Foods that strengthen your immune system
First and foremost, follow national guidance for preventing COVID-19: avoid spreading the virus and cut your chances of catching it by regularly washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and reducing social contact. As well as protecting yourself from the virus on the outside, you can also build up your defences from the inside by strengthening your immune system. The immune system consists of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins. Together, these carry out bodily processes that fight off pathogens, which are the viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that cause infection or disease. When the immune system meets a pathogen, it triggers an immune response. The immune system releases antibodies, which attach to antigens on the pathogens and kill them. Incorporating specific foods into the diet may strengthen a person’s immune response, below are foods that can do so:
Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system. A study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection, or common cold, than those who did not.
Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine, which may help to boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that the body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants. Free radicals can damage the body’s cells and may contribute to disease.
Turmeric is a yellow spice that many people use in cooking. It is also present in some alternative medicines. Consuming turmeric may improve a person’s immune response. This is due to the qualities of curcumin, a compound in turmeric.
According to a 2017 review, curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. According to a 2014 report, long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a chronic autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body.
Broccoli is another source of vitamin C. It also contains potent antioxidants, such as sulforaphane. For these reasons, it is a good choice of vegetable to eat regularly to support immune system health.
Garlic is a common home remedy for the prevention of colds and other illness. One review looked at whether taking garlic supplements containing allicin reduced the risk of getting a cold. The group of participants taking a placebo had more than double the number of colds between them than those taking the garlic supplements. However, the researchers concluded that more research is necessary to determine if garlic can help to prevent colds.