Immunity has been an important topic since the time COVID-19 started and continues to be talked about in the current year to combat the virus. Various reports state that approx. 45 % of global consumers are increasingly consuming food and beverage products that boost their immune system. The COVID-19 crisis may achromatize in future but immunity boosting food products are here to stay.
While the growing demand is sign of people getting conscious of practicing healthy food habits and lifestyle, it’s equally important that we don’t encourage or believe the myth and rumors around immunity boosters. Immunity boosting food products & supplements strengthen our body’s natural defense system to fight harmful pathogens or disease-causing organisms. A good immune system acts as a shield inside our body to minimize risks and damage, building our strength to recover faster.
Nutrients that are critical for growth and healthy functioning of immune cells include Vitamin C, D, Zinc, Selenium, Iron and protein. They are available in a variety of plants and animal foods.
Let’s take a look at the top Food & Spices to build our immunity naturally.
- Yogurt: A natural probiotic, it helps in maintaining the good bacteria in our body. One can avoid it during a sore throat but it is good for immunity overall. It has immune enhancing properties primarily due to its composition of magnesium, selenium & zinc. Vitamin D fortified yogurts are even better for immune health.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is called the ‘Superwoman of spices. It offers strong resistance against flu’s, common cold and seasonal viral infections. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that act as immunity enhancers, commonly used in Indian cuisines. While West is going ga ga about Turmeric latte, Starbucks’s has come out with Golden Turmeric latte which is a concoction of vanilla, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and pepper.
- Garlic: It is a good source of manganese, Vitamin-C and Vitamin B6. It is beneficial for reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Its anti-viral & anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Ginger garlic tea is a great idea to boost immunity and aids in weight loss.
- Black pepper: Black Pepper has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has multiple benefits including improving digestion, providing relief in respiratory problems. Black pepper is both an antioxidant and an antibacterial agent, contributing to overall wellness in a big way. It also has Vitamin-C, which naturally boosts immunity and works as an excellent antibiotic.
- Fenugreek seeds: It not only improves digestion levels but lowers cholesterol too. One can soak these seeds and get them to sprout & use them in salads.
- Wheat Grass: A true superfood, it not only lowers toxins in the body but can also boost your metabolism and immune system. It helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and is known for its anti-carcinogenic properties.
- Ginger: The health benefits of ginger are well documented. Amongst its key properties are helping lower cholesterol and fighting fungal infections. Ginger tea can be made in various blends like fresh ginger tea, ginger lemon tea, ginger with turmeric tea. Taking advantage of various guarding agents, I decided to curate my own admixture of ginger, turmeric, black pepper and cinnamon and named it “Immunity Shield”. I consume a spoonful daily in a cup of hot water every morning. Try it, there is no harm.
- Avocados: They are a good source for a number of essential vitamins and minerals viz calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. We can eat them daily or frequently as they have loads of micronutrients and lot of fiber. It helps to keep our digestion in order. They also help in keeping our heart healthy in a similar way as olive oils and nuts do. Try an avocado smoothie with Pineapple and ginger mix or simply in salads.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Did you know that Pumpkin seeds have a large variety of nutrients viz magnesium, protein, zinc? These seeds are also called ‘nutritional powerhouses. Try some amazing seeds and nut mixes available out there. How about healthy mid meal snacking with something healthy?
- Goji Berries: An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory super fruit that boosts the immune system. Full of vitamins & minerals, this dry red fruit has sweet & sour flavor. Used generously in health supplements alongside other herbs, nuts and extracts. Try Goji Berry Juice or in premixes to enhance your daily dose of immunity.
Health requires healthy food. In our daily lives we are constantly exposed to potentially harmful microbes. Our immune system protects us against these and also helps us fight certain diseases. It recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria, virus and takes an immediate action. A strong immune system is an answer to various infections and a defense to the unknown threats. Building an immunity through natural sources of food is always a better idea.
However, when you need an extra dose, supplements are not bad either.
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