Healthy Immune System

11 Foods and Spices For a Healthy Immune System

Our immune system is a network of tissues, cells, and proteins that helps in defending the body against critical infections. It builds immunity with the germs the body meets and keeps a record of it to defeat it next time whenever it tries to infect the body again. The immune system helps detect the difference between the body’s healthy cells and the cells that are being affected by some external microbes to easily identify and kill those cells which are affected by pathogens i.e., viruses and bacteria.

We must adapt the diet that is necessary to strengthen the immune response of our body. There are many immune system foods and spices that we need to add to our daily routine.

1. Green Tea

Green tea contains a little amount of caffeine so it’s a better choice than the types of tea having caffeine like black tea or coffee. The benefits of green tea for the immune system include the protection against free radicals and oxidants. Drinking green tea helps reduce the risk of cold as it contains flavonoids. A cup of green tea is one of the sources of probiotics and probiotic foods have the ability to improve gut health.

Green tea is also among the immune system foods for covid.

2. Black Pepper

Black pepper is used and equally loved everywhere. This spice is sometimes referred to as “black gold” and is the most traded spice in the world. Black pepper helps protect the body against free radicals, inflammation, premature aging, and heart disease. Its usage is considered very good in cancer treatment.

3. Saffron

Saffron, the most expensive spice and the most flavorful, colorful, full of taste and healthy spice It improves sleep patterns, respiratory health, and drinking it in warm milk helps eliminate the pain. The best and high-quality saffron is Persian saffron and a little sprinkle of high-quality saffron in your food daily boosts your immune system, releases anxiety, and protects your heart.

4. Turmeric

A yellow-mustard-colored spice that Asian people especially the Indo-Pak region use regularly in food that eventually lowers the chances of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Turmeric also helps in boosting immunity and the compound called curcumin helps treat inflammation and reduce antioxidants.

5. Ginger

The origin of Ginger is the countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Borneo in Maritime Southeast Asia. Through trade routes of Europe, it was regularly consumed by Romans and Greeks. Now it is being used in almost every country, especially in South Asia.

Ginger is often used in making ginger tea and flavors of other drinks and dishes. But the nutritional value of ginger is noticeable as it contains the most versions of Vitamin B. Ginger can relieve nausea and flu. It also reduces muscular pain, treats chronic indigestion, and lowers blood sugar levels.

6. Garlic

Garlic is a strong source of a healthy immune system. It prevents colds, flu, and other illnesses. Garlic supplements are also available that reduce the risk of getting cold and combat sickness. It is highly nutritious and improves cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease.

7. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds can be mostly found in salads and breakfast bowls. They are rich in vitamin E, the antioxidants that improve the immune response of the body. It fights against free radicals to protect cells and tissues from any damage.

8. Almonds

Like sunflower seeds, almonds are also rich in vitamin E. Also, almonds have manganese, magnesium, and fiber.
10 – 15 almonds every morning is a healthy snack that boosts the immune system, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol levels.

9. Spinach

Spinach boosts the immune system by the nutrients and antioxidants it holds.
Vitamin C and E help improve the immune system while flavonoids and carotenoids help prevent cold and other related illnesses. Spinach is high in beta carotene, a vitamin helpful in reducing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. This green leafy food is naturally packed with probiotics, good bacteria that keep the body working well.

10. Coriander

Coriander or Chinese parsley is the aromatic seasoning that we sprinkle as fresh leaves or grounded form to garnish soups, stews, and curries. Coriander seeds reduce blood pressure and protect cells from any damage caused by free radicals. The potent antioxidants in coriander fight inflammation.

11. Cardamom

Cardamom is the small pods we use in curries and teas too. It is derived from the seeds of several plants. Cardamom is used in Ayurvedic medicines to prevent cold, cough, asthma, and other respiratory infections.

Other Nutrients

It’s better to eat the natural resources instead of the supplements available. They are full of vitamins and minerals that help to boost our immune system and protect us from toxins and infections.

It’s better to eat the natural resources instead of the supplements available. They are full of vitamins and minerals that help to boost our immune system and protect us from toxins and infections. 

Vitamin C

It helps prevent infections and contributes to immune defense by supporting cellular functions.

Foods with vitamin C include:

    • Spinach
    • Kale
    • Bell peppers
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Strawberries
    • Papaya

Vitamin E

It is another powerful antioxidant like vitamin C that helps fight the infection in the body. Vitamin E is a source of multiple biochemical reactions in the body. 

High-fat plant foods are the source of vitamin E:

    • Almonds
    • Peanuts
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Oils (like sunflower, safflower, soybean)
    • Hazelnuts

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a micronutrient that promotes growth and development in the body. It plays a critical role in enhancing and strengthening immune function. 

Vitamin can be found in:

    • Carrots
    • Tuna
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Pumpkin
    • Cantaloupe
    • Green leafy vegetables

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the most important and powerful nutrient that our body requires to support the immune system. Consult your doctor too for the need of supplements as the lack of vitamin D causes the health decline with a faster rate than lack of any other vitamin.

The food sources that provide vitamin D are limited, include:

    • Salmon
    • Tuna
    • Mackerel
    • Sardines
    • Milk
    • Orange juice

Folic Acid or Folate

Folate is a natural form of vitamin B9, and folic acid is its synthetic form. It is found in lentils and beans as well as leafy green vegetables. Folic acid is often added to foods for its health benefits. You can get it in fortified foods too.

    • Enriched pasta
    • Enriched rice
    • Enriched bread

Iron

Iron carries oxygen to the cells and plays an important part in many of the immune system processes. You can easily absorb iron from:

    • Red meat (eat a limited amount)
    • Chicken
    • Turkey
    • Canned tuna light
    • Canned sardines
    • Oysters
    • Mussels
    • Clams

If you are a vegetarian, then eat:

    • Beans
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Iron-fortified cereals

Selenium

Selenium powerfully affects the immune system to prevent infections. However, consuming excessive amounts can become a problem. So, keep consuming no more than one to two of the foods having selenium in a day. These foods include:

    • Seafood (tuna, sardines, halibut)
    • Poultry
    • Meat and liver
    • Cottage cheese

Zinc

Zinc helps in producing new cells of the immune system. It can be found in animal foods and some vegetarian foods.

    • Crab
    • Oysters
    • Lean meats 
    • Poultry 
    • Baked Beans
    • Yogurt
    • Chickpeas

These foods must be eaten fresh. Pick the frozen option only when you are unable to find fresh food as they are not much affected but can still boost your immune system.

References:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/eat-these-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322412#which-foods-boost-the-immune-system