Immune System and Immunity

The Best Superfoods to Boost Your Immune System

In order to keep your immune system strong all season, it’s important to eat a healthy diet and take a daily vitamin. However, some foods provide more immune-boosting properties than others; here are the best superfoods which helps to boost your immune system.

Are superfoods going to boost your immunity?

There is no scientifically based or regulated definition for “superfood”. The superfood is promoted as food that is rich in compounds (like antioxidants, fiber, or polyphenols) which provide ‘extra value’ than the food we consume normally. 

Superfoods to boost the immune system

After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many false and unproven remedies have been circulating on social media. There is no “magical bullet” which can fight from an infection overnight. It takes several months to develop a strong immunity system. No matter how many giloy tablets you take or herbal tonic you drink, you will not get an “immunity boost”. So what can actually build up our immunity?

Create a super plate

The title “superfoods” itself is misleading. It causes people to focus on a few specific foods while neglecting the other equally nutritious options that are not as popular. 

No single food can offer all the nutrition, health benefits, and energy we need to nourish ourselves. The Indian Dietary Guidelines also recommend combining healthy choices from across all food groups while paying attention to energy intake.

Variety in diet is the key to good immunity. A “super plate” can nourish our body with an array of essential vitamins and minerals. One must follow all hygiene and food safety precautions while preparing the food. So, beat the odds of getting infected through some tips given below:  

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The Best Superfoods to Boost Immunity

  • While preparing food, limit the intake of high sodium condiments like soy sauce. Instead, opt for fresh herbs and condiments which are easily available at our homes like turmeric, ginger, garlic and mint. 
  • Adding carom seeds (ajwain), lemongrass, cinnamon, fennel, cardamom and basil (tulsi) in tea/concoction may help to improve immunity over a period. 
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds offer some vital nutrients like Omega -3 fatty acid & Vitamin E that can power-pack our meals. 
  • Seasonal fruits and vegetables help to fight free radicals generated because of infection or any other stress in our body. They are rich sources of antioxidants and polyphenols, which have a positive effect on the immune system.
  • Probiotics and fermented foods like curd, yogurt, buttermilk, lassi, kanji, idli, dosa, kimchi, dhokla, etc. can be added to the daily diet. Studies on children, adults and athletes have linked the consumption of probiotics with a reduction in incidence and duration of respiratory tract infections.
  • It is important to maintain hydration to ensure that your immune system is functioning at an optimal level. Include plain water, buttermilk, lemon water, kanji and other liquids to stay hydrated.
  • Protein ensures a powerful line of defence against pathogens and also prevents the immune system from targeting healthy cells of the body. Elderly are one of the most vulnerable groups in the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the higher rate of muscular degradation, elderly require more protein than the younger adults. Hence, it is crucial that protein deficiency is avoided at all costs. 
  • A diet rich in pulses, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy is strongly recommended. Vegetarians are recommended to include plant proteins such as peas, lentils, soy, and soy products. Whey protein powders are also a superb source of protein if you cannot meet your protein requirements.
  • Megadosing of vitamins should be avoided at all costs. Viral videos suggesting the usage of Vitamin A and C tablets to prevent or cure COVID-19 are all over the internet! High doses of vitamins and minerals can lead to various side effects like nausea, dizziness, kidney damage, coma, among many other problems. Hence, consult your doctor and dietitian before taking any sort of supplements. 
  • It is important to note that no single food is a superfood! Viral respiratory tract infections cannot be cured, prevented, or treated by consuming “superfoods.” An overall healthy diet will ensure better immunity and lesser chances of getting infected with COVID-19.

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About The Author

Garima Gupta is a clinical dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and a life member of the Indian Dietetic Association. She studied food and nutrition from the University of Delhi and is among the top 6% of the people in the country to qualify for UGC National Scholarship. She has been facilitated with the Pratima Kaushik Award and has worked with various reputed institutions like AIIMS, Sports Authority of India, Nutrition Foundation of India, and many more. Mail MeCall MeMy LinkedIn PageMy Facebook Fan Page.

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Garima Gupta

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