Your immune system protects you from infection-causing organisms. It comprises of a network of biological structures that destroy the invading germs. However, to carry out its functions, your immune system needs certain nutrients that assist in production of the cells and tissues that defend the body from the harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi. A diet rich in immunity-boosting foods is essential for strengthening the immune system and minimizing risk of infections. These foods are considered to be the best dietary sources of nutrients that support the normal function of the immune system. A diet deficient in foods that are known for their immune boosting effect weakens the immune system and makes you susceptible to infection. To stave off infection, add the following foods to your diet.
8 Foods That Boost Immunity
1. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits are best known for their high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is essential for the normal functioning of the immune system. Furthermore, citrus fruits contain flavonoids that are known to help in inhibiting immune malfunction.
Spinach contains antioxidant compounds that help in strengthening the immune system. It is especially known as a natural source of the antioxidants glutathione and alpha lipoic acid. Although these antioxidants are synthesized in the body, their production tends to decline with age, which is one of the causes of weakening of the immune system. Spinach also contains B vitamins, vitamin C and lutein that help in enhancing the function of the immune system.
To enhance your body’s ability to fight viral and bacterial infections, add broccoli to your diet. It is a good source of beta carotene and trace minerals such as zinc and selenium that are known for their immune boosting activity. Among the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is the best source of the carotenoid lutein that neutralizes free radicals responsible for weakening the immune system. The immune boosting property of broccoli is also attributed to a compound called diindolylmethane, which is known for its antibacterial and antiviral activities.
Carrot as a rich source of beta carotene works wonders for the immune system. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body, which assists in production of the white blood cells that fight germs. Vitamin A is also known to regulate release of immune cells in the intestines. Carrot is also a moderate source of B vitamins and vitamin C that help in immune function.
Unflavored plain yogurt is known to stimulate the immune system. Its immune boosting benefits are primarily attributed to its bacterial content. The good bacteria present in yogurt, on entering the gut, seem to induce healthy immune response. The peptides and free fatty acids present in yogurt are also believed to play a role in enhancing the immune system.
Zinc deficiency weakens the immune system. Unfortunately, this is one of the overlooked causes of poor immune function. You can increase your body’s zinc reserve by eating zinc rich oysters. Furthermore, oysters are rich in selenium, a trace mineral known for its antioxidant property that helps in strengthening the immune system.
To strengthen your immune system, add almonds to your daily diet. Almonds are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E. By staving off free radical damage, vitamin E helps in bolstering the immune system.
To build your immune system, eat apple. It is a good source of vitamin C. It also contains quercetin, an antioxidant known for its immune boosting property. Therefore, to minimize your risk of infections, eat an apple a day.