We must always have a strong immune system. Regardless of the time of year, we are in, this must be one of our main goals. In the situation we are in because of the COVID-19 virus, a strong immune system is an important ally against contacting this virus. Sufficient and quality sleep, a regular exercise program, and proper handwashing are some of the most important factors that constantly contribute to maintaining a strong immune system.
In this article, we decided to talk about the most important foods that help build a strong immune system.
What we need to eat to have a strong immune system
In this case, foods containing important vitamins and minerals, which contribute to and help strengthen the immune system, are especially recommended. These vitamins are Vitamin A, C, D, Zinc, fatty acids, Omega-3, and antioxidants.
- Beans and legumes
Including beans in the menu, regardless of their color, or other legumes, such as lentils or chickpeas, can provide many benefits to the body. In addition to the high fiber intake that beans provide, a cup of beans provides the body with 13% of the recommended amount of zinc in a day. Consuming a sufficient amount of zinc helps to shorten the duration of a cold.
Beans also provide many micronutrients, such as iron, magnesium, Vitamin B, phosphorus, and folate. But also a large amount of protein. Beans and other legumes can be used in soups, various dishes, sauces, or even mixed with meat to increase protein intake.
Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries contain Vitamin C, but also a variety of flavonoids and antioxidants. These compounds help to neutralize free and harmful radicals in the body, but also to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Flavonoids are useful in reducing the incidence of upper respiratory infections. Fruits can be eaten in salads, smoothies, cereals, or yogurt.
Broccoli is part of the category of vegetables very rich in nutrients. It contains large amounts of Vitamin A, C, and E. The raw broccoli sauce increases the intake of Vitamin C, and cooking releases a large intake of Vitamin A. Broccoli can be eaten in pasta, in the breakfast filling, or raw, along with hummus as a snack.
Eggs are a portion of very nutritious food and contribute a lot to improving the immune system. For this reason, you should not exclude this food from your daily diet. A very large part of the nutrients are found in the yolk, implicitly, Vitamin A, D, Zinc, and Selenium. Eggs are also a protein snack, but they can be eaten at any time of the day, from breakfast to dinner.
Fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are very important sources of fatty acids and Omega-3, which help activate certain cells of the immune system, but also reduce inflammation in the body. Fish is also a natural source of Vitamin D and Zinc. A serving of salmon provides the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D.
You can prepare a quick dinner with vegetables and salmon, or you can use slices of smoked salmon when you feel like a snack.
It is good to know that ginger is known for its many benefits and medical properties, among which we can mention the reduction of sore throat and inflammation. Ginger also helps optimize immune function and helps reduce inflammation in airway infections. Ginger can be eaten in soups or tea.
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics and bacteria that help keep the intestines healthy. It is very important to have a proper balance of “good” bacteria, and this also helps maintain a healthy and strong immune system. Try consuming yogurt that contains live and active cultures and a variety of probiotic strains and several billion CFU (colony forming units). Also, yogurt is one of the few food sources that provide Vitamin D, which helps to improve the immune response to infections but also to improve mood.
You can use yogurt instead of mayonnaise in salads for breakfast. You can eat it simply, or in combination with cereals. It is also a healthier version of ice cream, combined with fruit and frozen.
Honey is a food that contains many antioxidants and antibacterial compounds, and they help strengthen the immune system and fight allergies. You can add a tablespoon of honey in warm water, or in tea, for optimal hydration, or you can use it as a natural sweetener for certain baked goods, cereals, yogurt, and smoothies.
- Vegetables with green leaves
Green leafy vegetables such as cabbage and spinach are excellent sources of Vitamin A and C. Vitamin A helps to improve immune function, regulate the cellular immune response and decrease inflammation. Green leafy vegetables also contain many antioxidants and flavonoids. Green leafy vegetables can be used in salads, smoothies, and soups.
Like other citrus fruits, oranges are rich in Vitamin C and are certainly some of the well-known foods that help maintain a strong and resilient immune system. Many studies have shown that Vitamin C deficiency can affect the body’s immunity, while additional doses can reduce the duration of disease. Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient, which means that the body does not store it, which is why it must be replaced.
- Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are very rich in beta-carotene, which the human body converts into Vitamin A. Sweet potato contains the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A and at the same time provides almost half of the daily requirement of Vitamin C. Also, sweet potatoes provide the body with manganese fiber, potassium, Vitamin B, and more antioxidants. Sweet potatoes can be transformed.