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Make healthy food choices and eat right to help strengthen your body’s immune system. The main tasks of the body’s immune system are: to fight disease-causing germs (pathogens) like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and to remove them from the body, and to fight disease-causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells. The way your body fights an infection depends on your overall health. Regular exercise, sufficient sleep, low stress levels and a nutrient rich food helps increase your body’s capability of fighting a disease.

Choose to eat right

Some compounds have properties that help make your immune system strong and help your fight diseases. Here is a list of must-haves in your daily diet:

  • Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants: Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E—that can boost immune function. Many of the vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress.
  • Beta-Carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body. Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin C and E: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach.
  • Vitamin D: Research shows vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals and milk and dairy products.
  • Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. Sources include nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils.

Healthy eating tips

  • You may be eating the most nutritious diet but some dietary mistakes can weaken your immune system and have adverse effects on your health. Here are a few guidelines to follow to help preserve your immunity:

    • Avoid eating processed foods
    • Reduce sugar intake
    • Choose plant-based, whole foods
    • Say “No” to alcohol