Updated: Jan 12
What are the first fruits that comes into mind when you think of immune boosting fruits? Is it oranges and lemons? Well, oranges and lemons do boost your immune system. However, there are several other fruits that are high in vitamins, minerals and enzymes that also boost your immune system. These are my top 5 unexpected immune boosting fruits.
Kiwi fruit contains more vitamin C than oranges and is considered a top immune booster. Its immune-enhancing abilities lie mainly in its super dose of vitamin C. Just one fruit contains around 120% of an adult's daily recommended intake, and unlike many other fruits, the nutrients remain intact long after harvesting, with 90% of its vitamin C content still present after 6 months' storage.
Nutrients: vitamin B3, C, beta-carotene & fibre.
Permaculture hint: kiwi is a hardy vine that prefers to grow in well-drained soil in full sun. It thrives in areas that have mild winters and a frost-free season that lasts long enough for the fruit to ripen. If you live in a region known to get excessively hot, place them in an area that is protected during the hottest part of the day. Make sure to annually prune your kiwi vine. Remember to mulch, so that you preserve the soil moisture.
The best-known tropical fruit, bananas, contain moderate-releasing sugars that provide a steady energy boost. This is my favourite go to fruit in the mornings when I'm in a rush to get out of the door. Bananas are also rich in fibre that serve as a fantastic pre-biotic, which means it feeds the healthy bacteria (microbiome) in the gut. Thus assisting a healthy digestive system. Bananas contain B-vitamins, which the body needs to produce energy. This includes vitamin B5, which aids the formation of the immune system's killer cells, and B6, which improves the body's ability to clear away waste matter. Bananas also contain vitamin C and manganese, which work synergistically to produce the virus-fighting substance interferon. In addition, they are dense in potassium, which regulates body fluids and nerve function.
Nutrients: vitamin B3, B5, B6, C, biotin, magnesium, manganese, potassium & fibre.
Permaculture hint: banana is a perennial herb that grow from a large rhizome. Banana plants thrive in tropical and subtropical climates. They like rich, well-drained soil with reliable moisture. They can tolerate most soil, except sandy. The right time to plant them is in spring and summer. Prepare the soil in advance with plenty of compost and/or manure. Thoroughly irrigate a few days prior to planting. Place the banana plants 4 meters apart. When planting, create a raised mound around the banana to improve drainage around the roots. Banana plants are very nutrient hungry and require a potassium enriched soil.
There is truth in the old saying "one apple a day keeps the doctor away". Why is this? The apple is an effective cleansing tool, rich in fibre that helps clear toxins from the body. Its ability to cleanse the body is largely due to a form of fibre called pectin, which binds with cholesterol, toxins and heavy metals, speeding up excretion. Apples are used in The Gerson Therapy as the primary fruit to assist with the removal of heavy metals, which helps with the treatment of chronic conditions. The flavonoid quercetin found in apples is anti-inflammatory and can help to ease allergic reactions and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, while their malic acid content helps the body to use energy efficiently.
Nutrients: vitamin C, malic acid, flavonoids and fibre.
Permaculture hint: There are more than 7,000 varieties of apple trees/shrubs. Although, they can grow in a variety of conditions. Apples grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Avoid growing apples in low and wet spots, they dislike growing in standing water for extended periods. Apples bear best when there are two varieties nearby to pollinate each other. If you have large containers, you can grow dwarf varieties in pots. Remember to use well-draining soil, water and fertilise regularly.
Papaya (paw paw)
This tropical fruit has a sweet flesh, which is rich in carotenoids and antioxidants. I grew up in Brazil eating papaya everyday for breakfast. I absolutely love papaya. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene. As well as supporting the immune system, these antioxidants prevent the build-up of plaque on blood vessel walls, protecting against cardiovascular disease (CVD). Papaya is also rich in fibre, which lowers cholesterol levels and helps prevent colon cancer by binding with cancer-causing toxins. In addition, it contains a protein-digesting enzyme called papain, which aids digestion and reduces inflammation.
Nutrients: vitamin C, carotenoids, folate, potassium, papain & fibre.
Permaculture hint: papayas are really easy to grow. In Brazil the tucans split papaya opens and spread the seeds. Papaya trees sprout wherever the seeds fall. Here in Australia our papayas have sprouted very similarly.
Pineapple is rich in the enzyme bromelain, which is a protein-digesting enzyme that aids the digestive system and inhibits the action of a number of inflammatory agents, thereby easing inflammatory conditions, such as sinusitis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout, and speeding recovery from injuries and surgery. It is also recommended to eat pineapple after eating red meat to assist with digestion.
Pineapple is also an excellent source of manganese - an essential co-factor in a number of enzymes important for antioxidant defences and energy productions. Manganese is also known to promote sexual health and increase libido. In addition, pineapple is rich in thiamine and vitamin C, which enhances sexual health, supports the immune system and defends the body against free radicals. Read more about Aphrodisiac Foods in Every Day Life.
Nutrients: vitamins B1, B2, C, manganese, bromelain & fibre.
Permaculture hint: one of the easiest things to replant. Cut the top off the pineapple and place directly into the soil. Choose a sunny area and water occasionally.