to the fullest.
Garlic is a kitchen staple and a well-known ingredient in the culinary world. Aside from adding flavor to dishes, this herb brings a lot of benefits health-wise. In fact, garlic is a powerhouse of antioxidants and properties that are good for the body. This spice is known for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The antioxidant properties found in garlic help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. It can reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
In addition, garlic is one of the immune-boosting foods that are easiest to find. The compound found in whole garlic called alliin is responsible for this characteristic. When sliced, crushed, or chewed, alliin turns into allicin. Allicin has sulfur content that gives garlic its distinct taste and smell. The same compound bears medicinal properties that help combat illnesses and boost the immune system. Consuming garlic minimizes the chances of getting sick and reduces flu symptoms.
Chewing on raw garlic may not seem like a tasty idea but it is the best way to reap its health benefits. Nutrients and medicinal properties are often lost in cooking. If eating it raw is something you don’t see yourself doing, you can simply add crushed garlic to your salad. Two to three garlic cloves a day can already help you charge your immune system.
As a kid, you may have sulked when you parents told you to eat your broccoli. Children are encouraged to eat broccoli because it is a superfood packed with nutrients. This cruciferous vegetable belongs to the same family as other green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, turnip, and cauliflower.
Broccoli is a fat-free vegetable rich in fiber, vitamin C, and protein. It aids in digestion and lowers cholesterol by binding it with fiber. Because it does not have starch, broccoli is an ideal treat for those who are looking at losing weight.
In addition, it is known to be an immune-booster. When you eat broccoli, health compounds go to your gut and help in keeping this vital organ running. Healthy gut bacteria, in turn, leads to an improved immune system.
Much like garlic and other vegetables, broccoli is best consumed raw. You can incorporate it in your salads and wraps whether it is raw, boiled, or steamed. Choose broccoli sprouts instead of mature ones because these are said to be healthier.
When one says turmeric, the first thing that would probably come to mind would be curry. This flavorful spice is known for being one of the main ingredients of this well-loved dish. Aside from its culinary use, turmeric has been widely used as an herbal medicine in China and other countries in the East.
Some consider turmeric a wonder spice because of the health benefits it offers such as anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, to name a few. The active ingredient that makes turmeric a good herbal supplement is its curcumin. Turmeric gets its golden yellow color from this ingredient.
One unique thing about turmeric is that it has the ability to target cancer cells while sparing healthy ones. Considered as one of the immune-boosting foods, it helps modulate antibodies that defend the body from external factors such as viruses.
People take turmeric, usually in the form of tea, to calm down. This is because turmeric tea can reduce stress levels. Having a cup before heading to bed will help you get better sleep and as a result, a strengthened immune system.
Turmeric can be used as a spice but if you are not a fan of such, you may opt to have turmeric powder instead. Often taken as tea, you can make turmeric powder by boiling the turmeric herb. After which, the boiled herb is dried and crushed before it becomes ready for consumption.
Similar to garlic, ginger is one of the immune-boosting foods that you can readily find in your kitchen. This seasoning essential belongs to the same family as turmeric.
Ginger has been the go-to for sore throat because of the warm and spicy taste it brings. Not only does it help relieve sore throat but it can also take care of nausea. Its antioxidant and antimicrobial characteristics make the ginger root a hot commodity.
It is rich in potassium and manganese for disease-resistance, and chromium, magnesium and zinc for blood circulation. The magic component of the ginger root that carries its medicinal properties is the gingerol.
Reap the benefits by adding slices of raw ginger to your meal. If you are not a fan of this herb, you may have ginger tea which also does wonders.
Lemon is one of the immune-boosting foods that you may already know of. This citrus fruit is known as an excellent source of vitamin C and has natural antioxidants that charges your immune system.
When your body is exposed to stress, the level of vitamin C in your body drops. Vitamin C holds an important job as it improves the function of natural killer cells that defend your body from infection. It also takes care of helper cells called lymphocytes.
Potassium, known for being a brain function stimulant, can also be found in this fruit. Lemon also helps provide digestive enzymes in the liver.
The most common ways to consume lemon is through lemonade and enjoying the raw fruit. Freshly squeezed lemonade is a good source of nutrients and vitamins. If you enjoy the zesty taste of lemon, you may also consume it directly.
A new trend nowadays with lemon as the main ingredient is lemon water. As its name suggests, you get lemon water by submerging lemon slices in water. Lemon water can serve as a substitute to drinking water. More and more people are enjoying lemon water because it washes out toxins while keeping your body hydrated and healthy.
Another fruit added to the list of immune-boosting foods is the orange. Oranges are great sources of vitamin C. Because the body cannot produce its own vitamin C, you have to take fruits such as oranges on a regular basis.
As mentioned, vitamin C plays a significant role in our immune system because it increases the production of white blood cells that get rid of infections. It also helps in the growth and repairs of tissue. Apart from this, orange also has antioxidants, fiber, and potassium that lowers blood sugar level. Nutrients that are great for your immunity such as folate and thiamin can also be found in oranges.
People enjoy having oranges as snacks because they are inexpensive and healthy. If you would rather drink it, you can prepare natural orange juice with pulps and reap the same health effects as eating them.
They say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is partly true because you do not need a doctor when your immune system is in perfect condition. Apples are jam packed with vitamins and nutrients. Composed of fiber and natural sugars, apples are great in achieving weight loss.
The plant pigment flavonoid quercetin found in apple skin aids greatly in boosting our immune system. It also lessens inflammation and as a soluble fiber, minimizes cholesterol in the body. Also, this fruit has polyphenol antioxidants that are good for heart health.
Apples also contain pectin which feeds good bacteria in your gut. Your gut is an integral part of your immune system so taking care of it is very important.
Enjoy an apple in bites or preparing it in slices will bear the same health benefits.
Eat and sleep
While eating immune-boosting foods can help you be stronger in combatting bacteria and viruses, your body needs enough sleep to be able to function well. Why sleep is beneficial to your immune health is something you should bear in mind.
Your immune system cannot protect and defend you if it is tired. This is why you should always partner your healthy diet with enough hours of sleep.
Your immune system is very important as it keeps your body safe from bacteria and viruses. On top of your healthy diet, exercise, and sleep, you can go the extra mile and eat immune-boosting foods. You can easily find these in groceries and some may even be in your pantry already.
Always remember that to remain healthy, you need a strong immune system.
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