9 Top foods that pack an immunity-boosting punch!

9 Top foods that pack an immunity-boosting punch!
Photo by David B Townsend on Unsplash

Are you tired of getting sick? Tired of fighting a cold or flu in winter? Or even suffering from summer cold? Try adding these 9 immunity-boosting foods to your regular diet. You’ll be all set to fight cold and flu all year round. You can even use a lot of them in recipes together to really pack an immunity-boosting punch!

Garlic – Eaten fresh this wonderful, flavoursome herb will give you the most benefits it has to offer. Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic and antiprotozean. In short, it helps keep the nasties at bay. It’s best eaten raw within an hour of dicing as that’s when the compounds allion and allicin work together and release their beneficial powers. If you already have a cold, eat a raw clove every four hours to help limit the damage.

Kale – Best eaten raw, chopped or minced, such as in juicing or salads, kale has many nutrients that are effective against those winter blues. These include beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K. It’s rich in calcium and also a source of indole-3-carbinole, which is a chemical that helps DNA repair in cells.

Lean Protein:
Pink Salmon –
 Contains Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. Vitamin D is found in very few foods. Your main source of vitamin D comes from the ultraviolet light from the sun. Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption as well as aiding in cell growth and immune function. It also plays a role in neurological function. Don’t pour out the oil when eating canned salmon as you will be pouring out the Vitamin D with it. As vitamin D aids in calcium absorption, eating pink salmon in conjunction with any of the other foods mentioned here will be beneficial to you as they all contain calcium.

Onion – Free of sodium, fat and cholesterol, onions are a great source of Vitamin C. They are also a high source of the flavonoid quercetin which can inhibit part of the replication process of retroviruses. In other words, they can help inhibit a virus from replicating itself. Quercetin has also been shown to demonstrate anti-inflammatory activity. Onions are best eaten raw in salads or sautéed to give you the most benefit.

Pineapple – Is best eaten raw or freshly juiced and contains a substantial amount of both vitamin C and manganese. Vitamin C is found in immune cells and is consumed very quickly during infections so maintaining good levels of vitamin C in your diet is essential to aid your body in fighting illness. Manganese aids in calcium absorption, as well as being necessary for normal nerve and brain function. It also aids in helping fight free radicals in your body that can damage cell membranes. The vitamin C and flavonoids present in pineapple are also thought to help reduce respiratory problems and break down mucus.

Red peppers – Are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. A red pepper (or capsicum) has twice the amount of vitamin C than its green counterpart and is nine times higher in carotene, which aids in antioxidant activity. Red peppers also contain capsaicin, a compound which is believed to help block the transmission of pain. Red peppers are best eaten raw or sautéed, just enough to release some of its juice.

Spices:
Turmeric – Has been used for centuries in India and other parts of Asia as a remedy for gastrointestinal problems, liver ailments, aches and pains and skin conditions, including chicken pox. Warm milk mixed with turmeric powder is also used as it is thought to help combat fever. Turmeric contains a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and vitamin B2. The most important role played by vitamin E in your body is in cell signalling. This is where cells communicate and correctly respond to the information received so they function properly. Vitamin E also helps prevent the multiplication of free radicals in tissues in your body. Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, has been found to help in the prevention of migraine.

Cinnamon – Used for centuries as a treatment for the common cold, cinnamon contains many vitamins and minerals including most of the B vitamins and potassium. It has been used in the treatment of vomiting and diarrhoea. It’s also said that a chemical in Cassia cinnamon called Cinnamaldehyde helps aid in fighting fungal and bacterial infections. It is also a wonderful antioxidant. Cinnamon is best eaten ground added to other food, or in a cinnamon tea. On a side note, cinnamon oil is a good antiseptic for wiping down surfaces (The oil is NOT to be ingested).

Sweet Potatoes/Kumera – Contains a good dose of beta carotene, a vitamin A carotenoid, which is a wonderful antioxidant. Sweet potatoes or kumara also contain a moderate level of vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), which is an essential nutrient for us. It is suggested vitamin B5 helps with symptoms of fatigue and stress by playing an important role in the maintenance of your nerves. Also present at a moderate level is vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), which promotes red blood cell production and aids in the balancing of sodium and potassium in your body. Sweet potato also contains zinc, which is vital in helping your body utilize Vitamin B6. Zinc is also essential in maintaining the immune system so low levels of zinc in your system can result in you being more susceptible to sickness. Sweet potatoes are best eaten baked as they retain more nutrients this way.
Now that you know the benefits of our top 9 foods, next time you’re doing your shopping list, make sure you add them to it. Eaten as part of your diet, these foods will help you keep those nasty illnesses at bay all year round.

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