Strong immunity is one of the essential requirements for leading a happy and healthy life. A robust immune system stops you from falling sick often, maintains energy levels and reduces susceptibility to viral infections. With the recent Pandemic, people have started thinking more and more about immunity. You need to know how to increase immunity as it helps protect you from seasonal diseases.
While many factors boost your immunity, diet is one of the primary ones. Eating immunity-boosting foods is a sure-shot way of promoting the infection-fighting ability of your body from the inside. These foods are also packed with other essential nutrients and compounds that contribute to your overall health. Here are some immunity-boosting foods that you should be adding to your diet, and why!
5 habits to boost your immunity
Get enough sleep
Lack of enough sleep increases your chances of falling sick. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep every night to boost their natural immunity.
Dehydration can cause your body’s essential functions to slow down. Drink water whenever you are thirsty; increase water intake if you exercise daily.
Limit sugar intake
Limiting sugar intake will reduce inflammation and aid in weight loss. Excess sugar intake has been directly linked to weakening of the immune system.
Working out improves your body's ability to absorb nutrients from foods better. Regular exercise can give your immunity a good boost.
Manage your stress levels
Stress can disturb your body’s immune cell function. Manage your stress by practising meditation, yoga and other mind-training exercises.
- Citrus fruits
- Sunflower seeds
- FAQs about Increase Immunity
There is a reason why doctors everywhere recommend adding vitamin C to your diet. That is because this nutrient helps build your immune system faster. It promotes the production of white blood cells and fights infections at the source. That is why citrus fruits are so popular among health enthusiasts as they are brimming with vitamin C. Some of these citrus fruits include:
The suggested daily value of vitamin C intake for women is 75mg and 90mg for men.
Garlic has long been part of Ayurveda as an immunity-boosting superfood. Apart from being deliciously zingy, it also has multiple health benefits. It is known to fight infections, slow down the pace of hardening arteries and help lower blood pressure. It is also packed with sulfur-rich compounds like allicin. All of these attributes give garlic its immunity-boosting prowess.
It is about time you stopped saying ‘yuck!’ when you see broccoli on your plate of food! Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, the vegetable is rich in fiber and antioxidants too. All of these benefits give your body a strong foundation to build its immunity. Make sure you are preparing it well as anything more than steaming will kill the essential compounds in broccoli.
Spinach is known to introduce a lot of good nutrients to your body. On top of that list are antioxidants and beta carotene, both known for their infection-fighting ability. But granted you are not over-cooking it. Most Indian recipes call for frying spinach, but you should be lightly blanching it instead. This style of cooking helps your body absorb the vitamin A content of the leafy vegetable better.
Yoghurt products packed with live and active cultures, like greek yoghurt, work wonders for your immunity. These cultures are probiotics that help fight diseases in your body and help improve the immune system. Stick to plain yoghurts so that you are not over-consuming any extra sugar. They are also rich in calcium and vitamin D, both of which strengthen your bones and build your body's natural defences.
Sunflower seeds are not just an excellent snack option, they are also a superfood. Packed with nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamins B-6 and E, this quick snack does a lot of good for your body. Vitamin E is essential in maintaining the immune system's functioning. Roasted sunflower seeds are also high in selenium, which has been known to fight viral infections in humans. Replace your potato chips with some delicious salted sunflower seeds for added TLC to your body!
Desis are no strangers to turmeric because of our many fragrant curry recipes. The yellow-pigmented spice holds impressive anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also helpful with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other general ailments. The high concentrations of curcumin in turmeric is what gives it the signature colour and immunity-boosting powers. Turmeric can also help reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and is an antiviral agent that occurs naturally in nature.
One of the best ways to improve your immunity is to work on your gut health. A happy stomach will lead to a happy body and papaya is a fruit that can help with that. Rich in a digestive enzyme called papain, regular consumption of this fruit has immunity-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects. They are also rich in potassium, magnesium, and folate, all of which improve your health in general.
The idea of sticking to a pescatarian diet rather than a complete vegetarian one has been popular amongst the food community. The reason why seafood, particularly shellfish, is so sought after by nutritionists and health enthusiasts is because of the amount of zinc it packs! Depending on regular consumption, zinc work wonders for your body's natural immune system. Some of the foods that pack a lot of zinc are:
The recommended dose of shellfish is 8mg for adult women and 11mg for adult men, once every three days or so!
FAQs about Increase Immunity
1) Which vitamin increases my immunity?
A. Vitamin C is the best way to improve your immunity quickly. It also helps in absorbing other essential nutrients in your body to help keep it fit and disease-free. You can add vitamin C in your system with the help of foods, drinks or dietary supplements.
2) What weakens your immune system?
A. Your immune system can take a hit because of certain medications. Infections like the flu virus, mono (mononucleosis), and measles can also weaken the immune system very fast. Habits like smoking, alcohol, and poor nutrition can also hurt your immune system to a great extent.
3) How do you know your immune system is weakened?
A. These are the signs of a weak immune system:
- Your stress levels are off the charts
- You always seem to have a cold
- You have stomach issues
- Your wounds take time to heal
- You feel tired all the time
- You get infections very often