With the Covid-19 pandemic that’s going on, it’s important that we stay healthy by eating immune system boosting foods. These healthy foods are some of our best defenses against the viruses and bacteria. But what happens if you’re on a low carb diet like keto?
Staying healthy in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak should be easy even if you’re on a keto diet. That’s because there are plenty of immune system boosting foods available that are low in carbs.
Most of these are fresh foods that are loaded with vitamins and minerals and can help your body to stay strong and fight off infections. So here’s a list of the best immune system boosting foods for keto.
Immune System Boosting Foods For Keto
1. Red Peppers
Usually, whenever we feel like we’re about to catch a cold, the first food that most of us would turn to are citrus fruits because of their Vitamin C content. However, most citrus fruits are loaded with carbs, which is not good for your low-carb diet.
But did you know that there are certain veggies that have twice as much Vitamin C as citrus fruits? Red peppers are among them. A medium-sized red pepper has 152 mg of Vitamin C, which is enough to fulfill your recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Adding red peppers to your keto diet should be easy. There are many ways to cook them and this Low Carb Stuffed Peppers Recipe would be a great recipe to try.
Broccoli is one of those immune system boosting foods that is very good for keto. In fact, it’s considered a superfood as it’s loaded with phytochemicals and nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamins C, and E, and the minerals potassium, magnesium and zinc.
The phytochemicals, also known as phytonutrients, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to enhance immunity to defend your body from the virus.
Not only that, but broccoli being a cruciferous vegetable contains a chemical compound that stimulates both Phase 1 and Phase 11 detoxification enzymes. This helps to provide protections against toxins that can interfere with the function of the immune system.
You’ll find lots of delicious low carb broccoli recipes out there, such as this Keto Broccoli and Cheese Soup Recipe.
3. Live Yogurt
Live yogurt is considered one of the best sources of probiotics that can give your immune system a boost. It is high in protein and will give you a bit of Vitamin A, which is also important in keeping your immune system healthy.
Related reading: Is A High Protein Diet Like Keto Bad for You?
Eighty percent of your immune system is in your gut so it’s important to have a good diverse microbiome for good immune function.
The gut microbiome consists of all the microbes that inhabit our intestines and plays a large part in good health as well as having a key role in training your immune system to function properly.
In one study done by Korean scientists 200 elderly participants were given yogurt or a placebo daily. At the end of the study the researchers stated:
The results suggest that daily consumption of dairy yogurt containing L paracasei, B lactis and heat treated L.Plantarum could improve immune function by enhancing NK cell activity.
NK cells (natural killer cells) are the lymphocytes (white cells) of your immune system that defend our bodies against viruses.
When adding yogurt to your low-carb diet, always choose the live ones with no additives or flavors. Live yogurts are ones that have not been pasteurized, a process which kills most of the beneficial bacteria. They are the best yogurt for keto.
Many yogurts have carbs in them that could kick you out of ketosis. In fact, even the “naturally sweetened” yogurts contain real fruits that have fructose, a type of carbohydrate.
Garlic is one of those immune system boosting foods that you can easily add in various keto-friendly recipes. But aside from being a natural flavor-enhancer, this herb is loaded with nutrients that are essential for your health.
Garlic’s immune-boosting abilities can be tied to its compounds containing sulfur, such as allicin. This compound is thought to improve the ability of your body cells to fight off all kinds of viruses.
It is for this reason why garlic is considered anti-viral and anti-microbial. In fact, ancient medicine would use garlic as an effective treatment for colds and flu.
Studies suggest that eating raw garlic is the best way to benefit from its immune system boosting abilities. That’s because the therapeutic aspects of the herb may be lost through cooking.
If you don’t like the idea of nibbling a clove of raw garlic because of the effect it has on your breath afterwards then eating it with some mint or basil can help. This is due to the chemical effects of the phenols in mint and basil.
One of the best ways to incorporate garlic into your keto diet is to add it to your favorite low-carb salads.
Ginger is another common ingredient in low carb recipes that is actually powerful at fighting off illnesses. This immune system boosting food contains properties that can help to decrease inflammation, making it a truly effective treatment for sore throat and infection.
Researchers reviewing published papers on ginger concluded that:
It can treat a wide range of diseases via immunonutrition and anti-inflammatory responses.
Gingerol is the main compound in ginger that has been found to treat pain and prevent nausea. It is also responsible for much of ginger’s medicinal properties.
This compound has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, which is what you need to protect your body from all sorts of viruses.
Experts recommend eating at least 3 to 4 grams of ginger extracts each day, or about four cups of ginger tea. Ginger is absolutely low in carbs so you can safely include it on your keto diet.
Preparing this Keto Ginger Lemon Detox Drink from I Breathe I’m Hungry is a healthy and refreshing way to incorporate ginger into your diet.
Now that everyone is advised to stay at home, you might find yourself craving for some snacks while binge-watching your favorite shows and movies.
But don’t be tempted to indulge in those sugary snacks and carbo-loaded treats. Instead, nibble on some healthy nuts like almonds. Almonds are among those immune system boosting foods that are good for keto.
Almond skins are rich in polyphenols that are known to be able to drive zinc into our cells where the mineral can block the enzyme that viruses use to replicate.
Researchers recently wanted to determine the effect extracts of almond skin had on the Herpes Virus and concluded they are an extraordinary source of antiviral agents.
Of course there is no guarantee that the polyphenols contained in the skin will have the same effect on Covid-19 but they are certainly worth eating.
Vitamin E in almonds
Almonds are loaded with Vitamin E which researchers have found can enhance the immune system. The combination of Vitamin C with E is thought also to enhance the immune system. Both are potent antioxidants too.
It can help ward off flu and colds while keeping your immune system healthy.
They are also high in healthy fats, which is great since Vitamin E has to be consumed with fat in order for our body to use it. Indeed, almonds are the perfect package for those who are following low carb diets like keto.
As a keto-friendly snack, almonds are best enjoyed raw. Roasting nuts can cause oxidation of the fats which may be detrimental to your health.
You can also buy almond milk and other almond-based food products. In fact, almond flour is one of the best low carb flour alternatives that you can use to make your favorite pastries and other baked goodies.
Immune Boosting Foods Final Thoughts
Aside from the foods mentioned above, there are several other immune system boosting foods that are good for keto. You can have spinach, mushrooms, turmeric, and, of course, meat and poultry, which are good sources of protein.
These immune system boosting foods are a delicious way to keep your body healthy in the midst of this pandemic sparked by the coronavirus. Since they are all low in carbs, you won’t feel guilty indulging in them while quarantining yourself at home.