A guide on immune-strengthening super foods

Having a strong immune system is not only desirable but a priority for maintaining good health. Super foods help you achieve just that. Super foods work towards making your immune system stronger so that you can fight away illnesses. There are a number of vegetables, fruits and other food items that fall under the category of super foods out of which we have compiled a list of very helpful and easily available ones. In this article you will find how garlic, fish, teas, mushroom, cabbage, whole grains, berries, spinach, broccoli, yogurt and almonds can help boost and strengthen your immune system.These foods also help build your child’s immunity provided they take them properly based on their age.

Super foods you can choose to strengthen your immunity

Garlic

benefits-of-Garlic

Garlic is said to be one of the strongest and most effective of super foods. It is effective against a number of illnesses and diseases. It lowers cholesterol and blood fat (triglyceride) levels. It prevents clogging of arteries thus reducing the risk of heart attack in patients with cardiovascular problems. Garlic also fights the bacteria that is responsible for ulcers and stomach cancer and is therefore considered as the most potential cancer preventive food by the National Cancer Institute.

Garlic contains various antioxidants and it also works as antiviral and antibacterial. It also has the power to detoxify the body and remove mercury (from fish) and cadmium from the body. You can consume 2-3 cloves of garlic a day or even more on a sick day. Garlic in any form is good and effective whether you take it in the form of whole baked ones, garlic pills and capsules, garlic powder or chopped garlic in your food. While cooking with garlic, let the garlic remain idle for 15-20 minutes after being peeled and cut and before putting it in the food. This activates the enzymes that boost immune system.

Shellfish

This is not the one that could ever strike your mind while considering immune-strengthening foods, but there are specific categories of shellfish packed with zinc which are good for immunity. If you are not allergic, you can consider oysters, crab, lobster and mussels.

Fish

Fatty fish contain omega 3 fatty acids

Fatty fish contain omega 3 fatty acids that lower cholesterol levels as well as protect against inflammation caused by any disease, injury or infection. Therefore, fish like salmon, halibut, lake trout, flounder, albacore tuna, sardine and herring, that are loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, strengthen your immune system. Apart from that, fish also help reduce threat of diabetes, arthritis, stroke, heart problems, Alzheimer and even cancer. Among the other benefits of fish, the reduction of depression can also be counted in. Experts suggest that adults should consume at least two fish meals per week. However, you should avoid any fish that contains mercury in it as it may cause health hazards to you instead of boosting your immunity.

Poultry

Another great source of immunity-boosting foods. Chicken and turkey high in Vitamin B-6 are good immunity enhancers. Nearly 3 ounces of chicken and lean turkey can fulfil your daily requirement of Vitamin B 6 that helps in red cell regeneration. Chicken broth is rich in nutrients good for your gut health and healing.

Tea

tea Tea contains antioxidants

Tea of various types have different kind of immune strengthening properties. Tea contains antioxidants that are extremely helpful in strengthening immune system. Different varieties of teas have quercetin that reduce allergies and also protect from inflammation. Catechins are also found in teas that help to reduce the likeliness of heart disease, Alzheimer and cancer. Green tea is found to be specially helpful in boosting immunity. Green tea contains antioxidant and catechins and thus is helpful in controlling and eliminating bacteria growth in your body apart from protecting your liver, kidney and heart from diseases and damage. Other than green tea, Chamomile tea and rooibos tea have also been found to be high in antioxidants and other immune boosting properties.

Whole grains

Whole grains retain their fiber, protein and nutrient content while they are processed and hence have a lot of properties that are helpful in building and maintaining a strong immune system. Whole grains come loaded with zinc (that is an important antioxidant) and selenium (that apart from boosting immune health helps prevent harm caused by cancerous cells). Whole grains are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium, all of which are helpful in building better immune system.

Whole grains protect you against the threats of high cholesterol, heart disease, hypertension while helping you control your weight. Whole grains also boost lymphatic circulation. Include 3 servings of whole grains in your regular diet for a strong immune system. Oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, wild rice, quinea, air-popped popcorn, whole grain cold cereals, sunflower seeds, pearled barley, bran cereals, bulgur, rye crackers, etc. are good sources of whole grain.

Mushroom

Mushrooms come with loads of antioxidants and selenium

Mushrooms of different varieties have been found to be exceptionally good in making your immune system stronger. Mushrooms come with loads of antioxidants and selenium, both of which are extremely important in having a strong immune system. It has been found that reduced levels of selenium in the body can lead to the occurrence of more severe flu. Mushrooms also contain riboflavin and niacin of vitamin B along with antibacterial, antiviral and anti-tumor properties. The maitake, shiitake and reishi varieties of mushroom are very strong and powerful when it comes to boosting your immune system. While maitake variety is used to prevent and treat diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and viral diseases, consumption of shiitake mushrooms daily helps to reduce cholesterol levels up to 45 percent.

Berries

Out of the different varieties of berries, many have been found to be helpful in protecting against cardiovascular problems. Berries contain antioxidants and vitamins A and C that help to improve the immune system of the body. Elderberry is helpful in fighting away inflammation. A few studies link elderberry to blocking and fast recovery from flu. Blueberries are the strongest and helpful ones when it comes to improving and strengthening immune system. Blueberries contain such antioxidants that work as anticancer. Blueberries also have significant and positive influence on digestive system, heart and cell tissues. The antioxidant anthocyanin in blueberries helps to improve brain functions and vision. It also works to slow down memory problems and motor coordination issues that are related to aging. Blueberries help reduce inflammation and are good against diseases such as Alzheimer, parkinson and diabetes.

Cabbage

Cabbage helps immune system to grow stronger

Cabbages are easy to find, are in expensive and yet very powerful in strengthening your immune system. Whether you choose to have white cabbage, red cabbage or the Chinese variety of the vegetable, you will be only helping your immune system to grow stronger than before. Cabbages contain glutathione that is very effective in improving the immune system. Apart from immune boosting antioxidants, cabbage contains a compound known as indoles that helps to reduce the risk of cancer. The humble vegetable helps to kill bacteria and viruses and also purifies the blood. It has been found that including cabbage in your diet at least once a week can help reduce the likeliness or risk of colon cancer in men by 66 percent. Red cabbage is specially helpful as an anticancer vegetable as it contains the antioxidant called anthocyanins. Whether you eat raw cabbage, half cooked or add it in soups and stew, it will be equally beneficial for your immune system.

Spinach

Spinach is a powerful super food that is packed with various kinds of nutrients. It contains antioxidant known as beta carotene and other carotenoids. It is also rich in vitamin E, vitamin C and lots of fiber. Spinach contains folate that is very important to protect damage of blood vessels and brain cells. Folate also helps to produce new cells in the body and also repairs DNA. To get the most benefit from spinach, include raw or half cooked of the green leafy vegetable in your daily diet.

Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C and E

Broccoli is rich in vitamins A, C and E. It contains glutathione and antioxidants like beta carotene and other carotenoids. Broccoli is said to be effective in preventing cancer because it contains glusinolates and other compounds that are effective in fighting away and preventing occurrence of the disease. Broccoli also helps to fight away environmental threats to metabolism by helping mucous membranes form effective barrier. Include the vegetable in your daily diet to get the best from this powerful immune strengthening vegetable.The key to retain its nutrient value is to have it steamed.

Red Bell Pepper

Red bell peppers with very high content of Vitamin C and Betacarotene are great in reinforcing your body immunity. If you love them having in curries, salads and soup, continue to do so.

Papaya

health with papaya

Bright yellow-orange coloured papayas are high in Vitamin A and other valuable nutrients. With good amounts of potassium, magnesium and folates, papaya is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunity-building properties.

Yogurt

Yogurt is among the top immune boosting super foods. It is easily available in the market as well as it can be made at home without any inconvenience or significant expenditure. It contains protein, calcium and vitamins all of which are helpful in gaining a strong immune system. Apart from that, it also has amino acid. It contains good bacteria that are beneficial for the body and that helps to improve the digestive system of the body, thus, helping to boost the immune system of the body. Include one cup of yogurt in your daily diet to fight off cold and flu and other illnesses while building a strong immune system.

Almonds

Handful-of-almonds

Indulge in a handful of almonds everyday to strengthen your immune system. Almonds include the highly effective and helpful omega 3s, manganese and vitamin E. They are high in fiber, calcium, protein and iron. Almonds also contain monounsaturated fat that helps to reduce cholesterol levels which in turn reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases. They protect you from stress since they contain riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B. Quite astonishingly, almonds help in weight reduction even after being relatively high in fat and calories. This in turn helps to keep the weight under control and prevent a lot of diseases that are associated with obesity or excess weight.

Button mushroom

Button mushroom is a rich source of antioxidants and selenium. Lower levels of selenium make the body vulnerable to flu. Button mushrooms contain niacin and riboflavin that help in boosting immune system. Studies conducted on animals have revealed that these mushrooms have various properties like antibacterial, antiviral. It has also been shown of great help in animals with tumor.

Watermelon

Ripe watermelon is refreshing and hydrating

Ripe watermelon is refreshing and hydrating and is rich in glutathione, a strong antioxidant. It is helpful in fighting infections and strengthening immune system. Glutathione is mostly seen close to rind especially red pulpy flesh.

Acai berry

Acai berry is dark in color that contributes to its antioxidant content. Acai berries are rich in antioxidants known as anthocyanins that help in building and maintain healthy body. The various effects of this berry are not yet scientifically proven. Antioxidants can be helpful in fighting diseases and aging. This fruit can be found in various forms like smoothie, juice, mixed with granola or dried.

Grapefruit

Grapefruits benefits

Grapefruits have a large volume of vitamin C. However, it is doubtful that only vitamin C fruits can alone treat flu and cold without taking some supplements. Immune system can be activated with the help of these fruits as they are filled with chemical compounds like flavonoids. If you do not like grapefruits, tangerines or oranges can be good options.

Elder berry

Elder berry has been used for long time in treating various immune system related diseases. The extracts from these berries have proven effective in blocking viruses of flu. Elder berry is useful in fighting inflammation. This fruit is rich in antioxidants that make it an immune system boosting food.

Low fat yogurt

Low fat yogurt

You can minimize the chances of getting cold by taking a cup of low fat yogurt daily. Live and active cultures are found in market. Studies have shown that they have ability to boost immune system and aid in fighting diseases.

Wheat germ

It has high nutrient value. It a constituent of wheat seed that holds baby plant inside. It is full of antioxidants, vitamin C, minerals and vitamin B. It has fiber and a little fat. You can also switch ordinary flour with wheat germ in some recipes and baked products.

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