This time of year during the winter season we experience mild to moderate cold. You will observe that we end up being more susceptible to colds and flu. An unattended cold or cough can hamper the immune system. Here are the Top 10 Indian foods to boost the immune system in winter.
A new gene study suggests there may be an increase in inflammation levels during winter. Another study shows, one gene involved in the body’s anti-inflammation response is increased during the summer. Whereas some genes involved in inflammation were increased in the winter.
With a dip in temperatures, there is a rise in respiratory tract infections like common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, rhinitis and pneumonia. The decrease in the temperature results in worsening of asthma. That is where your body’s immunity comes in picture. These top 10 Indian foods to boost the immune system in winter will help you in increasing your immunity.
Immunity is our body’s natural defense system against disease-causing bacteria and virus. The person with strong immunity can face the winters without falling prey to cough and cold or flu.
For a strong immune system, one needs a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, and adequate physical exercise. With a little care and precautions, we can easily beat the chill and stay healthy throughout winter. Let us first check ways to boost the immune system in winter
Ways to boost the immune system in winter –
Eat a balanced diet:
We all know proteins, carbohydrates and fats are important for the body. But also omega 3, Vitamins A, C, D and E selenium and zinc, are required to support your immune system. Consume whole grain foods, good quality protein, dals, and legumes, nuts and seeds, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Consume lots of Vitamin C:
Incorporate foods like fruits and vegetables, sprouts to increase vitamin C content in the diet. With the increase in stress, there is an increased need for vitamin C. During winters the metabolic rate of the body changes and requires excess vitamin C. A good intake of Vitamin c rich foods will boost the immune system in winter
During winters the thirst sensation is reduced. But still, the body needs adequate water to keep itself hydrated. The dryness in the skin is sometimes because of lack of water. Drink at least 10 – 12 glasses of water daily.
Sound and adequate sleep:
An individual needs 6 – 8 hours of sound sleep. During sleep, the body repairs itself. Sleep boost immune system in winter and all year long . With adequate sleep the immune system rejuvenates and keeps the body healthy.
Exercise increases our immune function, improves sleep quality, and makes our body stronger. A simple walk can also do wonders. Minimum of 150 hours in a week is required to boost the immune system in winter.
There are foods that help boost immunity and fight winter-related health issues. Let’s see those foods.
Top 10 foods that boost the immune system in winter
Ginger is a strong antioxidant root. It has antimicrobial property, the antibiotics found in ginger helps to eliminate congestion from the lungs. Ginger is helpful to solve gastric issues. It reduces acidity and prevents gastric cancers. The gingerol present in ginger inhibits the cell invasion and motility, thus preventing cancers. Ginger helps to relieve cold-related headaches. It reduces winter related arthritic inflammation. Use at least 1/3 tsp. dry ginger or 1 tsp. fresh ginger root in food or drink up to three times daily to boost the immune system in winter. You can also add ginger in fruit or vegetable juices. Read – Benefits of Ginger.
According to a research component curcumin, has anti-inflammatory properties that help boost the immune system in winter. Eating turmeric in its raw form is good. It’s a natural painkiller. It fights bacterial and viral infections. It is very effective to treat cold and flu during winters. Use turmeric in any food preparation or add it to milk. Read –Benefits of Turmeric.
Garlic protects against the common cold. : Garlic boosts the immune system in winter by increasing the rate of natural killer cell production. Killer cells attack the viruses or bacteria invasion. Use it liberally in your food preparations.
Spinach is loaded with antioxidants. It prevents immune cells from environmental damage. The antioxidants in spinach protect the enzymes that repair DNA damage. Use it as a vegetable or in soups or vegetable juices.
According to a study vitamin D in yogurt plays a role in regulating the body’s immune and tissue function. The protein content in the yogurt is useful to maintain immunity and boost the immune system in winter. Probiotics in yogurt are good bacteria that help fight infections. Consume at least 2 servings of yogurt per day.
Alternative medicines use cinnamon and honey to protect the immune system from bacterial or viral attacks. The essential oils in cinnamon have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cinnamon helps in relieving respiratory disorders faced during winters. Mix cinnamon powder with a teaspoon of honey and consume twice daily to boost the immune system in winter.
It contains a wide variety of bioactive molecules that have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities. Mushrooms create an alkaline environment in the body which boost the immune system in winter and fights diseases.
Oysters are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and organic compounds. Omega 3 is important for forming cell walls and steroid hormones. Omega-3 fatty minimizes inflammatory reactions and boosts the immune system in winter. The zinc in oysters increases wound healing rates and a boosts the immune system against various infections and microbes. The vitamin C and vitamin E content exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene that helps increase T cell activity in the body. T cells are known as the “helper” cells that fight infection. Vitamin A is required for skin health too. During winters the skin needs utmost care. It produces connective tissues in the body which helps repair skin cells.
The flavonoids in lemons contain antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer, and antiviral benefits. Vitamin C in lemons prevents the body from colds. Vitamin C protects the integrity of immune cells and increases levels of antibodies. Lemon raises the alkalinity of the body, boost the immune system in winter and prevents the body from any illnesses. Read – Benefits of lemon and lime and Benefits of drinking lemon water.
British Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology reveals that the lemon peels to contain antibacterial and anti-cancer benefits. Add lemon juice in your salads, vegetables, dals or juices or consume lemon water.
If you wish to follow a weight loss diet in winters, check our post – how to lose weight during winters?
It is observed that the body’s immunity is affected by seasonal variations. It is rightly said prevention is better than cure. Thus an intelligent choice of food with little care boost the immune system in winter and keeps the body safe from winter-related health issues.