Culture Food

Eat These 8 African Foods to Boost Your Immunity

Hibiscus tea
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

In African homes, the top priority is health, and that’s why you’ll notice people eating foods that boost their immunity. 

African foods are rich in whole plants, vegetables, fruits and herbs, which are essentially nutritious, delicious and recommended for healthy immunity. Besides that, these foods also stand as a catalyst for black people to connect with their values of community and fellowship. 

The best way to prevent yourself from falling ill is by bolstering your immunity system through diet. And that’s why we have decided to give you eight African foods that boost your immunity and contribute to your overall well-being. 

1. Teff

Teff

Teff. Photo/ Precision Nutrition.

Teff is an ancient grain from Eritrea and Ethiopia that comes in various colours, from dark brown to white and red.  The grain, which leads all the grains in its massive calcium content, is also high in vitamin C, iron and protein. Teff grains contain 11 per cent protein and are an excellent source of amino acids. 

After being ground into flour, teff t is used to make injera, a flat, pancake-like fermented bread that complements their exotic spices. 

2. Turmeric 

Turmeric makes a famous bright-yellow spice, mostly used in sauces and curries.  It’s popular for its ability to boost immunity due to the presence of curcumin, which is believed to stave off viruses.  Tumeric remains a favourite spice for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is also recommended for people with immune disorders.

Turmeric

Turmeric. Photo/ Good Housekeeping.

3. Potatoes 

Potatoes are among African foods that boost immunity. They contain minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and phosphorus. Besides that, they are also rich in vitamins such as B-complex and C. Eating potatoes helps restore electrolyte balance as they contain high potassium and sodium levels. Potatoes are best when eaten cold.

Potatoes

Potatoes. Photo/ Live Science.

4. Hibiscus

You’ll easily come across a glass of hibiscus tea in Sudan and Egypt. The tea, which is rich in antioxidants and minerals, is known for decreasing body temperature, soothing a sore throat and also treating heart disease. 

Hibiscus tea can also be served chilled with ice. However, drink it hot when you want it to lose a bit of its sour flavour. Recent studies are looking at the possible role of hibiscus in treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Hibiscus tea

Hibiscus tea is among African foods that boost immunity. Photo/ Lybrate.

5. Amaranth 

Amaranth, one of the African foods that boost immunity, is consumed in most parts of South Africa.  It contains tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E which may reduce the risk of heart disease and cholesterol. Amaranth leaves are a good source of iron and beta-carotene, as well as potassium and magnesium, which can reduce hypertension and stroke.

Amaranth

Growing amaranth. Photo/ The Spruce.

6. Bush Pears 

Also known as African pears, bush pears are a native fruit in West Africa, especially in southeast Nigeria. They are pink in colour when unripe but turns dark purple when ripped. 

Bush pears are often mentioned when discussing African foods that boost immunity due to their benefits. They help slow the impacts of microorganisms on the body, reduce blood pressure and promote healthy bones and teeth. 

7. Pineapples 

Pineapples are good for boosting immunity as they are rich in vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants. They help in enhancing strong bones and indigestion. Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, believed to boost immunity and suppress inflammation. 

8. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits. Photo/ MyFoodDiary.

Despite being flavourful and pretty, citrus fruits such as grapes, tangerines and oranges are also good for your health. They are strong immunity boosters and contain large amounts of vitamin C, which increases the production of white blood cells.  Nearly a third of all citrus fruits are used to make juice. 

What foods instantly boost the immune system?

  • Berries
  • Fish oil 
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Spices
  • Citrus fruits 
  • Poultry 
  • Brightly coloured vegetables 

What Naturally Boosts Immunity? 

Immunity is the body’s defence against foreign organisms. You can strengthen your immunity naturally by being physically active, eating well, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding excessive alcohol use and not smoking. 

Which Fruit Gives The Highest Immunity? 

  1. Oranges 
  2. Grapefruit 
  3. Blueberries 
  4. Apples 
  5. Pears 

What Are 5 Foods That Can Help Boost Your Immune System? 

  • Citrus Fruits 
  • Spinach and Broccoli 
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Green Tea 
  • Yoghurt 
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About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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