The immune system is your body’s internal defense systems which help your body to fight against foreign invaders. Foreign invaders can be any type of germs such as viruses, bacteria, parasites etc which is harmful for your body.
The main purpose of our immune system is to protect our body from viruses and bacteria, and without it germs are free to attack and we will fall sick.
Immune system works by recognizing the difference between body cell and alien cell, and then strategically killing the alien cells.
If the body has already fought against a particular type of Bacteria or Virus, it usually knows how to fight back again and usually differs from person to person.
If this is the case, then we say that a person has immunity against a particular disease.
Due to recent Coronavirus outbreak there has been a rise in people searching for health advice on boosting your immune system. While we encourage people to keep a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy diet, please do not fall for advice on using health supplements to improve your immune system as there are no strong evidences suggesting it.
A person with strong immune system is less likely to get sick as compared to a person with weak immune system. A weak immune system can mean many things, its ability to identify foreign cells or ability to kill the foreign cells etc.
If you have a weak immune system then maybe your body is not be able to recognize foreign cells or not able to resist or fight back properly and hence you may get sick or get badly infected.
However, the more strong an immune system is, you have more chances to resist the disease or even if you do get sick you may not be badly infected and be able to recover more quicker than anyone else.
There are multiple reasons which may impact your immune system such as your lifestyle, your eating habits and many times it could be hereditary. Ageing is also an important factor behind weak immune system.
A study showed how immune system gets weaker as you age and therefore you must be very careful about yourself.
A person can be born with strong immune system or with a weak immune system but this does not mean that you cannot improve your immune system.
Healthy immune system is dependent on various factors and healthy eating is just one of them.
There are few simple steps which can help you to boost your immune system naturally by making small changes to your everyday life.
Though research is still being conducted and it is debatable but there are certain foods that help you boost your immune system and can keep you healthy for long. Let us discuss some of them here.
Ginger is known to have many properties such as anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation. From ancient times ginger is used in many forms – as a medicine or and is widely used in many food recipes.
In Asian culture, use of Ginger, Garlic and similar items is extensively used in many food recipes.
Ginger is a well-known treatment for common cough and cold due to its anti-microbial properties.
Recent science researches also proves that Ginger can helps to boost the immune system.
Ginger can be consume in multiple ways and the most common way apart from being used in traditional food dishes is Ginger tea.
Ginger tea is very common during winter as it keeps your body warm and helps build immunity against common cold.
It is one of the staple drink during winters in many household in Indian subcontinent.
We advice not to make any drastic changes to your diet while trying to improve your immune system as this may have effects otherwise.
Ginger can be used in many other drinks and smoothies to enhance its flavour. Ginger gives an added flavor if you add it in your food while preparation.
Due to its warm nature Ginger is mostly consume during winter to protect you from seasonal cough, cold and flu.
The benefit of garlic to health have been proclaimed for centuries. Recent studies shows that garlic have Allium Sativum and its derivatives which helps for maintaining the homeostasis of the immune system.
Garlic can be consumed in many form and most common way is it being used in cooking.
Though ginger helps you to protect you from day to day sickness but it better helps during winter in cough, cold and flu.
In many traditional Indian dishes Garlic and Ginger form the base ingredients of many tasty recipes.
Citrus fruits are good source of Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid (AA) which helps in building up your immune system.
Since humans do not have the ability to synthesize Vitamin C hence they need to obtain it from their diet.
As per some studies conducted, it was found that Ascorbic Acid has positive influence on lymphocytes (white blood cells) development and function.
Vitamin C plays and important role in lowering risk of hypertension, heart diseases and stroke. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant.
Including citrus fruit in your regular diet also helps absorption of vitamins and nutrients from your food.
Apart from Citrus fruits, Red Bell Pepper is also a good source of Vitamin C.
A good immune system may improve your chances of not contracting minor infections easily however it is not a silver bullet especially against Coronavirus or any major disease.
Almonds are good source of fiber, protein and Vitamin E.
In limited quantity they should form essential part of your diet as they helps improve your immune system.
Vitamin E also helps maintain healthy skin and eyes.
An adult men requires 4 mg of Vitamin E a day while for woman it is 3 mg a day.
Vitamin E need to be a part of your diet however since excess Vitamin E can get stored in your body hence you may not need to have it everyday.
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable which is rich in many Vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Iron, Magnesium etc. Among kids eating Spinach is mostly popular due to the cartoon series “The Popeye Show” where the character is believed to get super strength by eating a tin of Spinach. Though, this would be a bit exaggeration of the benefits offered by the vegetable.
Dark green leafy vegetables such as Spinach are also high in nitrates and some studies in the effect of nitrates on human health suggest that nitrates consumed from vegetables may offer health benefits especially cardiovascular systems.
Though it also suggests that high amount of nitrates may also have adverse effects on human health.
As per general practice, Doctors often encourage pregnant ladies to include green leafy vegetables in their diet due to its health benefits.
- Physical fitness is equally important to boost immunity – Check why physical fitness is important for your health
Yogurt aka Curd is an active part of diet in several cultures mainly Asian and Middle east. It is a popular dairy product which is made by bacterial fermentation of milk.
The bacteria used to make yogurt is also called yogurt culture which ferments lactose (a natural sugar) found in the milk. The production of lactic acid gives the yogurt its flavour and texture.
Many food brands have their yogurt options available in the market however most of them have added Sugar for better taste. These yogurt are not helpful due to excess Sugar content.
Yogurt is prepared from using yogurt culture with hot milk and keeping at warm temperature. Yogurt is full of nutrients and a 100 gm yogurt has approx 9% protein and 100 mg Calcium.
It is also a good source of other Vitamins such as Vitamin B2, Vitamin B12 and minerals such as Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium and Zinc.
Limited studies have been conducted which confirm health benefits of fermented food such as yogurt, wine etc due to living microorganism present in them.
Other studies in this area suggest health benefits of dietary yogurt on human gastrointestinal tract.
Studies suggest that yogurt may be helpful in various disease conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, irritable bowl syndrome etc.
Yogurt is also used as a side dish in cuisines from Indian subcontinent. There are variety of yogurt dishes such as – Cucumber Raita, Boondi Raita, Pineapple Raita which are healthy and easy to prepare at home.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice which is an integral part of Asian cuisine and is grown throughout India.
Historically turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicines for many conditions such as breathing problems, rheumatism, serious pain etc.
Turmeric is used a dietary supplement for inflammation, arthritis, stomach, skin, liver and gall bladder problems, cancer and other conditions. This is due to a phytochemical – Curcumin present in Turmeric.
Turmeric and Sandalwood paste is also used as natural remedies and is acknowledged in Ayurveda for beautiful and healthy skin.
Due to multiple health benefits observed from Turmeric in various studies it is advised to consume it by adding it into food items while cooking. It adds extra flavour to lentils, rice dishes, chicken and fish.
The above mentioned list is not exhaustive and there are many other foods such as Chicken, Eggs, Mushroom, Kiwi etc who offer great health benefits.
Though, healthy diet contributes in keeping away diseases and building a strong immune system it is recommended to keep a balanced diet and not enough of anyone thing.
There may be certain health conditions specific to you which may not give you similar results as to other people. Hence, you must see what is good for you and not what may had been good for someone else.
If you are making changes to your diet, we recommend to consult your Doctor or Medical health practitioner / expert before making the changes. They will be able to advise you based on any underlying health conditions that you may have.
You must also keep a track of any specific allergies as your body may react to certain food differently. This information must be disclosed to your doctor so they can plan accordingly.