In the current pandemic, “How to strengthen the immune system?” “What are immunity-boosting foods?” “How to improve immunity?” “Foods that help you boost your immune system?” are some of the most searched queries. There are many ways to boost your immunity naturally or by supplements. Here are some immunity boosters you should include in your daily diet.
1. Eating the right food
Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is one of the most important things to boost your immunity. Try to include whole foods, fruits in your diet, and avoid taking a large amount of salt, sugar, or processed foods.
Nutrients are an essential part of building a healthy immune system. A good healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein is a good source of most of these nutrients. Supplements can be included as per the advice of your doctor to fill any nutritional gap.
Vitamin A: It is a powerful antioxidant and acts as a natural defence against illness and infection.
Source: Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and squash.
Vitamin C: It is an antioxidant that fights against free radicals in the body.
Source: Citrus fruits (like orange, lemon), leafy green vegetables, strawberries, carrots, bell peppers and many more fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D protects you from a number of health problems and it keeps your teeth, bones, and muscles healthy. The body creates vitamin D from sunlight on the skin when outdoors, but you may need a supplement to fulfil the requirement.
Vitamin E: Antioxidant that fights infections in the body.
Source: Spinach, almonds, peanuts, broccoli, and hazelnuts.
Folate (folic acid): It helps the body form healthy red blood cells. Folic acid deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system. Folate reduces the risk of unusual birth defects such as spina bifida in unborn babies.
Source: Beans, peas, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
Iron: Iron forms an important part of haemoglobin that absorbs oxygen and carries it in the blood to take it to the rest of the body.
Source: Beans, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals, soybean flour, and dried fruit.
Zinc: It helps to control inflammation in the body.
Engaging your body with regular exercise daily or 3-4 days a week can strengthen your immune system. Other than this, it also helps you sleep better and reduces your stress levels.
3. Get Quality Sleep
When you sleep, your body produces proteins called cytokines, which fight against infection and inflammation. So, not getting enough sleep will impact the immune system. If throughout the day your body is feeling fatigued then probably you aren’t getting enough sleep.
4. Manage stress
There is a wide body of research that links stress levels with immune function.
When we’re stressed, the immune system doesn’t function as well. That’s because stress causes the body to release hormones, such as adrenaline, dopamine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, which can decrease the body’s ability to make lymphocytes — the white blood cells that help fight off harmful viruses or bacteria.
Some activities that help alleviate stress include meditation, yoga, and grounding techniques like mindful breathing.
5. Drink plenty of water
To function properly, your immune system relies heavily on the nutrients in your bloodstream, which mostly consists of water. Without water, the cells and tissues of your immune system don’t receive the nutrients they need. Your immune system also relies on water to flush out germs and waste materials.
You can make several lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system. These include reducing your sugar intake, staying hydrated, working out regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing your stress levels.