Vegan friendly foods that are also immune boosters!

14 September 2020 | Opinion

Vegan foods are lately a rage popularized as a lifestyle that excludes all products of animal origin such as dairy, eggs and meat Image credit- Image credit-

The pandemic made us realize the need for a strong immunity more than ever before. As prevention is better than cure, building the body’s natural defense system is important in maintaining optimum health. There are several factors that can help boost immunity but diet remains the prime aspect in enhancing the immune system.

Similarly, vegan foods are lately a rage popularized as a lifestyle that excludes all products of animal origin such as dairy, eggs and meat. Here is a list of basic vegan foods that are not only immune boosters but are also easily found in the Indian kitchen.


  1. Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil (VCNO)
  • Considered as Nature’s Superfood, cold pressed virgin coconut oil contains MCTs that helps in improving the immune system, boosts energy and aids in weight management as well
  • The function of monolaurin which is found in coconut oil is that of an anti-viral that kills bacteria by dissolving the protective lipids surrounding it
  • It can be used in cooking, baking vegan desserts at home or even as a salad dressing or sautéing vegetables. It is also recommended to consume 2 spoons of virgin coconut oil every day for a healthy and energetic start to the day


  1. Black Pepper
  • Black pepper is the King of Spices in the kitchen that has an anti-inflammatory effect and is a powerful antioxidant; it enhances nutrient bioavailability
  • Black pepper with turmeric is an exceptionally good combination as piperine in black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin from turmeric
  • Black pepper can be sprinkled over boiled eggs or sautéed vegetables and other marinades


  1. The Golden Spice: Turmeric
  • Turmeric is a common Indian spice that is added to almost every Indian curry preparation. Apart from that turmeric milk is known to soothe a common cold and cough
  • It has Anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful antioxidant


  1. Nigella Sativa / Kalonji also known as Onion seeds
  • Kalonji or onion seeds have generated great interest as an immunity booster. They are a good source of antioxidants and have anti-bacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Kalonji seeds can be added to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal or simple raw with honey or in water


  1. Ginger
  • It is known to improve digestion and has anti- bacterial, anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties which makes it a great immune booster; t also prevents coughs and colds
  • It also provides muscle relief
  • Ginger tea is well known to treat sore throats and common cold caused due to changing weather. A cup of ginger tea is most relished on a rainy evening!


  1. Garlic
  • It is a very potent antimicrobial agent which has immune-enhancing effects. For best results it is advisable to chop it into small pieces and chew raw garlic
  • Make a dip or chutney to ensure that it reaches the last part of the gut before getting fully absorbed in our body, killing gut pathogens


  1. Overnight soaked and fermented rice
  • Soak a few tablespoons of cooked white rice in some water in a clay/mud pot and leave this mixture overnight and have it in the morning on an empty stomach. It is a great probiotic and a good source of Vitamin B12 which is often a deficiency in the vegan population
  • You can also have it mixed with curd, sliced onions and green chilies for breakfast
  • A healthy gut using natural probiotic sources and supplementing Vit B12 ensures a robust immune system


Sheryl Salis, RD, CDE, Founder & Director, Nurture Health Solutions, Mumbai


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