Which foods help boost our immune system? Well, according to BMI Health Care eating healthily can boost your wellbeing in countless ways, and bolstering your immune system is just one of these.
Eating a good mix of all the food groups, avoid overly salty, sweet or processed foods, and eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
There are certain foods that contain particularly high levels of vitamins and minerals known to boost the immune system. So are these really ‘immune system booster foods’?
Well, yes and no. Eating certain foods can certainly support a healthy immune system and improve your overall health. But they won’t automatically make you able to fight off infections. You’ll only feel their benefit as part of a healthy lifestyle overall.
The top 15 foods that can help boost your immune system are –
5. Citrus Fruits
6. Bell Peppers
13. Sweet Potato
15. Live Yoghurt
To find out more why these 15 foods help boost your immune system then check out this article on BMI Health Care.
Health Harvard point out that like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition’s effect on the immune system, however, is not certain. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans.
They say it’s not just the food we eat that can boost our immune system it’s doing all the other right things that will work which include not smoking, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight,drink alcohol in moderation, get adequate sleep and remember to wash your hands frequently.
- Vitamin C. According to a review in over 11,000 people, taking 1,000–2,000 mg of vitamin C per day reduced the duration of colds by 8% in adults and 14% in children. Yet, supplementing did not prevent the cold to begin with (7Trusted Source).
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency may increase your chances of getting sick, so supplementing may counteract this effect. Nonetheless, taking vitamin D when you already have adequate levels doesn’t seem to provide extra benefits (31Trusted Source).
- Zinc. In a review in 575 people with the common cold, supplementing with more than 75 mg of zinc per day reduced the duration of the cold by 33% (32Trusted Source).
- Elderberry. One small review found that elderberry could reduce the symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections, but more research is needed (33Trusted Source).
- Echinacea. A study in over 700 people found that those who took echinacea recovered from colds slightly more quickly than those who received a placebo or no treatment, but the difference was insignificant (34Trusted Source).
- Garlic. A high quality, 12-week study in 146 people found that supplementing with garlic reduced the incidence of the common cold by about 30%. However, more research is needed (35Trusted Source).
While these supplements demonstrated potential in the studies mentioned above, that doesn’t mean they’re effective against COVID-19.
Furthermore, Healthline say supplements are prone to mislabeling because they aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, you should only purchase supplements that have been independently tested by third-party organizations like United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and ConsumerLab.
And, of course if you are taking regular medication then see you GP before you start taking any supplements. For more information head to the Healthline website.