Do you often fall sick, catching flu and cold while your friends are always up and running? Maybe your immune system is weak and it needs some attention and strengthening. The immune system defends your body from foreign invaders. It is a complex network of tissues, cells, and organs that work in coordination to protect your body from viruses, bacteria, fungi, pollutants, and parasites. The first response of a strong and healthy immune system is to create a barrier to prevent the entry of an antigen or invader. If the antigen succeeds to make an entry, then it sends white blood cells, certain proteins and chemicals to destroy it.
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When people do not give good care and attention to their diet and nutrition, their immune system becomes weak. The common symptoms of this include frequent sinus infections, pinkeye, colds, pneumonia, diarrhea and yeast infections. This along with bad habits such as smoking, drinking, and stressful life can tatter our immune system and trigger the start of many diseases and disorders. Investing time in fixing your immune system is one of the best things you can do to yourself rather than frequently falling sick and going back to taking medication every time. The easiest way to keep your immune system in best condition is by eating foods that strengthen and support it.
Below are various foods you can have every day to strengthen and boost your immune system within weeks.
1. Almonds for Immune System
Almonds are rich in iron, copper, Vitamin E, Manganese and magnesium that are building blocks of immunity in a human body. Vitamin E contained in almonds is an antioxidant that supports your immune system. It slows down the aging process and supports good skin health. Almonds are rawly edible but consider soaking them in water overnight for easy digestion.
- Take a mixing bowl
- Add ½ cup of granulated sugar
- Add 1 tsp of grounded cinnamon
- Add ¾ tsp of salt
- Add ¼ tsp of ground ginger and Stir the contents well
- Take a separate bowl, add 1 egg white and beat until frothy
- Add 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste to the bowl having egg white and whisk well
- Transfer the almonds to bowl having egg white and mix thoroughly
- On a baking sheet spread the almonds and bake for 1 hour with stirring at every 10 minutes until crispy
Kimchi is an excellent probiotic food. It enhances the working of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Studies have shown that eating kimchi 2 to 3 times a week strengthens respiratory system and reduces the risk of developing infections such as asthma and bronchitis. It helps to keep the gut lining healthy and prevents erratic provocation of the immune response. Kimchi is best eaten with scrambled eggs, Tacos, Grilled Cheese, and Fried Rice.
Simple Kimchi recipe
- Take a large bowl
- Cut a half of regular cabbage or napa cabbage into medium size bites
- Sprinkle handful of salt each time on the cabbage and keep mixing until you have added ¼ cup of kosher salt
- Allow the mix to sit for 2 hours. This should release water from cabbage and it gets wilted
- Drain the water and rinse the cabbage to wash off all the salt. Use of Colander helps
- Add 4 tbs of Korean Red pepper flakes
- Add 2 tbs of minced Garlic
- Add 2 tbs of minced ginger
- Add 1 tsp of sugar and mix the ingredients thoroughly
- Add the contents to a glass jar and place it on the shelf for 2 to 5 days
- Move the jar into refrigerator
Vitamin C is a great immunity booster and Grapefruit has lots of it. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which helps to keep the skin healthy and immune to infections. Studies show that consuming grapefruit decreases the chance of getting a bacterial infection by 70 percent. It helps to prevent seasonal cold and flu. Grapefruit can be consumed along with papaya, broccoli, berries or tomatoes to enhance the benefits.
- Take a large bowl and add 2 cups of grapefruit
- Cut 2 peeled mangoes into wedges and add to the bowl
- Cut a peeled papaya into cubes and add to the bowl
- Add 2 tbs of lime juice
- Add 2 tbs of olive oil
- Add ¼ tsp of salt
- Add 1/8 tsp of black pepper
- Mix the ingredients gently
- Sprinkle3 tbs of chopped fresh mint
Ginger has bioactive compounds such as gingerol, which lower the risk of having an infection. It has antimicrobial properties, which inhibits the start of a bacterial infection associated with salmonella, Candida, and E coli. Research shows adding ginger powder into the daily diet helps to fight respiratory infections. It is especially effective against HRSV or human respiratory syncytial virus. Ginger is known to reduce the feeling of nausea.
- Add 1 ½ tsp of grated ginger into the infuser of teapot
- Fill the teapot with 1 ½ cups of boiling water
- Let it steep for 10 minutes
- Strain the tea into a porcelain cup
- Add sugar or honey to taste
Garlic has a sulfur compound called allicin, which stimulates the immune system and reduces the risk of infection. It increases the number of white blood cells to fight flu and cold. Garlic has antiviral and antimicrobial properties, which prevents skin infections. In a research, people who regularly ate garlic experienced 65% fewer times of cold and when they became sick they recovered in 4 days and earlier than others. Eating a clove of garlic three times a day along with food keeps the immune system active at all times. Using crushed garlic in the diet increases its effects.
- Heat a pan for 5 minutes and add ¼ cup of olive oil
- Cut 40 cloves of garlic each into halves. Add them to the pan and cover the lid
- Roast the garlic cloves until they are brown
- In another large pot, while garlic is still roasting, add 4 tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Add 2 sliced onions and stir until onions are golden brown.
- Add 1 tsp of dried thyme leaf
- Add 1 tsp of dried oregano leaf
- Add 1 tsp of basil leaf
- Add ½ tsp of salt
- Add ½ tsp of black pepper
- Saute for 1 1/2 minutes
- Peel the roasted cloves and them into the pot
- Add broth of chicken and simmer for 15 mins
- Reduce the heat and add cow milk or coconut milk
- Blend the soup gently
- If required garnish with 2 tsp of freshly minced parsley leaf and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh chives
Berries have been used by native Americans to treat infections such as common cold and flu. They have polyphenols where are rich in antibacterial properties. The polyphenols contained in berries protect the body against influenza virus, salmonella, E coli, and Staphylococcus. They are abundant in Vitamin C, which is a natural immunity booster. Berries can be added to smoothies and cereal breakfast.
- Add 1 cup of berries (blueberry or raspberry or mix of two) into the blender
- Add 1 ripe frozen banana.
- Add 1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt (low fat)
- Add 1/4 cup of orange juice.
- Add 1 tsp of honey
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is packed with immunity enhancers. It contains MCTs or Medium Chain Triglycerides, which come with a multitude of antimicrobial properties. Coconut oil is rich in the Lauric acid, which is an MCT that gets converted into monolaurin in the intestine. Both Monolaurin and Lauric acid have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. They kill harmful fungi, bacteria, and viruses in the gut. Coconut facts help the body to fight against bacteria causing dental cavities, sinusitis, ulcers and urinary tract infections. Adding coconut oil to your foods helps offers many health benefits.
Licorice is derived from Glycyrrhiza glabra plant. The root of this plant is dried and powdered to get a spice, which is popularly used, in herbal medicines of Europe and Asia. It has anti-fungi and bacterial properties. It can fight viruses that cause gastroenteritis, polio, and flu. People with blood pressure and heart-related disorders should limit the consumption of licorice.
- Warm water in a kettle
- Add 2 tsp of Licorice powder into the infuser of Teapot
- Transfer the water from kettle to teapot
- Let it steep for 10 minutes
- Strain and Add honey to the sweetness.
9. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and Nuts are rich in plant proteins. They contain Vitamin E, Zinc, copper, selenium, and other essential nutrients required for promoting a healthy immune system. Eating a single brazil nut can meet the daily need of selenium in the body. Nuts and seeds are full of antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. Consume a mix of different seeds and nuts in the morning to have a good immune system.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes are rich in vitamin A. Studies have shown that people with the deficiency of vitamin A have a weaker immune system and are prone to catching a fungal infection. Also, respiratory problems are common in people who do not meet their daily vitamin A requirement. However, taking excess vitamin A especially in the form of supplements is harmful to the body. Have boiled sweet potatoes along with carrots, squash, lettuce, red peppers, and organ meats.
- Do not smoke cigarettes and drink less alcohol
- Eat a diet consisting of fruits and vegetables.
- Regularly Exercise for at least half an hour
- Maintain a good body shape
- Sleep for at least 6 hours
- Avoid eating food without washing your hands and thoroughly cook meat.
- Mediate daily and minimize stress.