If you are facing frequent episodes of cold and cough, fever; or have a recent history of increased sick leaves at work; or experience lethargy frequently, then lowered immunity could be one of the contributors to these issues. Immunity is your body’s defense mechanism against viruses and diseases, which when compromised, would increase the risk of illness. Hence, we need to increase and maintain our body’s immunity power. One of the most talked about ways is eating right, having good nutrition. Now that leads most of us to the question “What should I EAT to strengthen my immune system?” Here is a pocket list of immune boosters and antiviral foods and nutrients which should secure a place in your diet routine.
- Protein: Milk, curd, yoghurt, buttermilk, cottage cheese (paneer), white meat (seafood, eggs, chicken – must be thoroughly cooked), soya, pulses.
- Vitamin C: Indian gooseberry (amla), guava, orange, lemon, red and green bell peppers, honey.
- Vitamin D: eggs, mackerel, bombay duck, chicken, vitamin A and D fortified milk and oil, mushrooms.
- Zinc and Selenium: nuts, eggs and seafood (mackerel, sardines, shellfish), white meat – chicken, turkey to be cooked thoroughly), whole grains, whole pulses.
- Antioxidants and polyphenols:
- Fruits and vegetables: Green, red, yellow, orange and purple coloured ones.
- Spices and herbs: Turmeric (haldi), cinnamon (dalchini), ginger, garlic, pepper, fennel, asafoetida (hing), saffron (kesar), cumin seeds (jeera), holy basil (Tulsi), oregano, basil, sage, curry leaves, lemongrass.
- Nuts and oil seeds: Almonds with skin, walnuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, mustard seeds, chia seeds.
- Lauric acid: Coconut oil and virgin coconut oil; but to be used with the limits of fat intake
- Honey due to its vitamin and mineral content have also been found to be useful in immunity, however make sure you have them within right proportions.
- Warm temperature: Warm or lukewarm filtered water.
The key to immunity and good health is to have a daily balanced diet, with the right blend of these immune boosting foods.