It’s vital to keep your health in check all year round, but this is especially true during flu season. Building up your immunity has a lot to do with your food choices. In general, food that is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for body functions can effectively strengthen the immune system. And plenty of Filipino foods fit that description. That’s why it’s important to know more about Filipino foods to boost immunity.
Which ingredients can you use to make your favorite Filipino homemade meals healthier?
In no particular order, here are some of the best Filipino foods to boost immunity.
10 Filipino Foods to Boost Immunity
From Nilaga, to Tinola, or Ginisang Papaya, we’ve all had lutong bahay (homemade meal) experiences that had papaya in it. Papaya is a household grocery staple because it makes for good food, but also it’s super healthy.
Papaya is a great source of vitamin C. In fact, it contains over 200% of the daily recommended amount for a person. That’s A+ for boosting your immune system!
To top it off, papaya is also rich in vitamin A, folate, and potassium, which can improve your eyesight, enhance muscle strength, keep you hydrated, speed up your metabolism, and even relieve anxiety and stress.
Malunggay or “Moringa” comes from a tree native to India. Still, it is very well known throughout Africa, South America, and Asia.
Moringa is a known superfood, especially when it comes to naturally boosting your immune system. Moringa is made of 25% protein and is loaded with fiber and iron.
What’s more, Moringa contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges and four times more vitamin A than carrots.
Load up of Moringa’s health benefits by adding more of it in your Tinolang Manok (Filipino ginger chicken soup).
Anyone who’s ever made curry knows that Turmeric is the key ingredient. It’s the bright yellow bitter spice that makes the curry colorful and comes with a kick of taste and nutrition.
A vital factor to keeping yourself healthy is making sure you’re not susceptible to infection, and a way to get infected is through inflammation. And that’s why turmeric is so good for you. It’s loaded with curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body repair damages and keeps inflammation away.
To make more Filipino foods to boost immunity, try adding turmeric to your Chicken Curry.
Ginger is definitely on our list of Filipino foods to boost immunity. Not only is it in a lot of our homemade dishes, but it’s also jam-packed with nutrients to keep us healthy.
Ginger is the fresh root crop we use to sauté. We use it when we make chicken curry, when we make Sinigang (tamarind stew), when we make Chicken Tinola and a lot more familiar recipes.
Ginger is excellent for anti-inflammatory hence, boosting your immune system. It’s also known as a diaphoretic, which helps alleviate flu-symptoms if you feel you’re catching a cold or a fever.
It also helps your body release toxins by inducing sweat. You make your ginger tea or cook more foods with ginger, to keep yourself away from infection.
No wonder we hear omega-3 fatty acids a lot on the internet, in commercials, and even in cookbooks. It’s good for your heart and your overall health. Omega-3 can be found in fatty fish like Salmon.
Aside from the benefits of omega-3, salmon also contains zinc, selenium, and bioflavonoid that help heal your body from within and help keep your immune system on point.
Get your nutritious dose of omega-3 fatty acids with dishes like Sinigang na Salmon.
It might be surprising to see eggs on a list of Filipino foods to boost immunity. This is especially because their yolks are well known to be high in cholesterol. But they also have a lot of protein.
Making sure your body has enough protein is essential to keeping your immune system boosted, and eggs just so happen to have a lot of protein.
Eggs also have nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin D, and vitamin E, which support immune system functions. So yes, the eggs in your tapsilog, longgsilog, and other Filipino breakfast staples are good for you.
If you feel like trying something different from your usual sunnyside up and scrambled eggs, try using eggs to make tortang talong (eggplant omelette).
Flank steak (4-ounces) gives you more than 50% of the daily recommended dose of zinc, selenium, and vitamin B6.
These three nutrients put together to make sure your immune system is functioning at its 100% capacity, protecting you from illnesses.
Studies have linked the carnosine in meat to improved immunity.
It’s important to note, however, that as with all types of red meat, they should be eaten in moderation. This is because there are scores of studies linking red meat consumption with increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer.
Butternut squash is definitely on our Filipino foods to boost immunity list! It adds a perfect flavor and texture to Pinakbet, or mixed vegetables steamed in shrimp or fish sauce.
Squash has a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6, and other antioxidant compounds. Incorporating squash in your daily meals not only gives you more than 100% of the daily recommended dosage of vitamin A but it also supports proper organ functions and boosts your immune system.
It’s no secret that citrus fruits are our go-to alternatives for vitamin C. But did you know that yellow and red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C than oranges do?
This fun fact is why Bell Peppers are on our radar for Filipino foods to boost immunity. So if you want to load up on vitamin C, make the bell pepper switch and don’t forget to add it to your bowl of Chicken Afritada (Chicken tomato stew with vegetables).
And the last on our list of Filipino foods to boost immunity is Pechay, which is a beloved strain of cabbage in the Philippines. Like all types of cabbage, it’s a good source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin K, and more.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to your daily vitamins to boost your immune system, Pechay is your best bet.
Add pechay to your Bulalo, beef shanks or bone marrow stew with corn and green vegetables. Or for an even healthier everyday meal, add Pechay to stir-fried, garlicky tofu.
On your next trip to the grocery, we hope you add more of these Filipino foods to boost immunity to keep your family strong and healthy, especially during flu season.
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