How to Boost your Immune System with these healthy food habits

By March 13, 2020Food for Thought

 

A strong immune system has always been super important to stay as healthy as possible. It helps protect you from all bacteria and viruses and especially today, we need to take care of our health as much as possible. 

We decided to share our two cents about how to strengthen your immune system with food in order to bolster yourself maximally.

Your immune system: how it works

Your immune system needs enough energy to make immune cells to protect our body from getting sick (Forbes). Your immune system is responsible for keeping “foreign invaders” out of your body. If they do enter, the cells need to start fighting against this invader (Verywell Health).

Another way to boost your immune system, besides healthy eating habits, is getting enough sleep. It’s very important that you stay home once you start feeling sick or start coughing (Business Insider). Taking a rest will give your immune system the ability to recover faster from the virus’s attack and it will prevent the virus from spreading to other people. This will flatten the curve of infected people. 

In times like this, it is also more important than ever to follow the general health guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). There’s no “golden rule on how not to get infected by the coronavirus”, but every part of your body simply functions better when your immune system is strong and bolstered by healthy living practices (Harvard Health Publishing). The WHO also continues to publish information and new advice to stay safe and protect yourself in the best way possible.

The truth is that there’s no magic solution or food that will protect you completely from any virus. However, you can make efforts to prematurely boost your immune system and, consequently, protect yourself. And a healthy diet plays a huge part in that!

Foods that boost your immune system

Vitamins and minerals are key to a healthy lifestyle, and some of them even contain extra nutrients to boost your immune system! 

Below you find a list of foods that enhance your immune system so it can defend your body at full force.

Vitamin C is the main vitamin to boost your immune system. It can only be found in fruit and vegetables. You’ll mainly want to look for citrus fruits, but also cabbage and potatoes.

Vitamin D has the ability to deduce the risk of respiratory infections. Catch some sun if the weather is nice or eat fatty fish like salmon. You might be surprised to learn that eggs also contain vitamin D (Gezondheidsnet, NYTimes).

Green vegetables and leafy greens consist of many vitamins and minerals, making them the perfect addition to your healthy meal! (Science Daily)

Superfoods, like nuts, berries and green tea, will empower you with many antioxidants to keep your immune system in good shape (Business Insider).

Ginger may help your body to resist bacteria and decrease inflammation (Healthline).

Lastly, garlic has immune-boosting properties that have recognized value in fighting infections (Healthline).

Practice food safety and hygiene at all times

Protecting yourself also means taking extra care while food prepping to ensure food safety. Even though the coronavirus is not spread by food or water itself, it is spread by sneezing, coughing and not washing your hands often.

So the point is: maintain basic hygiene in the kitchen. Always wash both your hands before preparing or consuming food. Always rinse your fruit and veggies to wash away physical contaminants and bacteria from the supermarket (Men’s Health).

Here’s a thing you should not do: there’s no need whatsoever to hoard or stockpile on non-perishables or other food (VRT NWS). Supermarkets are adding food to their stock every day. The government is aware as well that everyone needs food in the upcoming weeks, so supermarkets will remain open as usual here in Belgium. 

Stockpiling food will more often than not result in food going bad. Make sure to check the food labels and shelf-life of all food products before you buy or consume them.

 

Sleep, healthy food and hygiene have always been the main factors to build your immune system, but of course our bodies have their limitations. 

Keep up with these tips and then you’re doing everything that’s in your power to stay healthy!