Amidst the heavy-duty and hair-pulling journey of wedding planning, the last thing you want is to fall sick and there's no better cure than enriching your diet with gut-friendly foods, especially superfoods that help boost the human immune system. A hearty diet indeed plays an irreplaceable role in keeping us fit and sailing through the worst storms that wedding planning put us through. It’s important to adopt lifestyle habits that contribute to boosting your immunity at all times. Along with maintaining a healthy diet, taking proper sleep, managing stress, being active and practising proper hygiene is inevitable.
While It is normal that you might be intaking artificial supplements for common deficiencies like Vitamin D3, Iron, Zinc or Vitamin C, remember, they never have and never will be able to replace the power of superfoods. Using them as a replacement for a healthy diet will not just counterattack the supplements but will also make them immune to your system after a period of time, making them ineffective.
We are talking in the times when the world is battling deadly viruses like novel coronavirus and its on a hunt for people with poor immune systems. While there are no scientific pieces of evidence of being able to contract the virus with certain foods or supplements, intake of these superfoods will lessen the severity of the symptoms and might help in easy and faster recovery.
Of course, washing hands and remaining indoors at all times is the first step to avoid coming in contact with COVID-19, but loading your system with superfoods is as important as it gets. So here are 20 superfoods you must include in your diet to keep your immune system strong and resilient to any sorts of virus or flu.
Super Herbs & Spices
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Spices are the heart of any meal and are also very beneficial when consumed by themselves. Herbs and spices were botanically classified as fruits and vegetables until the time it was discovered that they do not have natural water and cannot be called fresh produce. However, they have higher levels of antioxidants present in them. They are packed with health-promoting properties of phytonutrients like flavonoids, carotenoids and other phenolics.
Garlic contains heaping compounds of potent health benefits and is packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, manganese, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. It helps eliminate cancer-producing cells, promotes bone strength, lowers the risk or heart-diseases and combats common flu. While the best way to reap the absolute benefits of Garlic is to consume a couple of cloves raw with lukewarm water, it might not sound and taste very pleasant. One age-old trick is to combine the stringent taste of garlic with something sweet. Munakka or dry grapes stuffed with a small clove of garlic works wonders. Munakka in itself is filled with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties and is a good source of iron and fibre. You can also make some garlic oil and use it for your regular cooking.
You may be taken by surprise to know that the levels of antioxidants present in 1 tablespoon ginger are equivalent to 1 cup spinach. Ginger is packed with Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus which helps aiding digestion, menstrual pain, lowers the risk of diabetes, promotes weight loss and improves the skin's health. Ginger honey water is a miraculous immunity-boosting potion. Not just it helps in staying clear of phlegm but makes for a delicious morning or evening drink. Grated ginger can be sprinkled on top of a bowl full of salad as well as in a bowl of your favourite ice-cream.
Turmeric is not just a versatile spice in Indian cuisines, its health benefits are quite impressive. Turmeric benefits the brain and body both with its nutrients and properties like Vitamin A, E, C & K, potassium, calcium and iron. Turmeric has also gained a lot of buzz internationally for its healing and beauty benefits. It has numerous medicinal benefits like reversing arthritis, Alzheimer's diseases and prevents eye conditions like glaucoma. The curcumin which is a natural anti-inflammatory compound present in turmeric slows the ageing process. You can add turmeric powder to your milk, add it to your smoothie bowl or make a simple turmeric water drink to cleanse and detoxify your system.
Fenugreek seeds help in lowering cholesterol levels, maintaining proper bowels, treats hormonal disorders and has also helped in recovering from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. To reap maximum benefits of fenugreek seeds, sprout 2-3 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds by soaking them in water overnight. You can season these sprouts and consume them as it is or mix them in your bowl of salad if you don't enjoy its original taste. You can also add the fenugreek powder to buttermilk, kokum water, lime water or even coconut water.
With high levels of antioxidants, Vitamin B6, B12, A, E, D & K, needed minerals and nutrients, cloves are small bombs of heaping health benefits. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, clove buds help to eliminate tooth-related concerns, especially wisdom tooth-ache or gum disorders. Cloves improve blood circulation, fights acne-causing bacteria, has fast-healing properties, regulates nausea and eliminates intestinal parasites. If you like the taste of cloves, pop a couple of clove buds and bite on them until they release its flavour and nutritional benefits gradually. If you cannot consume it raw, make beverages using clove water, like green tea or black coffee.
Crowned as the king of spices, black pepper is an all-purpose spice. From adding an edge to your cuisines to providing health benefits, pepper is a stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, carminative, antispasmodic, antimicrobial and an antioxidant. All of these properties help in clearing nasal passage and other respiratory disorders, eliminating fever, combating and lessening the impact of arthritis and also helps fight depression and prevents cancer. You can add pepper to almost anything and everything so using peppers on a regular basis shouldn't be a problem. Beat it with your eggs or add it to your tea, it just blends well with all kinds of foods.
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Loading up on veggies is one of the easiest ways of boosting your immunity and staying clear of any health-concerns. Veggies keep your digestive system out of danger and improved metabolism. Along with reducing the chances of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, veggies help your skin look youthful and radiant.
Supercharged with vitamins and minerals, Broccoli contains vitamin A, C & E and other antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals. Eating broccoli offers numerous health benefits like reduced blood sugar, cholesterol levels and oxidative stress. One of the many reasons broccoli is a superfood is because it has an effective cancer elimination ability. Gut-wrenching cancers like breast, prostate, bladder, kidney and stomach are believed to be cured with the required amount of broccoli intake. You can consume this superfood in the form of soup, salad or just blanched and seasoned.
Spinach, without a doubt, has exceptional health benefits and is the most nutrient-dense vegetable. Adding adequate amounts of spinach in your diet will enrich your nutrition by multi-folds as it is bursting with Vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, C, K1, B9, B6 & E and minerals like iron, calcium and zinc. Spinach promotes bone health, heart health, reduces oxidative stress and blood pressure levels. Toss in some nicely cleaned spinach leaves in a salad bowl or make yummy and delicious spinach sandwiches to satiate your gut and soul.
Power-packed with Vitamin A, C, B6, manganese, potassium and copper, sweet potatoes can cure serious illnesses like heart diseases and cancers. Loaded with antioxidants and dietary soluble & insoluble fibres helps in keeping the intestinal lining strong and healthy and is of the most gut-friendly veggies. The gut plays an important role in building a healthy immune system. Sweet potato chat and mashed sweet potatoes are two interesting ways to consume this superfood on a regular basis.
Available in variants of red, yellow and green, bell peppers are exceptionally rich in vitamin C, B6, K1, A & E. All of these properties aim at boosting immunity and fighting common and seasonal flu. Bell peppers are low in calories and rich in fibre. Along with improving bone health and formation of red blood cells, bell pepper can improve eye health and lessens the chances of being anaemic. These superfoods can help you create incredibly delicious dishes like stuffed bell peppers or garlic and herb sauteed bell peppers.
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Incorporating fruits in your diet is essential to maintain calorie intake and give your body some natural sugars. A diet which includes the goodness and nutrients of fruits reduces a person's risk of heart attacks and strokes, improves skin health and packs them with antioxidants. Fruits also help in keeping cancer making cells at bay.
Berry lovers, you’re in for a treat! Interestingly, blueberries are a good source of vitamins like KI, C and minerals like manganese and amino acids and are loaded with antioxidants. Blueberries take care of heart-related disorders, keeps a check on blog sugar levels and amplifies brain health. Blueberries can be consumed fresh or in the form of jams and jellies. Blueberry shake and smoothie make for delectable dishes if you’re looking at wholesome recipes.
Kiwi is not just good-tasting fruit but is packed with noticeable health benefits and full of fibre and nutrients like Vitamin C, K, E, potassium and folate. You’ll be surprised to know that the fuzzy brown peel of a kiwi is as edible as the small black seeds and green sweet and tangy flesh. Kiwi is best known to treat asthmatic patients and aid digestion alongside reducing the risk of heart diseases and high blood pressure. Regular intake of kiwi fruit can lower the risk of colon cancer, regulate stress hormones and procure vision loss. Indulge in a bowl-full of kiwi or make a smoothie to satiate your taste buds.
The power-house of Vitamin C, oranges are one of the first fruits that come to mind when you think of immunity-boosting superfoods. Not just that, they are a wholesome source of fibre and antioxidants. We are all aware of the multiple health benefits oranges provide–Improved digestion, weight loss, lower risk of heart disease and cholesterol are some to name a few. Best way to consume oranges is as a whole fruit but you can always make juice out of it if chewing all the fibre looks like a tiresome job to you.
Papaya is full of antioxidants that help in the elimination of free radicals, which if increased in the body, can lead to chronic diseases. It improved metabolism, digestion, heart health and skin concerns. Packed with anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties, papaya is enriched with Vitamin A & K. You can include this fruit in your breakfast, appetizer, drink or dessert and reap full benefits with optimum taste.
Super Seeds & Nuts
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Nuts and seeds have wholesome benefits of healthy fats, fibre, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory properties present in nuts help the body self-heal itself from injuries, bacterias and other harmful pathogens. Some of the nuts and seeds considered as superfoods are almonds, cashews, walnuts, chia seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds. They can easily be added in your regular diet along with salads, smoothies, oatmeal or can simply be added to yoghurt.
The bottom line is, all these superfoods are not just packed with one or two nutrients but are a powerhouse of multiple health benefits that help in boosting immunity alongside providing other dietary benefits. So stock up your pantry and load yourself up with these superfoods to battle, not just COVID-19, but also be prepared for the unforeseen health crisis our world might be knocked over with.
"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates
How are you incorporating these superfoods in your diet? Share your innovative ideas with us below!