In this pandemic period, eating food healthy can help to boost the immune system and fight back against outbreak Covid-19 “SARS-CoV-2” and/or Seasonal Flu “Seasonal influenza”.
According to WHO, Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases as the new Coronavirus “2019-nCoV”.
Which food to boost the immune system ?
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Here is a list of recommended food to help boost the immune system.
‘Eggs are a great source or zinc and also disease-fighting nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin,’ says nutritionist Kim Pearson. ‘They’re also a great protein source for vegetarians.’
A cuppa is a good way to boost your immune system, thanks to the flavonoids, which are a great antioxidant. ‘Tea is also rich in amino acids, which improve the body’s production of germ-fighting compounds,’ says nutritionist Frida Harju-Westman. It’s also a great way to beat dehydration and gut issues.
- Wholemeal bread
The fiber content is much higher than white bread. ‘Fibre plays such a key role in your immune system,’ says immunologist Dr. Jenna Macciochi. ‘It feeds the microbes in our gut, having a really powerful effect on our immune cells, making sure they do their job properly.’ But it’s important to get lots of different plant-based foods into your diet for a good fiber intake, and that means a wide variety of vegetables, beans, pulses, and legumes.
- Red peppers
These, and green peppers, are particularly high in vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in your immune system. ‘When we’re fighting an infection, our needs increase quite dramatically because our immune cells use a lot of it,’ says Dr. Macciochi. ‘It’s easy to get enough in your diet because it’s in a lot of different foods.’ Other good sources include oranges, sprouts, and kiwis.
It’s a good source of zinc, which helps your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Red meat and seafood are also high in this immunity-boosting mineral.
‘Vitamin D is a vital immune nutrient, but also one of the most common nutrient deficiencies,’ says Kim. Sunlight is our primary source, so getting out in daylight is key, but you can also top up your levels by eating fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
- Olive oil
It’s a vital part of the Mediterranean diet, scientifically shown to be the healthiest way to eat to help reduce your risk of key killers such as heart disease and cancer. But research also suggests it reduces inflammation and improves immune system function, particularly in older people. ‘Olive oil, fresh olives and olive leaf extract have all been shown to strengthen the immune system,’ says Stephanie. ‘Olive oil and fresh olives are full of monounsaturated fats that help to regulate immune system cells.’
‘Just one pepper contains your daily intake of beta-carotene and twice the daily allowance of vitamin C,’ says Frida. ‘Both are essential antioxidants that help to fight bacteria. Chilies are also great if you have a cold, as they help unblock your sinuses.’
It helps boost the immune system and cleanse the body of infection because of its antibacterial properties. ‘Ginger has been used to fight infections for generations, but only recently have we discovered how it works,’ says GP Dr. Paul Stillman. ‘Ginger is not only an anti-inflammatory, it stimulates the production of lysozyme, an enzyme that destroys the cell walls of bacteria and helps kill them.’
This super veg is high in vitamin C, which you need plenty of to help fight off infections. It also counts as one of your health-boosting, disease-fighting five-a-day and is a great source of immune-bolstering fiber, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. It’s also low in calories, so is perfect in helping you maintain a healthy weight, which is essential for helping you effectively fight off Covid-19.
‘Like ginger, pomegranate has been used for centuries in traditional medicine,’ says Dr. Stillman. ‘Pomegranate contains tannins, which inhibit the growth of many microorganisms including bacteria and viruses. It’s also a good source of vitamin C.’
- Blueberries ADVERTISEMENT
Research shows that they may help us age better by reducing oxidative stress, a process linked to age-related diseases, says nutritionist Dr. Emma Derbyshire. ‘We know that blueberries are mini nutritional powerhouses providing vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, and manganese, as well as anthocyanins and a diverse range of polyphenolic compounds such as quercetin, so it makes good sense to eat them regularly as we age.’