- A healthy diet can help you boost immunity
- Sweet potatoes are rich fibre and can keep your gut healthy
- A strong immune system can protect you against diseases
Building a strong immune system is not a one or two day process. Immunity is built overtime. Your food habits and the kind of lifestyle you choose determine your immunity. The choice of foods, activity levels, quality of sleep, emotional hygiene - all of it can either make or break your immunity. In specific to food and nutrition, the role of vitamins and minerals is huge in boosting immunity. With so many chasing multivitamins, expensive exotic foods and supplements to help safeguard from infections, it's worthwhile to look at what inexpensive vitamin rich foods nature has already given us and start to use them to our benefit.
Here are 5 vitamin-rich foods that will help boost immunity
Amla or gooseberry is local and is known to be brimming with Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and immunity boosting vitamin. Vitamin C helps enhance the antibody response and white blood cell function. Also being rich in antioxidants, amla can help manage the oxidative stress and free radicals generated due to infections.
It is a common ingredient in most Ayurvedic preparations and a primary ingredient in an ancient herbal preparation called Chyawanprash, which is itself an effective immunity booster that may help prevent infections.
Uses - Pickle, chutney, juice, candy, murabba
You will be surprised to know that moringa contains as many as 90 bioactive compounds, and almost every vitamin and mineral, making it nothing less than a powerful natural multivitamin. It is abundant in protein, calcium, potassium, iron, chromium, magnesium, selenium, zinc and contains high levels of antioxidants. Moringa is a good source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3. It also helps to boost cellular energy and thus works as a great energy booster.
Moringa is a powerful immunity booster. It is found that the leaves of moringa contain all the essential amino acids, zinc, vitamin C and other antioxidants that can help boost the immune system. You can also try drinking a tea made from boiling moringa flowers in water as a remedy for cold.
Uses - Curries, soup, stuffing, sambhar, dried powder, juice
3. Sweet potato
This inexpensive and easily available sweet carb is also a superfood for immunity. They are a rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, B7 and anthocyanins play an important role in boosting your immunity and boosting heart health.
Apart from that, being rich in fibre, they are good for microbiome of the gut. Fibre and antioxidants in sweet potatoes can repopulate microbiome of gut and also improves gut health.
Use - Soup, stuffings in parathas or sandwich, boiled and eaten as it is or mashed potatoes.
Every seasonal fruit has its own properties. The nature offers warming foods in winter, cooling foods in summer and immunity boosting foods in monsoon. Mangoes come at a time while transitioning from summers to monsoons, only to safeguard from the upcoming monsoon menace.
Apart from being a Vitamin C rich fruit, micronutrients include vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, Vitamin D, most B vitamins (excluding Vitamin B12).
Additionally, the Vitamin A and vitamin C present in mangoes play an essential role in the production of collagen, which is a protein that is necessary for keeping the skin cells healthy. It helps to protect the body's connective tissues and the blood vessels, thereby enhancing the glow of the skin, triggering elasticity and slowing down the natural aging process.
Uses - Best relished as a whole fruit, and not juiced or pureed. In case its raw mangoes, then aam panna, chutneys, to add tartness in dals and curries.
Often disregarded as a boring vegetable, pumpkin or kaddu is an incredibly rich source of antioxidants, Vitamin A, C and E, which are also the top immunity boosting vitamins. Vitamin A is a highly anti-inflammatory vitamin because of its critical role in enhancing immune function.
Uses - Pumpkin soup, vegetable, curry, puree, stir fry's
Also read: Pumpkin Seeds: 7 Amazing Health Benefits
Note: None of these foods are a replacement for any medication or doctors' prescriptions. If you are allergic to any of the above mentioned food, it is best avoided. Eat healthy and follow an active lifestyle to keep your immune system strong.
(Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach - Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine)
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