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Kitchen Staples That Improve Immunity

2 min read
Here are some foods you should always have in your fridge — consuming them can help you to keep healthy amid the coronavirus threat.

Our immune system protects us from infectious disease-causing bacteria and viruses. It is an extremely complex network of cells and molecules that researchers are still working to understand. While much about it is unknown, studies show that adopting a healthy lifestyle and following a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables will enable your body — including your immune system — to function properly.

Mushrooms are known for their immune-supporting properties particularly. Asian varieties, such as shitake and enoki, have been used medicinally by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years. Besides being rich in B vitamins and a host of minerals — such as selenium, potassium, iron and phosphorus — mushrooms are a useful source of vitamin D2 for vegans, points out Dr Menka Gupta, Functional Medicine Practitioner & Nutritional Therapist at Nutra Nourish. Vitamin D is thought to play a key role in improving immune tolerance.

It may not be everyone’s favourite vegetable, but the health benefits of broccoli are undeniable. For one, this cruciferous vegetable is a rich source of vitamin C, affirms Toni Baker, a Nutritionist and Naturopath at Balanced Living. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system. Broccoli also helps to increase glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is an important antioxidant that aids in combating free radicals. Furthermore, broccoli is also packed with beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, which is necessary for a well-functioning immune system.

Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which give the fruit its purplish tinge. Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory effects, and boost the production of cytokines, which regulate our immune responses. Add a tablespoon to your bowl of oats or your glass of smoothie for a nutritious start to your day.

Garlic has been touted as an elixir of health all over the world for centuries. Its cloves are said to help treat the common cold and even ward off vampires! This member of the lily family contains a variety of compounds that can influence immunity. One clove contains 5mg of calcium, 12mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds. For maximum benefits, take it raw as heat and water deactivate sulphuric enzymes, which can diminish garlic’s antibiotic effects.

Ginger is high in gingerol, a bioactive compound with powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that play a part in lowering the risk of infections. Fresh ginger can also be effective against the Respiratory Syncytial Virus, a common cause of respiratory infections in young children. Consider adding it to soup, fish and stir-fries, or down a cup of ginger tea to safeguard your immune system and enhance your immune response.