- Vitamin C play a crucial role in boosting immunity
- Consume small meals loaded with essential nutrients
- Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C
In the past few months, the need to build strong immunity has been given enough emphasis. A strong immune system can help you prevent and fight against diseases. Several factors can help you boost immunity including your lifestyle too. Diet is one of the major factors which affects the functioning of the immune system. A healthy diet can enhance the functioning of your immune system. While poor eating habits harm your immunity. Those trying to lose weight should also watch their diet carefully and ensure the intake of foods that assist in building immunity. Many are not aware of the diet rule one should follow for better immunity. To cover all these questions, we spoke to Dr. Pooja Sharma who is Mumbai based dietician and nutritionist. She explains the crucial role diet plays for your immune system and some diet tips.
Boost your immunity with diet
"Immunity can be defined as your body's defence system that can help fight against any harmful micro-organisms from entering the body. But your daily habits including stress, irregular sleep pattern, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can harm your immune system. Some of these poor eating habits include high intake of tea/coffee, alcohol consumption, inadequate intake of water, high consumption of fast foods/refined carbs and much more," Dr. Sharma explains.
How to boost immunity when trying to lose weight?
Whenever one talks about losing weight/following some diet pattern for nutrition they should be conscious of the quality and quantity of food. Eating right is not about having small portions; rather it is about having the right portions. One should feel energetic post-meal, not stuff and dull. So eat the right portions and after every 2 to 3 hours. Also, eat seasonal vegetables and fruits. It will help to absorb the freshness and goodness of food.
Also read: Effective ways to strengthen immune system
Important nutrients to build immunity
Three main nutrients that help to improve immunity or zinc, vitamin D and vitamin C.
Zinc: You should be consuming foods high in zinc like oyster, shellfish, cheese, legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans. However, because of phytates, the absorption of zinc is not too good. Heating, sprouting or fermenting helps to increase absorption. There is a strong link between having zinc and good immunity. For almost every single level of your immune defence zinc is needed. Nuts like peanuts, cashews and almonds also boost up your zinc intake.
Vitamin D: It has anti-inflammatory properties and is crucial for building a strong immune system. Take your vitamin D supplements if recommended by your doctor. Exposing your body to the sun at least for 10 to 15 minutes 4 days a week might also help. Some food sources include oil, salmon and fortified milk. But vitamin D only works for immunity in the presence of vitamin A. So consume carrots, mangoes, dried apricot and all yellow veggies to get vitamin A.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is very important to support a healthy immune system. Leafy vegetables, fruits, lemon, berries and amla are rich in vitamin C.
(Dr. Pooja sharma, Dietician, Nutritionist & Life Style Expert and a Patron of SeekMed)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.