50 ESSENTIAL FOODS TO BUILD YOUR IMMUNITY

The Coronavirus! The virus which has engulfed and changed the face of the earth in so many different ways. I’m convinced that it is Mother Natures way of healing itself, after we humans have been brutally abusing her for such a long time.

Many of us are anxious all the time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We frantically check for immunity boosting tips, tricks and foods from time to time from various sources like books, magazines and on the internet. I personally kept doing that as I suffer from asthma and I am at the higher risk of catching the virus if I’m not cautious and careful.

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50 important and essential foods to build your immune system

Some of us have limited supplies of groceries in our pantries at the moment while some others stockpiled unapologetically without being considerate of others around them.

I’ve listed 50 different foods and drinks below to boost or build your immunity. These should be included in your diet and should be consumed on a daily basis.

However, we can curb this Covid-19 pandemic only and only if we stay indoors and self isolate. Wash our hands or sanitize them regularly and maintain basic hygiene. #SELFISOLATION #STAYATHOME

The NHS UK
Also check: The NHS website to know more about how to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

1. WATER

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Simple, clear water is very good for your overall health.

Drinking water is important for the normal functioning of the body. It is recommended that an average human should drink at least 2 litres of water per day. It is something which is cheap to buy and easily available too. The best type of water to drink is plain, simple water.

Keeping hydrated helps our body to fight any infections. It makes one feel more energetic and you’ll also see a difference in your skin health and hair growth. We personally try to have as many cups of warm water during these self isolating days as possible.

So, take a break and sip on some water before continuing to read any further.

2. GREEN TEA

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Green Tea is best had in the morning

Green Tea is known to be had by everyone who wants to shed those extra inches off their waist. It is packed with antioxidants and is beneficial for the heart health.

I normally like to start my day with a cup of green tea.

See here.

3. PEPPERMINT TEA

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Peppermint tea is perfect as a mid day cuppa

Peppermint is perfect as a digestive herb. It is good to cure for stomach pains, dyspepsia, colic, nausea and easing the symptoms of colds.

4.CHAMOMILE TEA

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Chamomile tea is very soothing!

This is an excellent bedtime drink with a soothing fragrance. It is also gentle on the urinary tract, and soothes any inflammation there.

It helps reduce colic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. A cup during your menses will help soothe any menstrural cramps. It is also helpful for people with diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and osteoarthritis.

5. GINSENG TEA

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Ginseng tea is widely drunk in China, Korea and Japan.

Ginseng helps to boosts ones immunity. It helps patients who have undergone surgery or chemotherapy to remain disease free for a longer period of time.

It is known to enhance the effects of certain vaccinations too. It helps to fight fatigue making you feel energised. It is also know to lower blood sugar levels in the body.

6. STAR ANISE TEA

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Star Anise Tea helps build your immunity and strengthen you

Star anise tea is good for you if you’ve got a soar throat or even a cold. It helps in reducing the inflammation as it is rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Make a tea by boiling 2 or 3 seed pods in water for 15-20 mins.

7. TURMERIC

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Golden milk helps to cure colds and flus

Turmeric is widely used in Indian cooking as it is a very versatile spice. It has numerous benefits. Due to its antiseptic properties, it can helps to keep colds, flus and coughs away, if had with warm water or milk.

It has healing properties and the world has learnt to have it in the form of turmeric lattes or golden milk. It has unique healing properties. It is perfect to remove impurities both externally and internally.

8.CINNAMON

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Cinnamon is good to add to your sweet pies and masalas teas

Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants that helps boost your immunity and fight inflammation. It helps to facilitate blood circulation all over the body. It is also good for healthy skin so make sure to add it to your daily food intake. It is also good for a healthy heart.

The best type of cinnamon is ceylon cinnamon quills.

9. CARDAMOM

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Cardamom tastes best when added to a milk tea

Cardamom has cooling properties. Cardamom is good to add to milk or as a flavouring. It is good to calm you down and make you feel less anxious.

It has antioxidant and antispasmodic properties. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is used as a cure for asthma. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties too.

10. CUMIN

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Eating a teaspoon full of cumin seeds helps with digestion

Cumin has cooling properties and is widely used in Indian cooking. It is good for your digestive system and helps fight infections. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties too.

Cumin seeds increase your Vitamin C intake. It helps to manage respiratory disorders. It acts as an expectorant and anti-congestive agent. It aids in clearing the airways, lungs, bronchi and trachea. If you have asthma, cumin seeds is a natural remedy for you.

11.FENNEL

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Fennel seeds are eaten as a natural mouthfreshener

Fennel seeds have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti inflammatory and immunity boosting properties. It provides instant relief from cold and flu. It is enriched in Vitamin C. It is also served in Indian restaurants as a mouthfreshner at the end of your meal.

12. PEPPERCORN

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I love my food with a lot of freshly crushed pepper in it!

Peppercorns boiled with water along with the Indian basil leaves (tulsi) is an infusion which is had to cure cold in the chest or asthma. Add a little freshly crushed pepper powder to turmeric milk too or add lots of pepper to your food or in some nice hot chicken soup.

13. CURRY LEAVES

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Curry leaves are also eaten raw to cure various diseases and ailments.

Curry leaves have anti-bacterial properties and is widely used in indian cooking. You can use it in your dals and other recipes like potato bhaji, poha, etc.

It helps in keep diabetes under control. It is good for your eyesight and also facilitates weight loss. It relives morning sickness and nausea. It helps to heal wounds, burns and other skin eruptions. Back home in Goa, India it grows in abundance in our garden.

14. TULSI (INDIAN BASIL)

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Hindu households worship the Holy Basil

Tulsi helps in treating anxiety and reducing stress. Tulsi is good to combate respiratory ailments like bronchitis, asthma, colds, congestions, flu, coughs, soar throats, sinusitis and similar others.

Tulsi is traditionally used to make a concoction which helps in curing flus and colds. It helps to relieve arthritis pains and some gastrointestinal disorders. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

15. ROSEMARY

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Rosemary is ahumble spice I love using while roasting potatoes

Rosemary is high in antioxidants and also has high anti inflammatory properties which helps in boosting ones immune system. It helps in improving blood circulation too.

It helps you increase your focus and alertness. So make sure to add it to all your roast dinners or roasted potatoes.

Check this Roasted chicken recipe.

16. SUNFLOWER SEEDS

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Lightly toast or roast these seeds to enhance the flavour and crunch

Sunflower seeds are good to include in your daily diet plan. It helps to support the immune system. They are rich in Vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids.

It is perfect if you feel like nibbling on something out of your meal times.

17. NUTS

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A handful of different nuts is a must for you unless you’ve got an allergy.

A small amount of mixed nuts and specially almond should be added to your daily diet. It is packed with vitamin E, Vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and essential fatty acids. The most nutritious are almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts, etc. However, due to their high fat content they have to be eaten in moderation.

Check out this cookie recipe.

18. WHOLEGRAIN BREAD

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Freshly baked bread tastes amazing with some lightly spread butter.

Wholegrains are low in fat and a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Unprocessed wholegrains should used in making this bread as it retains most of its nutrients.

19. LENTILS, PULSES AND BEANS

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Various different pulses and beans

Lentils and beans provide a good amount of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals to our body. They are low in fat so can be eaten quite frequently. Beans also contain phytoestrogens which protect our bodies from certain cancers.

Check: Red lentil dal

20. OATS

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Oats are perfect for your busy mornings.

Oats are good for you. Having oats in the morning as an oatmeal or porridge is healthy and good to boost your immune system. It is good to detox your body too.

Oats are full of fibre and nutrients essential for a healthy diet. Oat bran is also excellent.

See more here.

21. SEMOLINA

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Semolina is also used for different dishes in Goa

When we were younger, our mum used to cook semolina with whole milk and sugar as a thick porridge like consistency for us for breakfast or as a tea time snack. It was flavoured with some cardamom powder or nutmeg powder. It is also given to small kids to build their immunity and strengthen their muscles.

22. FINGER MILLET (RAGI/ NACHANI)

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Tezan is essential for little kids to strenthen their bones and muscles

In Goa, tezan is made by boiling ground ragi with milk or water or even coconut milk. It is flavoured with sugar or jaggery. This too is given to babies or small kids to make them stronger. Not everyone loves the taste but this is very good to build your immune system.

23. RAW HONEY

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Honey is best had in its purest form

Honey has soothing properties. I prefer using natural honey removed from the honeycomb when in Goa or Manuka honey when in the U.K. which is available at any Holland & Barrett store. Add it to your turmeric milk or tulsi concoction whenever you drink it as a substitution for sugar. Honey contains various nutrients and is rich in anti oxidant properties. Honey has positive effects on cholesterol levels so make sure to add honey to your pancakes instead of any other syrup.

Also see here.

24. BONE BROTH

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Soup made of bone marrow

This is something my mum used to make and give us when we were little. It is just a broth made by boiling beef or mutton bones. In India it is called the famous paya soup. The bone marrow is good for you and helps to build your immunity.

25. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

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The best place to buy olive oil is from the farmers market or directly from the olive tree farm

Certain types of oils are essential to our diet. Olive oil tastes good and can be added to salads, pasta, etc. It contains essential fatty acids and vitamin E.

Check: Festive salad, Chino-Italian Pasta.

26. GHEE

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Homemade ghee is the best kind of ghee

Ghee is good to build your gut health. It has anti-oxidant and anti inflammatory properties. It improves heart health. It helps in developing a faster metabolism. It aids weight loss.

Ghee is high in Vitamin A and also strengthens your bones and prevents tooth decay.

27. KIWI

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Kiwi is an exotic fruit which is vital for your diet

I got into the habit eating kiwis while I was studying in Mumbai. It is a powerhouse of vitamin C. It is a good sleep inducer. It is also loaded with many other vitamins and minerals. Add it to your green smoothies or even fruit salads.

28. BLUEBERRIES

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Add these to your smoothies, pancakes, muffines, etc.

Blueberries contain high flavonoids which is a type of antioxidant which reduces cell damage and boosts the immune system. They are high in vitamins, dietary fibres, manganese, potassium, etc.

Add it to your fruit bowls, oatmeal, porridge as a topping, muffins, pancakes, smoothies, etc.

29. PAPAYA

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Papaya salad is also a good option

Papaya is high in Vitamin C. It has a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti inflammatory effects. It is a good fruit to facilitate various different overall functions of the body.

30. WATERMELON

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Watermelon is best eaten cold,so refridgerate it for sometime.

Watermelon helps to hydrate your body. It is high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, Vitamin B 1, B5 and B6, Magnesium, Potassium, etc. It is a low calorie fruit and is best had during summers.

31. POMEGRANATE

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Freshly made pomegranate juice is also a winner

Pomegranates are high in fibre, proteins, numerous vitamins, potassium, etc. It helps reduce obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, etc. Add it to your smoothies or salads.

Click here for more.

32. ACAI BERRY

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A Acai bowl in the morning for breakfast is also a good breakfast food

Acai berries help boost your immunity and they also have anti inflammatory effects. They are powerpacked with antioxidants and an acai bowl is very tasty and good for you. It can be had as a breakfast bowl.

33. APPLES

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is a famous saying we’ve all come across at least once in our life time. Apples are rich in fibre and pectin. It contains vitamin C which is crucial to boost our immunity. It is also high in betacarotene and fructose which helps in boosting our energy. Apples have fruit acids which aid in proper digestion and in turn helps to remove toxins from the liver.

Some apple recipes to try: Apple Pie, Apple chutney.

34. CITRUS FRUITS

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Variety of citrus fruits

Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, clementines, limes, etc. These are high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in increasing the production of white blood cells which are important to fight infections. A daily dose of vitamin C is important for the body.

Being high in antioxidant vitamin C, oranges help to protect us against free radicals. They help reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer. They stimulate the digestive system.

Grapefruits are high in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. If eaten at the start of a meal, it stimulates proper digestion.

It is good to start you day with a squeeze of lemon with warm water. It acts as an antiseptic and is a powerful cleanser. It helps to stimulate the gall bladder and the liver. Add a squeeze of lime or lemon to your meals and mainly to salads.

Check out: 5 ways to healthy living, lime pickle, orange scones and orange polenta cake.

35. SWEET POTATO

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Sweet potato are best eaten by boiling them

Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and a great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, etc. It helps to promote gut health and has cancer fighting properties. It is high in betacarotene, Vitamin A, etc.

A sweet potato pie or even roasted potatoes are just perfect. You can also boil them plain, peel the skin off and eat it with some honey. In Goa, they mix coconut milk flavoured with jaggery or a grated coconut mixture with jaggery and eat the sweet potato with that.

36. INDIAN GOOSEBERRY (AMLA)

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Amla is high in Vitamin C

Amla is a superfood. It is high in Vitamin C and helps in fighting infections. It reduces the risk of heart diseases. It is an effective cure for constipation and is a great home remedy for hyperacidity and stomach ulcers.

37.MUSHROOMS

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Plain grilled mushrooms are perfect for breakfast

Mushroom have cancer fighting properties and immunity boosters. Beta glucan is a sugar found in the cell walls present in mushrooms which is good for your immune system.

Try this recipe: Mushroom stir fry or mushroom wrap recipe.

38. TOMATOES

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A raw tomato salad is always very good

Tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Tomatoes are good for the liver and help to reduce inflammation caused by cirrhosis.

Make sure to add tomatoes to your diet in the form of a plain tomato salad or in a sandwich or even in any food prepared.

Check this recipe: Shakshouka

39. SPINACH

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Make sure your kids eat spinach as part of their daily intake

Personally, I know that a lot of people do not like spinach. But it is a very versatile leafy vegetable rich in iron, vitamin K, Manganese, Vitamin E, Vitamin B2 and B6, Vitamin C, calcium and folate. It must be included in your diet whenever possible. Add it to your stir frys, soups, etc. Maybe even make a palak paneer recipe. I personally love a nice caldo verde soup.

40. BROCCOLI

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Plain boiled broccoli is the best

Broccoli is good for you. It is best had parboiled or raw, mixed in smoothies or green juices or salads. It is perfect for detoxing the body. It contains cancer fighting phytochemicals and also has a high level of Vitamin C and Vitamin B, folate, antioxidents, fibre, Vitamin A , Vitamin E, zinc, calcium, iron and potassium.

You can add it to any veggie stir fry, fried rice or even pasta.

41. RED BELL PEPPERS

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make a salad out of it and try to eat it raw

Red bell peppers contain even more vitamin C than citrus fruits. It is rich in betacarotene. This is also good for healthy skin and eyes

Add it to your salad, pulaos, chicken curries, etc.

42. CHILLIES

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Chillies in moderation is a must

Chillies help in increasing the body’s metabolism and also helps in burning fat. It helps in preventing heart ailments. It is high in antioxidants and endorphins.

43. GINGER

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Plain ginger with a little sugar can help stop an irritaing throat

Ginger has a soothing effect on the digestive system. It is also good for the circulatory system. It helps reduce inflammation like soar throat and other inflammatory diseases. It decreases nausea, chronic pain. It may also contain cholestrol reducing properties.

You can even make a nice ginger tea with ginger or add it to your turmeric milk. Eat it plain too whenever you have a non stop cough or throat irritation.

Try this recipe: Gingersnap cookies

44. GARLIC

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I love a lot of garlic in my food

I love adding a lot of garlic to my food. It certainly does enhance the flavour of food. For those who do not like the taste or smell of garlic, odourless garlic tablets are available.

Garlic has numerous benefits. It helps in fighting infections. It has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is rich in antioxidants and amino acids. It helps to lower the blood pressure and slows down the hardening of the arteries. It boosts immunity as it has a higher concentration of sulfur containing compounds like allicin.

Try these recipes: Garlic Noodles, Garlic pulao and Masala-Garlic Okra.

45. YOGHURT

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Plain yoghurt is better than the flavoured one

Yoghurt is good for you!!! Eat low or no fat versions and also eat sugar free versions. Yoghurt is rich in important nutrients and is high in protein. It helps in strengthening your immune system. It may promote weight management. It is high in calcium and protein and is good for your bone health.

46. DARK CHOCOLATE

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One piece a day or in moderation is good for you

Dark chocolate is a sweet treat which is a very good source of antioxidants. It lowers the risk of heart diseases and helps to improve your blood flow. It also improves brain function.

Also see here.

47. EGGS

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1 egg a day should be mandatory to your diet unless your a vegetarian or vegan or allergic

Eggs are high in Omega 3 and is good for a healthy heart. It is a rich source of protein, zinc and selenium which is good for your immunity.

Try out this recipe: Shakshouka, omelette, etc.

48. SALMON

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Salmon is best eaten grilled

Salmon has a high content of oil which is extremely beneficial to your health, especially heart health.

Plain baked salmon with basic season and some olive oil is just a perfect brunch or lunch idea.

49. SHELLFISH

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A variety of shellfish

Some types of shellfish are high in zinc and other vitamins and minerals. It is healthy for you and helps in boosting your immunity.

Check this recipe: Prawn chilli fry and Prawn balchao recipe.

50. POULTRY

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Chicken roast dinner

Poultry is a good source of protein and helps build your immunity. It is generally low in fat. Cooked chicken or turkey breast can be used in many ways to cook various different recipes. It can be combined with various spices, herbs and veggies.

A hearty chicken soup with lots of veggies and ginger is perfect to keep colds and the flu away.

Also check: Chicken pulao, Chicken biryani, Chicken curry, chicken pan-fried, roast chicken, chicken xacuti, chicken stir fry.

Besides all these foods, there are many more immunity boosting foods available. However, there’s other immunity boosting supplements available in the market too to boost your immune system. But it is always a good idea to add natural foods in your daily diet. All this should be accompanied by some basic body movement and exercise.

Disclaimer: The images for this post have been sourced from the Canva App.

Also, do not forget to leave a comment and let me know what you eat or do to boost your immunity these days and normally on a day to day basis.

If this post was helpful do not forget to like, share and subscribe to the blog for more such posts coming up soon.

Until then,

STAY SAFE, STAY HEALTHY AND PLEASE STAY AT HOME!!!

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