Healthy diet means eating a variety of foods that gives the nutrients required to maintain metabolism. These nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins and water. What you consume and your lifestyle greatly affect your immune system as well as your energy level. Adequate nutrition plays a vital role, without good nutrition the body is prone to infections, diseases, poor performance and fatigue. Vegetarians have been shown to have more effective white blood cells when compared to non-vegetarians, due to a high intake of vitamins and low fat. Maintaining a healthy weight can also benefit the immune system. Effecting major changes to your diet can sometimes seem very intense and tiring so it is advisable to incorporate that little by little.
However, our bodies needs to rest and recharge. Without a sufficient amount of sleep, we increase our risk for developing serious health problems. Inadequate sleep has also been linked to suppressed immune function.
1. Citrus fruits
They help in building up immune system because of their vitamin C content, this is thought to increase the production of white blood cells which is key to fighting infection. Citrus fruits includes Oranges, Lemon, Tangerines, Limes, and Grapefruits etc. Interestingly, almost all citrus fruits are used to make juice and can be found all year round. Citrus fruits are a good source of fibre which has several health benefits, including improving digestive health and aiding weight loss. They’re low in calories, yet their water and fibre contents help fill you up.
Compared to other fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits are unique in that they have a higher ratio of soluble to insoluble fibre.
It has been widely used to add flavour in food and to boost immunity, it also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, infection and cancer. Garlic can combat sickness such as common cold, it may lower blood pressure and has an anti-inflammatory effect. The sulphur compounds from garlic enter the body from the digestive tract and travel all over the body where it exerts its potent biological effects. Garlic is very easy to include in your current diet as it complement most meals, particularly soups and sauces, it’s strong taste can also add a punch to bland recipes.
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins K and C which builds collagen and helps wounds and cuts heal, it also provides folate and potassium. Broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw both are perfectly healthy but provide different nutrient profiles. Bowel regularity and a strong group of healthy bacteria within your colon are vital components to digestive health. Eating fibre and foods rich in antioxidant like broccoli may play a role in maintaining healthy gut function. Though aging is an unavoidable natural process, diet quality is thought to be a major player in determining genetic expression and development of age related diseases.
Ginger is among the healthiest and most used spices loaded with antioxidants, compounds that prevent stress and damage to your body’s DNA. They may help your body fight off chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diseases of the lungs, plus promote healthy aging. The unique flavour of ginger comes from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol which is the main bioactive compound in ginger, it is responsible for much of its medicinal properties. Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, or in a powdered form as the case may be and is sometimes added to processed foods. It is a very common ingredient in recipes.
This a dairy product made by fermenting milk with a cultures and these cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. It provides protein and calcium, and it may enhance healthy gut bacteria. Health benefits range from protecting against osteoporosis to relieving irritable bowel disease and aiding digestion, but these depend on the type of yoghurt consumed which must have “live and active cultures” like Greek yoghurt. Endeavour to get plain yoghurt rather than the pre-flavoured and sugar loaded. Plain yoghurt can be sweetened with healthy fruits.
6. Red bell pepper
They are low in calories and exceptionally rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Sweet, juicy, nutritious red appetizing colour to salads, grills and other meals. Like other fruits and vegetables, bell peppers may have many health benefits. These include improved eye health, skin maintenance and reduced risk of anaemia.
Spinach is a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin and vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, iron, dietary fibre and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. It also contains vitamin K which is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach. Like broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. It can be easily added into any diet, as it is cheap and easy to prepare. The possible health benefits of consuming spinach include improving blood glucose control in people with diabetes.
Eating right is a great start to healthy life as it protects you against so many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less sugars, salts, saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for healthy living. Pay attention to portions and recommended daily intake so that you don’t get too much of a single nutrient and too little of others.
By Kachiro Keziah
Photo-source: Google Images
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