The best way to think of your immune system is to think of the army – there to fight and protect anything that threatens to damage or take over, foreign or domestic! Our immune system protects us against infections, disease, and can also help us recover from injuries. In order for our immune system to protect us, we need to fuel it with the right food to give it the best armour possible. See below the foods you can incorporate into your diet to ensure your immune system is ready for battle. (Last army reference, I promise).
Vitamin C is an important nutrient to consume when you want to fight off sickness and improve the immune system. This is because Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells, which are essential to fight off infections. You’ll often find citrus fruits are filled with this vitamin, such as grapefruits, oranges, mandarins, lemons and limes (to name a few). Vitamin C needs to be consumed daily, as our body does not produce or store it. The recommended daily intake for women is 75mg, and for men, 90mg. 1 small orange contains 53.2mg, to give you a rough understanding on how much to consume.
Turmeric is an ingredient that comes with a lot of added benefits, as it helps the body naturally cleanse, and can assist in fighting infections such as colds and flu, due to its anti–inflammatory qualities.
It is the ingredient in Turmeric called cucurmin, which is actually what really assists and improves a healthy immune system. This ingredient can help fight against viral replication, and suppresses various inflammatory molecules which are responsible for the damage by viruses.
It’s common for people to order a juice with ginger to help fight off that tickling sensation at the back of their throat when one may feel they’re getting sick. That’s because ginger contains many potent anti-inflammatory compounds such as antioxidants, which help protect your body from damage.
You won’t have a strong immune system by consuming ginger for one day, so try drinking ginger tea regularly, or consuming a ginger concoction regularly.
Vitamin C as mentioned above is one of the essential nutrients to consume in order to have a healthy immune system, and broccoli is loaded with it! In fact, a half cup of broccoli contains 84% of the RDI (recommended daily intake) for vitamin C! Broccoli is also known to strengthen bones, improve skin, and is filled with fiber for a healthy digestive system.
Garlic is a popular ingredient when cooking, and can often leave you with an interesting smell of breath. However, garlic is beneficial not only for the strong flavour, but for our gut. When garlic is crushed or chewed, a compound called alliin, turns into allicin, which then converts into sulphur containing compounds. These compounds help assist the disease-fighting white blood cells, and as a result assists our gut fight off viruses, diseases or the common cold or flu. This will also assist with maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well.
Now of course each and everyone is different, so you should always consult a professional if you have any concerns or questions about your diet and nutrition and what will work best for you.