With the coronavirus pandemic still deeply impacting this planet, many are searching for ways that they can help keep themselves healthy from home. Obviously, immune support is one of the biggest concerns in terms of avoiding infection of this virus, and luckily there are a multitude of foods that have specific nutrients and vitamins that directly help your immune system function and grow stronger.
It’s important to note that if you do contract the coronavirus, flu, or any other sort of viral infection, obviously medicine and seeking professional medical attention is the only real option for recovery. These foods in general are just known to boost your body’s immune response and can help your body strengthen in the case that you do get infected; but again, foods are not cures.
Elderberries have been used as a homemade flu remedy for decades. The small berries are mainly known for being saturated in antioxidants. Any foods with antioxidants in them are extremely beneficial for fighting inflammation within the body. When you contract a virus such as Covid-19 or the flu, your immune system’s initial response is to heat up; hence the fevers, body chills and internal inflammation of your organs. Elderberries can help combat that heat and help your immune system respond to the virus quicker.
Button mushrooms are commonly eaten in salads or pasta dishes and they actually contain a lot of beneficial vitamins within them. Selenium, to be more specific, is what keeps your body feeling strong and functional throughout a given day. If you’ve ever had a really bad cold and have felt extremely weak and achy, it’s likely because your body is suffering from a selenium deficiency due to the infiltration of whatever virus your body is fighting off. Selenium has been proven to especially help your body when you have the flu, hence why it’s recommended for immune support more so now as well.
Any sort of citrus fruit directly benefits your immune system as well. Oranges, lemons, limes, clementines, etc. they all contain a large amount of vitamin C in them. Vitamin C is known for helping your body create more white blood cells (the cells in your body that fight off infections). This is why it’s always recommended to drink some orange juice when you’re sick, to provide your body with even more nutrients and vitamins. It’s recommended that men should get at least 90 mg of vitamin C per day and women need at least 75 mg.
Red bell peppers are also loaded with vitamin C and have the same impact as eating a citrus fruit. However, red bell peppers actually contain even more vitamin C than the average citrus fruit.
Garlic can be used as the base for practically every meal and luckily it contains certain nutrients that specifically aid the body in artery function. Your arteries tend to work less efficiently when your body’s busy fighting off a foreign virus, so eating garlic everyday can help ensure your arteries and veins are always strong and running smoothly.
Broccoli is obviously one of the healthiest foods for you. It has a ton of essential vitamins in it that all directly impact your immune system. It also maintains these nutrients more if it’s eaten uncooked, so pick up some fresh broccoli next time you’re at the market!
Finally, having yogurt in the morning is an amazing source of protein, but more importantly, vitamin D. Vitamin D can also be absorbed into the body through sun exposure (always remember to wear an SPF or sunscreen). Vitamin D is similar to vitamin C in the sense that it’s often taken when one is sick with the cold or the flu.
As previously stated, all of these foods are meant to help keep your immune system functioning properly and can definitely help your body fight off viral infection, however, if you or a loved one begins experiencing any sort of flu or Covid-19 symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.