Often when going to the doctor the first question we hear is about our diet because the foods we consume play an important role in our health and in keeping our immune system strong. Just as some foods can be toxic to our body and cause serious conditions, there are also certain foods that can particularly strengthen our physical health to better fight inevitable illnesses.

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, it is crucial now more than ever to pay attention to what we consume. Today there is still no cure or approved vaccine for COVID-19, but a healthy diet and strong immune system can help our body fight against viruses and germs in general.These are seven foods that you can add to your diet to boost and strengthen your immune system and prevent colds, the flu, and other infections.

Citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes are high in antioxidants. They also contain vitamin C, which is important because it increases the production of white blood cells that fight foreign germs and bacteria.

The consumption of citrus fruits can help you repair skin tissues, improve the function of your immune system, and decrease cold symptoms. Adult women should consume at least 75 milligrams of vitamin C per day, while men should have 90 milligrams.

Other fruits that are excellent sources of vitamin C are kiwis and grapefruits. Consuming a sufficient amount of the important vitamin and antioxidant per day is not difficult. Just one grapefruit contains 80 milligrams of vitamin C while one medium orange has 70 milligrams.
Extra virgin olive oil
Extracted from the olive tree, olive oil, especially extra virgin oil olive, is a food that contains plenty of fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties to boost the human immune system and help in protecting against infection and chronic illnesses.

Extra virgin oil is also rich in vitamin E and antioxidants that can help the body fight inflammation and protect blood cholesterol from oxidation. Considered a healthy fat, olive oil can also help in maintaining a healthy weight and support muscle gain.

Besides its many health benefits, olive oil is a delicious and a great addition to any meal you are having whether it is a salad, pasta, or grilled food. Next time you are preparing your food, ditch the unhealthy oils and add olive oil to your diet for a savory meal and a healthier body.

Yogurt
Yogurt is another food that can boost and strengthen your immune system, especially Greek yogurt. This, however, does not include the flavored ones sometimes loaded with sugar, which can be unhealthy. Plain yogurt has a high amount of protein and vitamin D that can help in bone and skin strength as well as regulate your immune system.

The yummy snack is also a good source of probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that have many benefits for the body and brain, such as improving digestion, detoxification, relieving irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, and lowering heart disease.

Read also: Six Healthy Late-Night Snacks to Promote Quality Sleep
To add flavor to the yogurt and make it a delicious and healthy light meal, mix it with fruits and honey. Alternatively, use it as a salad dressing in either vegetable or egg salad—you can also replace your mayonnaise with yogurt to have a similar flavor with healthy benefits.

Broccoli

Broccoli is another source of great vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and antioxidants. They play an important role in helping to regulate and strengthen your immune system and fight off illnesses, which makes the tree-like vegetable one of the best foods to serve on your plate.

Other important nutrients in the green vegetable are potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B6). All these food properties offer a health benefit to the body and boost the immune system.

It is important to remember to not cook the broccoli for too long and opt for steaming it so it retains its valuable nutrients. There are many ways you can prepare your broccoli meal to make it more interesting and yummy—you can have it in salads, as a soup, or roast it with olive oil and garlic to add more flavor.

Spinach
Spinach is another green vegetable “super food” because it contains several important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that strengthen your immune system and boost its fighting faculty against harmful bacteria and infection.

Some of the essential nutrients spinach contains are fiber, magnesium, iron, and vitamins C and E. These help support the human immune system, prevent the common cold, reduce symptoms of sickness, and provide the body with the necessary nutrients for cell division and DNA repair.

Spinach is also best cooked just a little to avoid losing most of its healthy nutrients. You can use it in several tasty dishes such as salads, in lasagna, with cheese-stuffed pasta shells, and roasted with olive oil with a yogurt dressing.

Ginger
Humans have for centuries used ginger to treat the common cold or flu symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and nausea. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents in ginger, a wonderful addition to so many foods, help support and strengthen the immune system, boost your ability to fight off illnesses, and may even help prevent serious health conditions such as cancer.

The antioxidant properties in ginger help the body regulate metabolism and digestion, help with menstrual cramps, and control blood sugar levels. Many people use ginger as a spice for a variety of dishes and its sweet and unique flavor makes it a great component in tea.

Other ways you can benefit from fresh ginger is to add it to your cake of choice, put some in your orange and carrot juice, cook it into grilled meat or chicken wings, or have it with some hot chocolate and cinnamon for a great fusion of flavor.
Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a favorite food for many not only for their wonderful taste but also because the sweet vegetable is very rich in nutrients that play an essential role in helping to boost and strengthen the human immune system. Some of its important nutrients are protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and B6, and antioxidants that protect the body from harmful foreign molecules.

The tasty food also contains Beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. This protects against skin damage and keeps it strong and healthy, as well as supports healthy vision.

There are many dishes where you can add sweet potatoes to your diet, such as baked sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes chips, roasted sweet potatoes with olive oil, mashed sweet potatoes, or with avocado toast. Changing our diet is important for our health, to help us maintain a healthy body that is able to fight against infections and harmful germs. Knowing which foods are good for your body and health can facilitate your diet choices. These seven foods can boost and strengthen your immune system in the long run.

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