Superfoods are foods that are packed with a very high nutritional value. The term ‘superfood’ is popularized by the media to refer to foods that have a substantial amount of nutrients with very low calories. In this modern time, when people have a lazy lifestyle and less physical activities, superfoods become very important to keep oneself fit and healthy.
Research shows that superfoods may help keep your immune system strong, and can lower the risk of chronic diseases. A varied and balanced diet helps you to maintain good health and support the optimal functioning of your immune system. Some certain foods provide all the essential nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your body and ensure that all the immune cells get sufficient nutrients to function properly. Here, we will discuss top 10 superfoods that can boost your immunity.
- Dark Leafy Greens
The dark green leafy vegetables are a great source of nutrients such as zinc, iron, folate, magnesium, vitamins, and fiber. Adding these dark green vegetables in your diet can reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental decline (Source). Some of the dark green vegetables are Kale, Microgreens, Collard Greens, Spinach, Cabbage, Beet Greens, Watercress, Romaine Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Endive, Bok Choy, and Turnip Greens.
Fortunately, you can find many dark green vegetables round the year across the planet. Also, you can easily mix them with your daily meals in different ways. Make sure to include different green vegetables in your daily diet to reap the excellent health benefits.
2. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin ‘C’ and other anti-inflammatory nutrients like Griggs. Vitamin C is considered as our first line of defence to strengthen immunity against bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C is also essential for the body’s ability to absorb iron. So, squeezing lemons on iron rich food can increase your overall immunity to fight against various illnesses.
There are many citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, limes, clementines, grapefruit, tangerines, and gooseberries. You can find these fruits throughout the year at very cheap prices, and use them as a salad or fruit with your daily meal. If you are in a bad mood, try some citrus fruits. It will immediately change your mood and make you happy.
Avocado is one of the most nutritious fruits with a creamy texture that grows in tropical climates. This amazing fruit contains multiple vitamins, minerals, and other compounds. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 40 grams piece of Avocado contains 64 calories, around 6 grams of fats, 3.4 grams of carbohydrates, less than a gram of sugar, 3 grams of fiber. It also contains vitamins C, E, K, B-6, potassium, magnesium, folate, niacin, pantothenic, and riboflavin.
Avocado is a great fruit for your heart and vision. It also prevents osteoporosis and cancer due to high intake of vitamin K and folate. Folate is also very important for a healthy pregnancy which you can get by adding an Avocado in your diet. It can lower the risk of depression, improve digestion, helps in body detoxification, and protects from chronic diseases.
Kiwis or Chinese gooseberries are nutrient-dense food and low in calories. Originally grown in China, it has now become popular across the world. Kiwis contain high vitamin C and other nutrients, that’s why they got a superfood tag. This fruit may help reduce blood pressure, boost wound healing, help maintain good health, and increase immunity.
A Kiwi fruit weighing 69 grams contains approximately 42 grams calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 23 grams of calcium, 12 grams of magnesium, 23 grams of phosphorus, 215 grams of potassium, 90 grams of copper, and 64 grams of vitamin C (Source). Having Kiwis in your diet can improve your quality of sleep, prevent kidney stones and cancer, and give bone health benefits.
Almonds are one of the most popular superfoods among health conscious people. They are densely packed with healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Originally grown in the Middle-East region, USA is currently the world’s largest Almond producer. A 28 grams Almond has approximately 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams protein, 14 grams of fat, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, vitamin B2, and phosphorus (Source).
Almonds also contain a good amount of phytic acid that binds some of the minerals and stops them from being dissolved. They are also full of antioxidants which protects against oxidative stress. Vitamin E protects your cells from oxidative damage, lowers heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease (Source). Almonds can help in controlling the blood sugar and cholesterol levels due to the presence of healthy fats, protein, and fiber in it. They also reduce hunger and lower the overall calorie intake, hence helpful in reducing weight.
Garlic is a high nutritional superfood and closely related to the onions, shallots, and leeks. The full fruit is called bulb and each segment is called clove. A single garlic bulb can contain 10–15 cloves. It is grown in many parts of the world and in countries like India, it is part of daily meals due to its strong smell and delicious taste.
Garlic has been used as a medicine throughout ancient history. Greek physician Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, used to prescribe it to treat a variety of medical illnesses. Apart from that, it is documented in other major civilizations like the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, Indus Valley, and Chinese.
One clove of raw garlic contains approximately 2% of daily value (DV) manganese, 2% of vitamin B6, 1% of vitamin C, 1% of selenium, 0.06 grams of fiber, and a good amount of other minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, and iron,. It is helpful in the common cold, reducing blood pressure, lowers the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Dementia.
Ginger is a flowering plant spice and one of the most nutritional packed superfoods. Originating from Southeast Asia, it is now used across the planet as fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice. Ginger is closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal, and packed with highly nutritional elements. It contains gingerol which is helpful in aid digestion, reduce nausea, help fight the flu, and common cold.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects which help in reducing oxidative stress (Source). By using ginger in daily meals, one can significantly reduce pain and disability. It also helps in weight loss, osteoarthritis, drastically lowers blood sugar, improves heart health, and treats chronic indigestion. Ginger’s medicinal properties may significantly reduce menstrual pain, lower cholesterol levels, and may help prevent cancer (Source).
Overall ginger is an excellent superfood and you can consume it in many ways like fresh ginger tea, ginger juice, lemon-ginger chicken, ginger-garlic chicken with cilantro and mint, malian ginger juice, etc.
Turmeric is a well known superfood which has excellent benefits for your body and brain. It is basically a spice which is used in various curries for amazing taste and texture. Especially in India, turmeric has been used for thousands of years in food and as a medicinal herb. Recent research shows that it contains elements like curcumin that have medicinal properties.
Turmeric has a natural anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Although inflammation is very important for fighting foreign invaders and repairing body tissues, it can cause diseases if it becomes chronic. The diseases include heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and various degenerative conditions. Curcumin can also boost the brain-derived neurotrophic factor and lower the risk of heart disease (Source).
You can add turmeric in your daily diet in many ways. You can use it in curries, non-veg dishes, and other food items. In India, it is an essential ingredient while cooking any kind of food.
9. Green Tea
Green tea is full of flavonoids which is a type of antioxidant. In the last few years, it has become wildly popular among health conscious people due to its amazing health benefits. Having a couple of cups of green tea daily can improve your brain functions, helps in fat loss, protect against cancer, and lower the risk of heart disease. It is not just a hydrating beverage as it contains many healthy bioactive compounds which can help your mind and body in various ways.
Green tea is packed with polyphenols, a natural compound that helps in reducing inflammation and the risk of cancer. It also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a catechin that helps prevent cell damage and protects against fast aging. Caffeine is an active ingredient in green tea that may improve the brain functioning. Green tea helps you in burning extra fat in your body, reduces bad breath, prevents type 2 diabetes, prevents cardiovascular disease, and helps you live longer.
Papaya is a tropical fruit and packed with multiple vitamins, antioxidants, and other compounds. Adding papaya in your daily diet can reduce inflammation, fight disease, and help keep you look young. Originally grown in central America and Southern Mexico, papaya is now grown in various other parts of the planet. It has an enzyme called papain which can break down the hard protein chain. Due to this reason, people have used it to tenderize meat since ancient times.
One small papaya of 150 grams contains approximately 59 calories, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 1 gram protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B3, B5, E, and K (Source). Free radicals in our body can promote oxidative stress that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, hypothyroidism, and liver disease. Research shows that fermented papaya can reduce oxidative stress.
Papaya has anticancer properties due to its ability to reduce free radicals. It helps against skin damage, improves digestion, improves heart health, and fights inflammation. Papaya is easily available everywhere, so you can add it with your daily diet and enjoy its health benefits.
Superfoods are nature’s gift to human beings. These are packed with multiple nutrients and help us to maintain a healthy life. Although we have discussed the top 10 superfoods that can boost immunity, there are other superfoods which are also as amazing as we have discussed here. Most of the superfoods are easily available and you should add them creatively in your daily diet to get excellent health benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What are superfoods?
Ans: Superfoods are basically those foods which have a very high level of desirable nutrients. These foods are rich in compounds such as antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, minerals, and highly beneficial to human health.
Q2. What are top 10 superfoods to boost immunity?
Ans: Following is the list of top 10 superfoods to boost immunity:
- Dark leafy green vegetables.
- Citrus fruits.
- Green tea.