The current pandemic is a reminder that nutrient-rich food and a healthy lifestyle is critical for a strong immune system. Our immunity is impacted by many factors like age, health conditions, stress, environmental factors, etc. But food intake remains the most critical factor influencing our immunity.

Immunity cannot be built overnight. A consistent diet with healthy food, good sleep and exercise will strengthen your body to fight diseases in the long run. If you’re searching for ways to prevent colds, the flu and other infections, visit your local grocery as the first step. We know fresh foods work the best when it comes to building our innate immunity, but considering our dependence on packaged foods, it is imperative to know which products to choose.

So, we reached out to Rashida Vapiwala, Nutrition Science and Food Label Expert and the Founder of LabelBlind, to help us shed light on this topic. While you pick your next product from the shelf, look out for these immunity-boosting ingredients on the pack and be a smart consumer.

1. Turmeric

This spice adds a delicious kick to meals. It contains a strong anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. This compound activates the production of T-cells which are the main cells in your system fighting for your health.

2. Garlic

Garlic has built a reputation for being one of the best cold-curing foods, and for good reason too.

3. Ginger

When it comes to treating a standard cold, ginger is one of the best foods that provide immediate relief. Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties to combat a cold or flu. Inflammation can affect your body’s immune reaction, and anti-inflammatory ginger plays a key role in boosting your immunity.

4. Nuts

Most nuts contain vitamin E, another vitamin that’s crucial to fighting sickness. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts like almonds are full of vitamin E and have even healthy fats. Avoid the salted or sugar-coated variety, consume the plain ones.

5. Dark Chocolate

Believe it or not, bittersweet chocolate is often extremely helpful in fighting off a cold. Dark chocolate contains a good concentration of theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing. Choose dark chocolate with more than 60% cocoa content.

6. Raw Honey

Raw honey not only tastes delicious but can also help soothe some symptoms of a cold. Honey is helpful in relieving sore and itchy throats. Many studies state that honey acts as an antibacterial, killing any germs in the body that can cause sickness.

7. Green Tea

Green tea is not only best for weight loss, but it’s also one of the best sources for fighting off a cold. It contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that boosts immunity, and it has anti-inflammatory properties. Catechin present in green tea is known to be a powerful antibacterial and antiviral and can kill cold-causing bacteria and the influenza virus.

8. Fennel Seeds

Fennel has a soothing effect which helps relieve flu-like symptoms. It acts as a soothing mechanism for those affected by conjunctivitis, diarrhoea, fever, and stomach aches as it is abundant in phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. Research also notes that fennel contains flavonoids that act as anti-inflammatory agents.

One way to build solid immunity is to choose the right food with the right amount of nutrients to place our bodies in a position to fight back. You don’t need exotic foods, and no single food or food supplement can help build strong immunity.

What’s the one immunity-boosting food you swear by? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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