How to boost your immune system: Superfoods that keep you fit, disease free in monsoon
If you want to boost your immune system and make it strong in monsoon to stay fit and disease free, you must include a few fruits and veggies in your diet. Here’s help from experts on how to design a diet plan to increase your immunity level.fitness Updated: Jun 15, 2018 11:48 IST
It is a myth that only fancy, exorbitantly priced, exotic foods can give you great health or boost your immunity levels to keep you disease free and fit. In fact, nature has bestowed each region with foods that are specifically suitable to the climatic conditions of the region. So, it’s imperative we consume regional and seasonal foods.
This monsoon, boost your immunity with the following foods:
All kinds of citrus fruits give an instant boost to the immune system because of the abundant amounts of vitamin C they contain. Lemon, which is the most easily available of them, can also be called a miracle fruit. “Although acidic, it instantly creates an alkaline environment in the body, thereby reducing the effect of any kind of inflammation. Disease-causing germs and viruses can thrive only in an acidic environment,” says Mumbai-based Parul Shethia Pandey, a natural living expert, educator and Ojas Life proponent. Hence, lemon can be used to control any illness and to fortify the immune system. It also has amazing cleansing properties that purify blood and are extremely beneficial to the digestive system. Moreover, it contains antioxidants that reverse the aging process.
Greens are secret superfoods that have been ignored for centuries. They contain chlorophyll, which is the primary source of nutrition prepared by the plant world. “Chlorophyll, when consumed in its natural form, turbo-charges our immune system and gives us tremendous energy. However, cooking destroys this all important chlorophyll. As all green and leafy vegetables are beneficial, we should rather include them in our daily diet in the form of juices, smoothies or simply add them to our salads,” says Pandey. In monsoons, we can soak and rinse the greens in salt water to get rid of any germs or toxins, before consuming them.
Foods high in Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. “Its deficiency is associated with mood disorders, anxiety and depression, as it helps in making the hormone serotonin which regulates the mood. It helps in maintaining a healthy nervous system,” says Dr Dhaval Shah, co-founder of Pharmeasy. Protein rich foods like meat, fish and poultry, beans are good sources of Vitamin B6.
It is an instant snack that is a wonderful, healthy alternative to a vada pao or a burger. At one-third the price of processed, unhealthy fast food, you can feed yourself bananas and gain innumerable health benefits in the process. “Banana is rich in potassium and magnesium and is a great source of minerals. It has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the cholesterol levels in the body. It has antioxidants and is a mood lifter. It is also a great source of energy, favoured by sportspersons all over the world. Even for infants and little kids, bananas have been found to be as safe as mother’s milk,” says Pandey.
Coconut, like bananas, has a special place of privilege in the Indian tradition. It is present in many religious rituals and auspicious occasions. It is now also hailed as a superfood with anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It can be consumed in different forms — as coconut water, coconut milk or virgin coconut oil. “Great for skin and hair health, it is also useful in dental health because of its properties of killing harmful microorganisms. In view of the detrimental effects of the A1 milk of Jersey cow, buffaloes and rampant milk adulteration, coconut milk can prove to be a fantastic alternative to dairy for children and elderly alike,” says Pandey.
Foods with Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. “Nuts and seeds, plant oils and vegetables like kale are good sources of vitamin E,” adds Dr Shah.
It is essential to include different coloured fruits and vegetables in your diet, and tomatoes must form an essential part of your diet. “Tomato owes its bright red colour to the presence of a carotenoid called lycopene, which is believed to have the highest antioxidant activity of all the carotenoids. It also reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer, controls blood pressure, fights obesity and helps in cell repair. Tomato seeds help in maintaining the pH balance of the body. All in all, this tiny fruit is a powerhouse of health benefits,” says Pandey.
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First Published: Jun 15, 2018 08:55 IST