We are constantly being told to increase our immunity to prevent infections. Foods, supplements and exercise all find a mention in the quest for optimum immunity. Finding the right balance and eating the correct type of food however is imperative.
Let’s throw some light on the foods that are supposed to build immunity and check whether they live up to their reputation.
# Vitamin C supplements
It is a known fact that consuming Vitamin C helps build our immune system. However, while there are a host of supplements available on the market it is important to know which Vitamin C supplement is best suited for you. Excess intake of Vitamin C can be equally harmful and you would be better off speaking to your doctor before popping these supplements. Instead of market-bought products, try finding natural sources of Vitamin C and including these food items in your daily diet. This also ensures you consume the right amount of Vitamin C that your body can absorb and there is no ill effect like frequent urination that can happen due to excess intake of Vitamin C supplements.
Superfoods are a rave and highly popular. However, most of us mistake it to be the solution for all our health-related issues. Firstly, we need to understand that the word superfood is a marketing term created to promote food supplements. While the consumption of superfoods may be helpful, we need to understand that these mainly work as a catalyst to help us build our immune system and cannot be used as a medicine. A better alternative is to include colourful food items like fruits and vegetables in our daily intake and not depend on artificial nutrition elements. This will have a better impact on helping us build immunity than just consuming superfood pills.
# Citrus fruits
Indian food ingredients have a huge variety of food items that offer a host of vitamins and minerals. Assuming that only citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are only sources of boosting immunity is a common mistake made by us. There are many food items, for instance, red bell peppers, containing over 150 per cent of our daily value for vitamin C. Garlic has sulfuric compounds that have been shown to help improve immune system function. Similarly, carrots, which have a large amount of vitamin A are also a fantastic immunity booster. Bananas and sweet potatoes are the best immune-boosting foods for children because they contain vitamin B6. And it is a known fact that deficiencies of B6 can cripple the immune system.
# Only nutrients, no exercise
While having a balanced diet and the right type of food is important, it is equally necessary to have a balanced lifestyle. Doctors and health experts have confirmed that having proper sleep and rest also helps boost the immunity of the body. Similarly, regular exercise and maintaining a good work-life balance also help boost immunity. Some studies have also stated the importance of doing yoga and how it helps keep our immune system strong. According to experts, staying in a clean and hygienic environment with a good supply of fresh air has also helped people heal better and help in building immunity in the body.
# Good for all?
Everyone has a different body and their needs are different. When it comes to food, there is no one solution for all. So, before we take any type of supplements or food items we need to check if the intake is monitored for optimal absorption or its nutritional value. For instance, according to some, consuming turmeric with milk is a tried and tested ancient way of boosting immunity. However, someone may be lactose intolerant and this may cause them more harm. Similarly, certain health conditions require a personalised plan, which a qualified dietitian would be able to address.
While health experts agree that people with stronger immune systems are better equipped to handle health issues that we are currently facing, it is also important to consume proper food rather than just rely on food supplements.