Ingredients to Boost the Immune System

By Cesar Fernandez

Right now, it’s important that we all eat as healthily as possible. Of course, we all need some comfort food every now and then but with the lockdown continuing for the moment, it’s essential to boost our immune system. Eating fresh, vitamin and nutrient-rich ingredients that are packed full of flavour is one of the ways to do this. There are five different nutrients that our bodies need in order to stay as healthy as possible.

Getty Images - Vitamin C

Vitamin C

We’re all familiar with vitamin C and many of us enjoy citrus fruits and orange juice to get our daily dose. It acts as an antioxidant and helps to fight free radicals, which are a type of unstable molecule known to damage the immune system. Try to eat a good amount of citrus fruit, peppers or broccoli every day in order to boost your vitamin C intake.

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Vitamin E

This is another powerful and essential antioxidant, which can be found mostly in nuts and seeds. Who would have thought having some peanut butter is good for you!

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Zinc

An essential mineral involved in the production of certain immune cells, zinc can be found in legumes such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans and peanuts along with lean meat, grains and dark chocolate.

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Carotenoids

A class of pigments found in a number of plants. When eaten, they are converted into vitamin A and these include carrots, kale, spinach, mango and papaya.

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Omega 3 Essential fatty acid known to suppress inflammation and keep the immune system functioning. Oily fish, walnuts, chia or flax seeds are high in this.

A great meal to make at home, which incorporates many of these nutrients, is a poke bowl. Based on raw, marinated fish, you can add whatever ingredients you have in the fridge to boost flavour, texture and colour. Check out our recipe here and use it as a blank canvas, to which you can add your favourite vegetables, nuts, seeds and spices.

We’ve used fresh tuna, which is a good source of omega 3, but it’s also high in zinc, selenium and protein, which are all essential for a healthy immune system. If you can’t find any fresh tuna in the shops, you can use salmon or trout instead.

The dish also uses leafy greens, another immune-boosting food that contains high levels of vitamin C with a powerful antioxidant punch. Not only do greens help to regenerate other antioxidants in the body, they also contain folate, another immune-booster. The edamame beans meanwhile are a good source of copper, which are also needed for healthy functioning of the immune system.

Our poke bowl recipe can be prepared using a steam oven. This is a fantastically healthy way to cook, as the steam injection retains nutrients in food that would otherwise be boiled away if you used the hob instead. Perfect as a light lunch or midweek supper, try different ingredients every time to mix things up and use a combination of tuna, salmon and trout for something really special.

About the Author

Every member of the Miele Team is a passionate home economist and an expert in their field, striving to provide cooking inspiration and knowledgeable product advice.

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