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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTHY EATING

Superfoods to Boost Your Natural Immunity

By: Andre RaymundoSuperfoods to Boost Your Natural Immunity

The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" by Benjamin Franklin never did ring truer nowadays. With the rise of superbugs and communicable diseases, it is important, more than ever, to boost our own natural immunity to fight off these infections and infestations. And what better way to boost our immune system than loading up on superfoods below that naturally elevate our immune system?

Citrus Fruits

It's a sin not to include citrus fruits in this list; in terms of sheer affordability, accessibility, and variety, citrus fruits are your best bet to have a well-functioning immune system. Most citrus fruits contain loads of Vitamin C and many studies have shown the efficacy of vitamin C in protecting your body from common bacteria and viruses. However, be sure to regularly load up on vitamin C from citrus fruits as your body is unable to neither produce nor store the said vitamin. Additionally, vitamin C is more effective in protecting your body and boosting your immune system rather than helping it heal, therefore having a consistent supply of citrus fruits in the kitchen is not a bad idea.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup has the reputation of being the sick person's soup, but it's much more than that. While it's true that it can help a person suffering from the common cold in a myriad of ways, chicken soup is also effective in boosting your immunity to make you more protected certain diseases. Chicken soup contains heaps of collagen that improves your immune system. It is also loaded with amino acids and nutrients promote muscle growth. Consuming adequate amounts keeps your body well-hydrated as well. But remember, authentic chicken soup should come from chicken bone broth and not from instant soup packs or canned soup which are full of preservatives and sodium.

Not sure how to make your own broth? Follow this simple recipe: Add a kilo of chicken bone, a tablespoon of vinegar, a halved onion, chopped carrots and celery to a pot of water just enough to immerse all ingredients. Boil the ingredients, cover the pot and let it simmer to a very low heat for at least 12 hours to 24 hours. Let the broth cool, strain the chicken bones, and store in jars with tight lids. Chicken bone broths can be frozen up to a month and can be used in multitudes of recipes, especially chicken soup. Now, isn't that just good for the soul (and body)?

Garlic

Garlic is considered a natural remedy for a variety of ailments such as headaches and toothaches. But did you know that garlic contains allicin, a natural supplement said to fight off common colds? Although scientific evidence is quite scarce in this aspect, garlic still contains several vitamins, such as vitamin B6 and vitamin C, and dietary minerals like manganese, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and zinc. That's not a bad tradeoff most particularly in Filipino cuisine, where garlic is considered both a staple spice and an ingredient. It can also be utilized as a natural preservative for fish and meat - extending its usefulness in terms of food preparation.

Coconut Water

Hold the fruit shakes and sodas and replenish your fluids with honest to goodness serving coconut water. Coconut water is essentially purified water with easily digestible carbohydrates (that gives its coconut-ty taste), minimal amounts of sodium, and higher levels of potassium. While it does still contain sugar, it still remains as the best alternative to sugary shakes, commercial fruit juices, and sodas. Keeping yourself well hydrated is an important aspect of keeping your immune system active. Since coconut water is about 95% water, it can well address your hydration needs without the added sugars and sodium from commercial drinks. However, it is important to remember that coconut water can contribute to your total daily caloric intake, and moderation, as with other foods, is the key. Other than that, it remains your best bet to beat the heat (other than good old regular water, of course).

Yogurt

Yogurts are one of the best sources of probiotics, the so-called "good bacteria" that reside in your digestive system, more specifically in the intestines or the gut. These probiotics have been linked to stronger immunity, better sleeping patterns, and of course, healthier digestion. Having more good bacteria in the gut means that there are less bad germs and disease-causing bacteria. But remember, not all yogurts are created equal. As a consumer, you should take a precocious attitude in selecting the best yogurt for you. Your first consideration would have to be the type of probiotics it contains - yogurts should have the label "live and active cultures" on it to make it effective immune boosters. The second consideration would be its sugar content. Avoid the heavily sweetened variants at all costs, as these may cause more harm than good. You can always get the regular flavored ones and add in your fruit of choice for an even healthier alternative. Finally, avoid those with lots of additives. The more additives a yogurt has, the fewer probiotics it contains. It is an essential practice to compare the nutritional value labels to ensure that you are always getting the healthier variant.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish may not be for everyone's tastes, but the omega-3 fatty acids it contains are surely needed by everyone! Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for helping maintain a healthy and happy heart, but it's much more than that. Omega-3 is substantial in fighting off chronic inflammation and help the body recuperate. One can enjoy elevated amounts of omega-3 from fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and very own milkfish (bangus), which has a 60% heart-healthy total fat content.

It does really take more than an apple a day to keep the infections away. A vital practice in boosting your immunity is adequate sleeping hours and regular exercise, augmented with eating a wide variety of healthy foods. Keep eating healthy!

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