Diet To Boost Your Immune System
Immunity is more important now than ever before - with the pandemic raging and several other infections cropping us a result of it, it’s important to stay healthy and safe.
Staying indoors doesn’t mean that you are free from falling ill - a change in weather or season; and even allergies, can bring on infections. So it’s important to focus on a balanced, healthy immune boosting diet plan. There are several foods that boost immunity, fruits and vegetables being one of the best foods to include on your plate.
Here’s a look at the best micro and macronutrients to include in your diet to make sure your immunity is humming along at peak levels.
Immune boosting diet plan: Greens
Green leafy vegetables must be a part of your plate if you want to increase your immunity levels. And think beyond spinach and methi - include greens like radish leaves (copper, Vitamin A, selenium), drumstick leaves or moringa (copper, Vitamin A, selenium, Omega-3s), and curry leaves (copper, Vitamin A, Omega-3s). Omega-3 are an essential fatty acid that helps slow down and resolve inflammation. They also boost the functioning of neutrophils, which are our body’s responders to infection. Copper is essential for survival - it plays a key role in making red blood cells, maintaining cells as well as the immune system. Selenium - a potent nutritional antioxidant that strongly influences inflammation and immune response. Vitamin A promotes cell growth and development, in addition to regulating cellular immune response.
Immune boosting diet plan: Zinc
Zinc is known as the protective & preventive mineral. This important mineral has an anti-inflammatory effect and directly impacts anti-viral activity. Low zinc levels reduce the body’s immune responses. It has the ability to function as an anti-oxidant and stabilise membranes, suggesting it plays a key role in the prevention of free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes. Zinc-rich foods include amaranth (rajgira), bajra, Bengal gram and sesame seeds.
Immune boosting diet plan: Omega-3s
Omega-3 Fatty Acids support immune cell function and also help prevent respiratory infections, in addition to addressing and slowing down inflammation. Good sources included nuts like walnuts, seeds like flax and chia, and some kinds of fatty fish, like mackerel, sardines, salmon and anchovies.
Immune boosting diet plan: Garlic
Garlic is potent when it comes to taste and smell - but equally potent when it comes to immune-boosting benefits! Whole garlic contains a compound called alliin. When garlic is crushed or chewed, this compound turns into allicin (with a c), the main active ingredient, which helps combat cold and flu. Garlic can be added to a variety of cooked dishes, soups and tonics. You can also chew on a clove first thing in the morning for extra benefits.
Immune boosting diet plan: Ginger
Ginger is used widely in Indian cooking, from chai to sabzis and curries. It is known to be a natural remedy for sore throat, cough and inflammatory illnesses, which is why it works well in chai. It has powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties and also helps flush out toxins. Ginger juice shots are a great way to start your day.
Immune boosting diet plan: Spices
Spices contain some potent compounds that help fight inflammation and keep infections at bay. Turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and coriander are all good to boost immunity. Turmeric has an active compound called curcumin which works as a wonder ingredient to build immunity - but for its full effect, it must be combined with some kind of fat (like milk) and black pepper. Dhania also comes with antibacterial properties, which is why drinking coriander seeds water in the morning can boost immune function. Cinnamon has a bunch of Vitamins, including A, B6, C, E and K which helps protect the body from free radicals.
Immune boosting diet plan: Hydration
Our body is made up of almost 70% water! And when we lose it through urination, stool and sweat (and excessive sweating when we are ill with fever), we MUST replenish what’s lost. Fever leads to excess loss slid loss and increased metabolism, which in turn causes dehydration and increased nutritional requirements. So, even if you aren’t feeling very thirsty, you must be sure to drink plenty of healthy fluids and eat hydrating foods (like watermelon, cucumber) to support the immune system and the body's ability to fight infection.
Immune boosting diet plan: Coconut water
Coconut water is nature’s nectar, full of electrolytes, and the perfect pick-me-up after a workout or any form of exercise. Containing essential nutrients like riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and folates, coconut water has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can strengthen the immune system and fight viral infections like flu. It is also a natural diuretic, helping flush toxins out of the body.
Immune boosting diet plan: Wheatgrass shot
Hailed as a superfood, wheatgrass is packed with nutrients that help you build a robust immune system, and helps cleanse and detox the body naturally. It is packed with 17 amino acids, iron and calcium along with vitamins A, C, D, E, K and vitamin B complex. It also aids in weight loss, alleviates inflammation and regulates blood sugar levels. You can take 20 ml of wheatgrass juice (on an empty stomach) in the morning.
Immune boosting diet plan: Vitamin D
Studies have found a strong relationship between vitamin D & the immune system as well as how it influences susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. You should aim to get 10-20 minutes of sun exposure before midday several times a week. Vitamin D is stored in the body for approximately 2 months. You can also take vitamin D supplements after consulting your doctor or nutritionist.
Healthy Immune System Diet
A diet to boost immune system means you need to follow a diet chart for immunity boosting meals and tonics. An ideal immune boosting diet plan will look something like this:
- Early morning: 1 glass water + 1 tsp wheatgrass powder + 5ml fresh ginger juice + 10 soaked almonds + 1/2 anaar
- Breakfast: 2 moong dal cheela + 50g paneer + mint chutney
- Mid-morning: 1 glass coconut water + 1 tsp soaked sabja seeds
- Lunch: 1 bowl dal/chana/rajma + 1 bowl sabzi + 2 roti, made up of 1/3 wheat, 1/3 rajgira and 1/3 sattu
- 4 pm: 1 katori steamed beetroot + 1/2 naar + 1 tsp pumpkin seeds
- 6 pm: 1 cup ginger tulsi masala chai + 1 katori sprouts/chana + 1 tbsp soaked peanuts
- Dinner: 1 bowl dal and rajgira khichri + 1 tbsp flaxseeds chutney
- 1 hour before bed: 5 soaked almonds
This is a simple plan to follow and the right diet to improve immune system. If you are looking for more foods to cater to your immune system diet, you can follow our Instagram page where we share daily tips and advice.
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How to increase immunity?
You can increase your immunity with an immune boosting diet plan, with a balanced and nutrient-rich diet and supplementation where necessary.
What can I take daily to boost my immune system?
You can take nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits, antioxidant-rich greens and beets, along with spices like turmeric to boost immune function on a daily basis. Chewing on a raw garlic clove or curry leaves first thing in the morning also helps.These are some tips for an immune boosting diet plan.
How can I boost my immune system in 24 hours?
Immunity cannot be built in a day. It is a continuous process that requires an immune boosting diet plan. There is no single ingredient that can magically improve immunity in 24 hours. However, incorporating turmeric into your diet in the form of tonics or turmeric milk is a good place to start.
How can I boost my immune system in a week?
You can boost your immunity in a week by eating Vitamin C-rich foods, turmeric, and Omega-3 rich foods. You can also try juices like the Vitamin C Booster and Raging Red.
Vitamin C Booster: Carrot, Apple, Orange
This is a winning combination for a potent Vitamin C shot that helps protect the body and fight off infections. This refreshing juice is loaded with multivitamins, antioxidants, and beta-carotene, which makes it more difficult for harmful bacteria to gain traction in the body and enter the bloodstream to cause illnesses.
Raging Red: Beetrooot, Carrot, Amla & Tomato
Beetroot Beetroot gives this drink a gorgeous magenta hue. This juice is loaded with potassium, magnesium, nitrate, Vitamin B9, folate, Vitamin C and beta-carotene, minerals and phytochemicals, all of which are known to support a healthy immune system. These nutrients help support the body’ss mucus membrane, which lines the respiratory and intestinal tracts and help lower the risk of infections. Amla or Indian gooseberry is a rich source of antioxidants, which helps to boost immunity.
How can I boost my immune system naturally fast?
You can boost your immune system naturally in a short span of time by eating a diet rich in the foods and nutrients mentioned above, combined with adequate sleep, exercise and exposure to Vitamin D/sunshine. You can take supplements for vitamins, minerals on the basis of what your doctor says.
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