The foundation of your good health is rooted in whole natural foods. Plant-based foods supercharge your immune system. Vegetables, fruits and herbs contain essential nutrients that you cannot get from other foods. Plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals to keep your body healthy and reduce inflammation. They boost your immune system and neutralise toxins from processed food, bacteria, viruses and pollution.
Here are superfoods for your immune support:
1. Fresh fruits and legumes
Eat fruits packed with vitamins C which is essential for your immune system. Head for lemons, oranges, apples, kiwi and more. Vegans should also go for nuts, almonds, seeds, whole grains and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans. They are rich in zinc and magnesium. Studies suggest that zinc keeps your immune system strong. It helps to prevent and minimise symptoms of colds and viruses and helps heal wounds.
Drink tea. When you are sick with a cold, flu, or fever, the most important thing your body needs is liquids. Water and herbal teas are essential for the revitalisation of your body. Studies show that warm fluids are more beneficial than cold drinks. When you drink cold fluids, your body uses the energy to heat the liquid up for digestion. Tea also delivers disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. Eight to 10 glasses of warm tea per day can help get rid of mucus and congestion and prevent dehydration that's common with fever.
Cook with mushrooms. Fungi increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more active. This is a good thing when you have an infection. Additionally, mushrooms are a source of many nutrients, including fibre, protein, selenium, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D, and E. They contain β-glucan, a polysaccharide stimulates immunity and has probiotic properties.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can bring to your table. This super-veggie, loaded with nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E as well as lots of antioxidants. Broccoli is best raw or lightly cooked, so the nutrients are retained. Broccoli is high in minerals like calcium and zinc, which means they are as good for immunity-boosting as they are for your bones.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C and packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune system. It also contains the nutrient folate, which helps your body make new cells. Eat it raw in salads or smoothies or lightly cooked in stir-fry dishes, soups or pasta.
6. Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin
One of the best ways to get some vitamin A into your body is by eating foods that contain beta-carotene such as sweet potatoes. This wonderful nutrient supports the production of infection-fighting cells in our body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, which is our outer barrier against bacteria and viruses. Pumpkin is also a good source of carotenoids, including beta carotene.
Ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory and is very effective against bacterial infections. It also helps in easing gut problems. You can add ginger to your cooking, but the best way is to eat it raw or drink ginger tea.
Don't be afraid to use more garlic. Garlic is a powerful superfood with antifungal and antiviral properties. One clove of garlic is packed with nutrients that help your body prevent and fight infections and germs. It contains calcium, potassium, and lots of sulfuric compounds, making a powerful mix to wipe out bacteria from your body.
Add Tumeric to your meals. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. It contains Curcumin; a phyto-derivative, which contains healing properties and helps to make your immunity stronger.
Remember that it's good to keep your gut in good shape. The bacteria that populate your gut have a strong influence on your immune system. Replenishing beneficial bacteria can help boost immunity. Probiotics may help improve the balance of bacteria in your stomach and prevent some illnesses. You can find vegan probiotics in soy, almond, coconut-based yoghurts and vegan-friendly fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut. Sauerkraut contains far more probiotics than yoghurt and its reach in vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.