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Health experts reveal what foods you should be eating to boost your immune system

With lockdown easing, many of us are going out and about and socialising with friends for the first time in months - leading to a possible rise in cold and flu cases.

As people stayed at home under restrictions, reports showed a decrease in the number of cases across the UK in comparison to previous years.  

But with 80 per cent of the body's natural defence system living in the gut, what you eat can build strong and healthy immune systems.  

Our gut bacteria breaks down our food and uses it to grow, as healthy gut bacteria produces compounds that are beneficial for the way immune systems functions. 

Having a gut containing plenty of healthy bacteria leaves the immune system with time to handle its many complex everyday functions. 

Health experts at online GP service Livi have revealed the foods you can incorporate into your daily diet to help boost your immune system - including asparagus, garlic and onion.

Health experts at online GP service Livi have revealed the foods you can incorporate into your daily diet to help boost your immune system, including sauerkraut (pictured) 

SAUERKRAUT

Filled with immune-boosting probiotics (which are microorganisms introduced into the body for the beneficial qualities), sauerkraut - essentially fermented cabbage - may help improve the balance of bacteria in your gut, which overall helps to keep your gut lining healthy. 

By maintaining a healthy gut lining, you can prevent unwanted bacteria from 'leaking' into the gut and triggering an immune response, allowing your immune system to focus on fighting off everyday infections such as cold and flus. 

ONION

The base to many meals, onions are rich in prebiotics which help increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut. 

While we need probiotics from the foods already mentioned to add to the population of good bacteria in our gut, prebiotics are essential for stimulating the growth of that good bacteria, acting as a food for them and nurturing them to full strength. 

It's important to have a balance of both to encourage a strong immune system. 

They also contain Vitamins C, B and E which help reduce the risk of disease and help fight off infections. 

Onion (pictured left) and garlic (right) are both important ingredients because of their prebiotics. Onions are rich in prebiotics which help increase the number of friendly bacteria in your gut 

GARLIC

While you may not want it on your breath, garlic is an important ingredient in your diet because of its prebiotic qualities. 

Garlic is jam-packed with sulfuric compounds, such as allicin, which create the immune-boosting effects. 

Supporting your body's natural defence system, allicin is known to boost the white blood cell’s response to illness. 

Add a glove of the root vegetable to your dish to boost your immune system.  

ASPARAGUS

Another great vegetable for providing prebiotics is asparagus, but its benefits don't stop there. 

Asparagus can also encourage production of vitamin B, which plays a vital role in maintaining good health and well-being, as well as overall good digestion. 

Vitamin B impacts your energy levels, brain function and cell metabolism while Vitamin B complex helps prevent infections. 

Asparagus provides prebiotics and encourages production of Vitamin B. Vitamin B impacts your energy levels, brain function and cell metabolism while Vitamin B complex helps prevent infections (stock photo)

LEGUMES

Legumes consist of plants that produce a pod that contains seeds inside and it's the seeds we eat. 

Common legumes you can incorporate into your diet include lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, soybeans and peanuts. 

They are an affordable source of protein, fibre, iron, and vitamins that offer many health benefits - including a boost to your immune system.

KOMBUCHA

Kombucha is available in many forms, from flavoured in a fizzy drink or brewed into a warming tea. 

It has been consumed for thousands of years due to its great gut benefits, with probiotics produced during the fermentation process, which makes it a great gut boosting drink to add to your routine. 

Kombucha, which you can drink in many forms, has great gut benefits and has been consumed for thousands of years (stock photo)

KEFIR

Easily added to a smoothie or consumed on its own in various flavours, Kefir is a cultured, fermented milk drink filled with healthy nutrients and gut boosting probiotics. 

According to the experts, it can provide substantial benefits not just to our gut health, but also to our metabolic health.  

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES

Jerusalem artichokes contain fructooligosaccharides, which can provide stability of probiotics and acid production in the gut, making it an ideal addition to your diet if you're looking to boost your immune system. 

While they may be hard to find in supermarkets, many take this in powder or capsule form as a part of a balanced diet to reap the benefits. 

Jerusalem artichokes are an ideal addition to your diet if you're looking to boost your immune system (stock photo)

WHOLEGRAINS

Bioactive compounds found in whole grains such as whole oats, buckwheat and quinoa, strengthen the immune system, making them an essential element to your meals. 

Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are essential to your health, so it's important to take care of it, and eating all or some of these foods every day is a great way to do this and to boost your immune system, according to the experts.

Things like ensuring you get regular exercise and limit your refined sugar and carb intake will also add many benefits too.  

In whole grains such as whole oats, buckwheat and quinoa, you can find bioactive compounds which makes them an essential element to your meals 

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