The pandemic forced us to look at how we take care of our bodies. We became intentional in creating habits that will improve our health and well-being. As we continue to develop healthy habits, here is the rundown of the best immune-boosting foods to add to your diet.
“Boost your immune system” was the standing reminder to all of us when we were battling COVID-19. This invisible enemy wreaked havoc around the world. So we protected ourselves by boosting our immune systems. We masked up, followed health protocols, stayed home and got vaccinated. People also started exercising and changing their diet.
As the cases go down, I do hope we continue to practice the health habits we started during the pandemic. It doesn’t mean we won’t get infected by the virus or any other disease, but we have a better chance of minimizing its effect on our bodies.
Our immune system is our body’s first line of defense. It fights pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and parasites. The cells in our body that take the lead are the white blood cells (WBC) or leukocytes. These microscopic soldiers defend the body from these invading pathogens. It’s a tough job for WBC. Imagine the work they need to do to keep us healthy. No wonder they need all the nourishment they can get from the food we eat. They have to be at their optimum level of health to do their job, and we do that by taking in immune-boosting foods.
Beta-glucans are dietary fibers that are extracted from the cell wall of yeast, fungi, seaweed, and grains. Studies show that beta-glucan-rich foods have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. They also stimulate the immune system to fight diseases. Other benefits of beta-glucans include reducing the risk of heart disease and lowering of cholesterol level.
Here are Beta-glucan rich foods to boost your immune system:
- Mushrooms (Reishi and Shitake)
- Oats and Barley
- Nutritional Yeast or Nooch (unfermented and inactive yeast)
- Whole-wheat bread
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that acts as an antioxidant in the body. We need antioxidants to fight free-radicals or toxins that destroy our cells. Free radicals come from fatty food (unhealthy food), stress, pollution, and smoking/drinking. A healthy production of of WBC stimulated by antioxidants will help protect our bodies. So, always include a healthy dose of this immune-boosting food of Vitamin C to your diet.
Immune-Boosting Foods rich in Vitamin C:
- Red and Green Bell Peppers
B Vitamins work synergistically with the other essential nutrients our body needs. These nutrients help in the proper metabolism of the body and help maintain the health of our blood cells, skin cells, and tissues. B Vitamins or B complex include vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and vitamin B12.
B Vitamin-rich foods are:
- B-fortified cereals and pasta
Our body does not produce zinc. That is why is it one of the essential nutrients we need to keep our body’s healthy and functioning well. It plays a major role in the formation of DNA and building of cells. Doctors prescribe optimal amounts of zinc where there is rapid growth, including childhood, puberty, and pregnancy. And that’s the reason during pregnancy, our doctors prescribe optimum amounts of zinc vitamins. Aside from building our immune system, zinc helps in tissue healing.
Immune-boosting foods rich in zinc:
- Chickpeas and Kidney Beans
- Shellfish (oysters, lobsters, crab, clams, mussels)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whole grain (oats, quinoa, brown rice)
It is great to know these immune-boosting foods to strengthen our bodies and protect us from diseases. However, taking relying on food alone could not give us the optimum nutrition to our cells. Doctors recommend supplementation or taking vitamins. Choose only the highest-rated supplements that will give you optimum cellular health.