Boost immune defenses with nutrient-rich foods

- February 20, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

As Spring arrives, it brings seasonal diseases with it. Dieticians prescribe immune-boosting foods to counteract respiratory infections and allergies

Fruits boost one's immunity, say doctors

As the winter in Delhi fades away and spring approaches, attention turns to health. It’s not just about switching to lighter cotton clothing; it’s about fortifying your immune system to combat diseases.

With the changing weather comes a host of ailments, especially allergies and respiratory illnesses. The transition from the chill of winter to the sweltering summer often leads to an uptick in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, making conditions ripe for coughs, colds, asthma, and other viral infections.

To better understand what foods can support a robust immune system and provide a boost to fend off infections, Patriot spoke with dieticians Ankita Gupta Sehgal and Nandni Chopra.

Citrus fruits: This is a popular type of fruit that is a rich source of fibre, minerals and vitamins, predominantly vitamin C. It includes fruits like oranges, lemons, guava, kinnow and others. Vitamin C supports your immune system and plays a role in maintaining healthy skin, bones and blood vessels.

Mediterranean diet: The Mediterranean diet, the healthiest diet around, has countless health benefits. Many of these involve the functioning of our immune system. Its important job is managing inflammation and chronic diseases. The main ingredient includes olive oil.

Leafy green: Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens are high in vitamin A, which is important for immune function.

Dry fruits: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts contain vitamin E, which helps increase T-cell count (T-cells directly kill infected host cells and regulate immune responses).

Mixed seeds: Mixed seeds are full of good nutrients and work as anti-oxidants. A healthy mix of super seeds consisting of pumpkin, sunflower, flax, watermelon and chia will meet all nutrient requirements.

Berries: Berries have immune-boosting benefits due to their polyphenol content, a type of plant antioxidant that gives berries like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, elderberries, raspberries and gooseberries their vibrant colour.

Polyphenols prevent cell damage and they interact with our gut bacteria to reduce inflammation, enhancing immune response.

Garlic: Garlic has been used for centuries in food and medicine. It contains compounds that help the immune system to fight germs. It has also been used as the first treatment to avoid colds and flu.