Having a strong immune system can help to keep you healthy and free from diseases. Your diet plays a huge role in boosting your immune system and keeping you safe from toxins and infections. Thus, nourishing your body with certain foods will help to boost your immune system. Let’s find out some Nigerian foods that boost immune system. But first, what is the immune system?
What is the immune system?
The immune system is made up of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins which function together to protect the body from harmful organisms. They all work together to stimulate processes in the body that fights pathogens. The pathogens could be viruses, bacteria, and other foreign toxins that can cause infection.
When the immune system contacts a pathogen in the body, it stimulates an immune response to fight off the pathogen. The immune system usually releases antibodies, which then attaches to the antigens on the pathogens and destroy them.
Eating some certain foods may enhance your immune response and boost its function. Now let’s about the Nigerian foods that boost the immune system.
10 Nigerian Foods that Boost the Immune System
A healthy balanced diet with vitamins and minerals will immensely boost the immune system. Here are some foods that boost your immune system.
1. Chicken Pepper Soup
Chicken pepper soup is a popular delicacy in Nigeria. It contains vitamins A and C, magnesium, phosphorus, and antioxidants, which strengthens the immune system and fends off viruses. The protein from the chicken provides amino acids that are builds up antibodies to fight pathogens.
Since Chicken pepper soup is mostly liquid and spicy, it helps you stay hydrated, especially if you are sweating from a fever.
2. Ginger and Garlic
Ginger and garlic are superfoods that are known to possess many powerful health benefits and medicinal functions. Ginger and garlic both contain antioxidant compounds and have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
Consuming garlic regularly can help to boost your immune system to fight flu and viral diseases like common cold and COVID-19.
3. Nigerian Leafy Vegetables
There are so many healthy Nigerian leafy vegetables that can be useful in boosting the immune system. Some common Nigerian leafy vegetables include scent leaves, bitter leaves, fluted pumpkin leaves, and African spinach. Fluted pumpkin leaves, for example, are rich in protein, vitamin A and K and iron. Many of these healthy Nigerian leafy vegetables can be used to prepare soups such as edikang ikong, and bitter leaf soup. When incorporated into your diet regularly, your immune system will flourish.
4. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are known to be very rich in vitamin C. The body does not produce or store vitamin C. Hence, you need daily vitamin C intake for good health. Fruits that are high in vitamin C aids in building up your immune system. They also increase the production of white blood cells.
Some good examples of citrus fruits that boost your immune system are oranges, grapes, lemons, tangerines, lime, and watermelon.
Many doctors have advised that sea foods be eaten regularly to strengthen the immune system. There are so many healthy Nigerian seafoods such as oysters, shrimps, periwinkle, and crabs. These seafood are all excellent sources of selenium, a mineral, and an antioxidant that helps in boosting the immune system.
Seafood also preventing cell damage, chronic diseases, and are highly nutritious.
6. Low-fat yogurt
Many dairy products are healthy and can help you maintain a good immune system. However, the most recommended for boosting your immune system is low-fat yogurt. Low-fat yogurt contains protein, calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). The body requires adequate levels of vitamin D and other nutrients for optimal immune functioning.
Yogurt is also rich in probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidus. These probiotics boost immune function and may even help reduce both the duration and severity of colds and enhance immune function to fight diseases.
Tea contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols and flavonoids, which are known to boost immune function. These compounds are also said to destroy free radicals that cause cancer and reduce the risk of getting heart disease. Drinking green tea, for example, affects blood lipids, increasing good HDL cholesterol, and decreasing LDL bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.
One medical study found out that catechins, a particular type of polyphenols in tea, kill certain viruses.
Moringa is a powerful plant with amazing properties. One of the major health benefits of moringa is it’s the ability to boost the immune system.
Moringa has super immune-boosting powers, and when you consume it in your food, it will help to maintain a healthy immune system, as well as to stave off infections and illnesses. Moringa leaves are also a rich source of Iron and Vitamin A, both of which are crucial for the normal functioning of the immune system.
Legumes are known to contain a high amount of protein, and protein is essential to the body’s function.
Many legumes like beans, soybeans, and lentils are all nutrient-dense and rich in fiber. They contribute to enriching the organs that make up the body’s immune system.
Potato contains a tremendous amount of vitamins A and C; these vitamins are vital for immune functioning.
One animal study found out that potatoes can massively improve the Immune system in the body.
Potatoes are cholesterol-free and fat-free food that is great for your skin too. Potatoes also contain a healthy portion of fiber, which helps with bowel movement.
The immune system is an essential part of the body system that protects it against diseases and infections. Eating these Nigerian foods that boost immune system will help in strengthening the immune function. Thus, make it a habit to consume this healthy immune-boosting Nigerian foods daily, especially as we face the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.