The immune system is the body’s natural defense mechanism which wards off infections and viruses. It keeps infectious microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses out of the body. Eating certain foods can help build immunity. This winter try adding a few of the following superfoods to fight cold and flu better.
- Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C increases your body’s ability to produce white blood cells which is why most people add it to their diet when they catch a cold. Most popular citrus fruits include clementines, lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit and tangerines. Since your body does not store vitamin C it is important to get a daily intake of it for improved health. Simply eat an entire fruit or add a dash of it for zest to your meals.
- Red Bell Peppers
Did you know red bell pepper contains twice the amount of vitamin C than citrus fruits? They are also a vital source of beta carotene, which is excellent for the eyes and skin.
This green veggie is a rich source of vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants, fiber and minerals. The key is to cook it as little as possible or not at all to reap the full benefits of this vegetable.
Garlic adds instant taste to any meal. It contains infection-fighting properties, lowers blood pressure and slows down hardening of the arteries. The concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin makes garlic a potent immune booster.
Ginger helps reduce inflammation and nausea. It further contains inflammatory properties which can help reduce chronic pain, cholesterol and sore throat.
This delicious vegetable is a rich source of vitamin C, antioxidants and beta carotene which enables you to fight off infections. It is best when cooked as little as possible. Overcooking can lose its nutrients. On the other hand, light cooking enhances its vitamin A content and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
Not all yogurts are made equal; some are more beneficial than others such as ones with “live and active cultures” printed on the label, such as Greek yogurt. It is these cultures that stimulate your immune system’s abilities to fight off diseases. It is further an excellent source for Vitamin D which helps improve the immune system. Choose plain yogurts, rather than heavily sweetened kind overloaded with sugar.
Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is loaded with vitamin B-6 which is vital for the formation of red blood cells. Broth made by boiling chicken bones contains chondroitin, gelatin and other nutrients which are helpful for immunity and gut healing, that explains why drinking soup always makes one feel better.
- Green Tea
This herbal tea is rich in flavonoids which are antioxidants. Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which promotes immune functionality. Since black tea goes through a fermentation process which destroys EGCG, Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed which enables it to preserve its essential properties. It further contains amino acid L-theanine which helps in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
This delicious fruit is a vital source of vitamin C and digestive enzymes called papain which have anti-inflammatory effects. They are further rich in potassium, B vitamins and folate which improve your overall health.