- Vitamin C can strengthen your immune system
- Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune response
- Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet for a strong immunity
Monsoons are here in the full bloom and while rain can make a lot of things better, it can play havoc on your immune system. This is because the damp and humid weather is a perfect environment for microbes to grow and thrive. Prevention is definitely the key to boost immunity and prevent monsoon-related illnesses like cold, flu, rashes, fever, or weakness in general. You are also more prone to bloating and indigestion during monsoons because this season can affect metabolism as well.
Here's how you can build on immunity during monsoons:
1. Vitamin C-rich foods
Vitamin C can strengthen your immune system in not just one but twenty different ways. It enhances the function of phagocytes (killer cells that fight off infectious agents). It also enhances the cellular immune response along with increasing the production of immune-boosting lymphocytes. It is found in all citrus fruits, lemon, lime, green and red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, leafy greens, and tomato.
2. The sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D or the sunshine vitamin is another essential micronutrient to boost your immune system. It can modulate the innate and adaptive immune response. A deficiency of vitamin D can make you more prone to common infections. Optimum ingestion of vitamin D is associated with a lower risk of respiratory infections and its deficiency can compromise immune functioning. To get your vitamin D include fatty fish, dairy products, and egg yolks in your diet. It is also found in mushrooms, and fortified veg/ vegan products. Don't forget to sit in the morning sun for a few minutes as it helps your body to activate Vitamin D obtained from the diet.
3. Omega- 3 fatty acids
The essential omega-3 fatty acid is not just to boost your brain and heart health, but it also plays a pivotal role in strengthening your immune response. Typically found in fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, and plant oils- it works by enhancing the activity of white blood cells that further fight off harmful bacteria/viruses. The omega-3 fatty acid can also reduce inflammation (anti-inflammatory property) thereby speeding the recovery process after you catch an infection.
4. Protein-rich foods
Although a balanced diet is what you need for a healthy immune system, but protein as a macronutrient plays a key role in determining the strength of your immune response. Important immune cells like phagocytes, lymphocytes, and cytokines are made up of protein. Arginine (a type of amino acid) can enhance the cellular immune response. Protein is also a part of antibodies that are a key component of a healthy immune system. Any infection can put your body under stress and you need optimum quantities of protein to resist infection and recover better. Protein can be obtained from various food sources like soy, dairy products, lean meat, eggs, legumes, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
5. Antioxidants-rich foods
The primary function of antioxidants is to destroy free radicals that are produced in the body during day to day activities like eating, exposure to the environment, and stress. The oxidative burst of antioxidants can also destroy certain types of bacteria and viruses. Antioxidant ingestion can significantly improve the immune system especially beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids, lycopene, selenium, and manganese. The best way to consume your antioxidants is by including various coloured foods in your diet especially fruits and vegetables.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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.