During the current Coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever to keep your immune system strong by eating the right foods and treating your body well. Before attempting to self-isolate for any length of time, be sure to visit your local grocery store. Don’t just buy toilet roll, hand sanitiser and pasta. If you want to stay healthy, you need food that will help you fight this virus as well as any other cold or flu that comes along. In this article, we’re going to look at some powerful immune system boosters that you need to incorporate into your meal plans and daily routine.
When you’re feeling sick, ginger is another ingredient many will turn to. Inflammatory illnesses such as sore throats can be treated with ginger, which sometimes helps decrease inflammation. Nausea can also sometimes be treated in this way.
A relative of capsaicin known as gingerol is the source of the heat that can be found in ginger, which is used in many sweet desserts. Recent animal research suggests that ginger may possess cholesterol-lowering properties and help decrease chronic pain.
One of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table is broccoli, which is supercharged with minerals and vitamins including vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants and fibre. Leave it raw or only lightly cooked to keep as many of its nutrients intact as possible.
Red Bell Peppers
It’s a common misconception that citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable. As well as being a rich source of beta carotene, red peppers contain twice as much vitamin C ounce for ounce as a citrus fruit. Beta carotene works to keep your skin and eyes healthy, while vitamin C boosts your immune system and helps keep your skin healthy too.
Oranges and Lemons
When you’re suffering from a cold, vitamin C tablets are often the first recommendation you’ll receive. Found in all citrus fruits, your immune system relies on vitamin C to work properly. White blood cells, which are key to fighting infections, are thought to be produced in greater numbers if a person’s diet is high in vitamin C. There are loads of different citrus fruits out there:
For continued health, you need to get some vitamin C every day as your body is not able to store or produce it. Fortunately, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal, as almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and there is a great variety to choose from.
Better Lifestyle Choices
A healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense against disease. If you want to naturally keep your immune system healthy and effective, you need to follow general good-health guidelines. The following healthy-living strategies will improve the functionality of every part of your body, including your immune system, by protecting them against environmental assaults.
- Give up smoking;
- Get regular exercise;
- Drink only in moderation (or not at all);
- Make sure you cook meats thoroughly, and take steps to avoid infection such as washing your hands frequently;
- Try to minimize stress;
- Get adequate sleep;
- Maintain a healthy weight;
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
Allicin and Sulfur-Rich Compounds
Found in heavy concentration in garlic, research suggests that sulfur-containing compounds like allicin have certain immune-boosting properties. A must-have for your health, garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world as it adds a little zing to any dish. Its value in fighting infections was recognised even by the earliest civilisations, and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health now believes that it may slow down the hardening of arteries and help lower blood pressure.
The Healthy Way to Increase Immunity
There are lots of products out there that claim to support or build up your immune system. But many of these products have no base in science. They fail to note that it’s not necessarily a good thing to boost the number of cells in your body, whether those are immune cells or any other cell type. These practices can actually be dangerous in some cases: many athletes run the risk of strokes when they engage in “blood doping” – pumping blood into their systems to enhance their performance by boosting their blood cell numbers.
There are a vast number of different cells and cell types in the immune system, each of which will respond to different microbes in different ways, and this makes boosting the cells of your immune system extremely complicated. It’s difficult to find out which cells can be boosted, and to what degree. Experts who have been working in the field for decades don’t know the answer, so it’s unrealistic to try and figure out the answer yourself.
What we do know is that our bodies generate immune cells continually. They produce more lymphocytes than they can possibly use, which is why they then kill these cells off – either before or after fighting an infection. Your body knows how many cells it needs so rather than taking drugs and supplements that promise to actively boost these cell numbers, it’s best to just follow a healthy lifestyle to ensure your body has everything it needs to produce the cells it needs.
For more information about maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, check out Need2Know’s Essential Guide to Food for Health, the ultimate nutritional guide to self-sufficient health and wellbeing; it shows you how to look after your health using everyday foods. Need2Know also have some great books about Vegan Food, Coeliac Disease and Asthma. We have all the information you need to stay healthy