Immunity and stamina are key indicators of overall health. Immunity enables the body to fight off infection and disease, while stamina gives us the energy we need to stay active. Both can be improved naturally through diet and exercise, which doctors agree is more beneficial than medicine.
Here are 5 foods that increase immunity and stamina. Try and eat a variety of these each day, including 5-10 portions of fruit and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein.
1. Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C is one of the most beneficial nutrients for humans, as it stimulates the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Eating oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes is a great way to naturally boost immunity.
Citrus fruits also reduce inflammation and promote circulation. The citric acid helps neutralise acidic urine, reducing your likeliness of developing kidney stones.
Another key nutrient in citrus fruits – especially oranges – is flavonoids. These are beneficial for the cardiovascular system, which is important in maintaining stamina. They also improve the way we process insulin and glucose, which are fundamental to prolonged physical activity.
Like vitamin C, antioxidants are a critical nutrient in protecting your body. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which otherwise cause oxidative stress. Free radicals are atoms in the body with an unpaired electron, meaning they are looking for chemical reactions to create.
Antioxidants pair with free radicals, preventing them from creating random, potentially dangerous ones. Diseases like cancer are often caused by these random chemical reactions. So, antioxidant-rich berries are ideal for maintaining high immunity and stamina.
Berries also contain high levels of fibre, which is essential for aiding digestion and sustained energy levels.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as other antioxidants and minerals. These nutrients produce antibodies and support the growth of immune cells.
They also contain iron, which prevents fatigue and helps us maintain high energy levels. Energy and stamina go hand in hand, as one gives you power and the other gives you endurance.
Large amounts of leafy greens are one of the best components of a healthy diet. Eating 5 portions of green vegetables per day is optimal for most people to reach or maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is roughly ideal for most people, but it doesn’t take different body types into account, so must not be taken as absolute truth.
Yogurt and other fermented foods contain beneficial probiotics that support gut health. The gut plays a crucial role in immune function, and a healthy microbiome can enhance the body’s ability to fight off pathogens. Look for yogurts labelled as containing live and active cultures to gain the most benefits.
Some yogurts also contain high levels of protein, which is critical for building and supporting healthy muscles. When you lift heavy weights, your muscles get tiny microscopic tears. Protein fills in these tears, increasing the size of the muscles and making you stronger.
For high-protein yogurts, look for strained varieties, like Greek yogurt and labneh.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein and fibre. They provide sustained energy, support overall health and contain antioxidants that boost the immune system. Some of the healthiest nuts and seeds are peanuts, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.
Some nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of vitamin E, which enhances the immune system by strengthening the cells responsible for a working immune system. Sunflower seeds are a fantastic source of vitamin E.
While nuts are a great source of nutrients, they are also calorie-dense. Anyone looking to lose weight alongside increasing immunity and stamina should limit their intake to a handful (30g) at a time. Opt for non-salted varieties if you’re at risk for heart disease or high blood pressure.
Immunity & Stamina Boosting Food in a Tablet
Ideally, we’d all eat a healthy diet that supports an optimal health profile, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. NutriKane have created a range of products that make it easy to get the right nutrients.
NutriKane I provides food-as-medicine, without the prep. Containing a purpose-created combination of nutrients to support the body in naturally reducing inflammation, NutriKane I is ideal for boosting the immune system and enhancing stamina.
For more information on boosting your immune system naturally, check out this post on the pros and cons of anti-inflammatories.