Nutrition plays a big role in boosting your immune system. What you eat ultimately defines how your body battles pathogens in the environment. In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, more people are showing interest in preventive medicine to make sure they stay healthy.
Here’s a list of suggested foods to add to your daily diet to help prevent not only COVID-19 but also other diseases.
- Fermented foods. Once consumed, the bacteria in fermented foods are detected by the immune cells, causing the cells to spur into action and produce antibodies. Studies show that a diet that lacks fermented foods decreases the immune system’s capacity to fight infections. Some common fermented foods are kimchi, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and yogurt.
- Tea. The polyphenols and flavonoids found in tea (whether white, green or even black) help fight diseases. These are also much lower in caffeine compared to coffee so you can consume this in larger amounts. The antioxidants found in tea hunt and destroy free radicals that damage cells. Make sure to look for good quality tea; more often than not, cheap teabags contain micro-plastics, and in extreme cases, pesticides.
- Vitamin C-rich food. While it's probably a reflex to reach for a Vitamin C supplement when you start feeling sick, it’s always better to get your dose of vitamins from natural food sources so you can also benefit from its entire nutrient profile. Vitamin C-rich food includes citrus fruits and juices, berries, papaya, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.
- Mushrooms. The humble fungus packs a strong punch in terms of nutrients. In Eastern medicine, various types of mushrooms are used for their many health benefits including an increase in brainpower, protection against inflammation, and enhanced immune function.
- Turmeric. In recent years, turmeric has taken the spotlight and has penetrated the market in the form of powder, capsules, and drinks, among others. In many Asian countries, it is considered a natural remedy and immune booster because of the active compound curcumin, which is found to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
It’s important to remember that even if you eat foods that can improve your immune system, it will prove useless if you consume large amounts of alcohol, don’t get enough sleep, don’t exercise regularly, and have a poor diet in general. Make sure to strike a balance between proper nutrition, exercise, and high-quality sleep to help your body combat diseases.