Food & Diet
Pump Up Your Immune System with these Foods
A strong immune system is crucial in order to protect you from diseases and microorganisms that can harm your body. But we can’t maintain it at its full strength all the time because we stress a lot, lead busy lives and forget to take care of our nutrition and intake of important vitamins, or we simply don’t rest enough. With that lack of self-care and exposure to stress and unhealthy environments, our immune system tends to weaken and that is when we usually feel weak and get colds or other diseases.
With proper nutrition and diet improvements you can significantly improve your immunity. For it to be strong, you need to lead a balanced life, eat a balanced diet and avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, overeating or under-eating, etc.
As for the foods that can help you boost your immune system, introducing one fruit per day won’t do it. Mixing up vegetables and fruits will give you tasty colorful plates you will enjoy and which will keep you healthy. Water intake is also very important, and in order for your immune system to be strong you should drink at least 8 glasses of water, never less.
Here are some foods that will help you pump up your immune system:
Garlic is a powerful immune system boosting food which contains a good level of active allicin which works in such a way that prevents bacteria and infections from damaging your body and making you ill. Research has proven the benefits of garlic and its effectiveness in strengthening the immune system. One conducted by British researchers included 146 people, some of them receiving garlic extract and some – a placebo. After twelve weeks the results showed that those who took garlic were much less likely (by 2/3) to get a cold. A recommended dose would be two cloves of garlic per day, eaten raw in one piece or crushed and eaten in meals.
In the process of cooking, chicken releases cysteine (amino acid), which acts similarly to acetylcysteine, the common drug for treating bronchitis. When you add spices to your chicken soup, you only increase its power to strengthen your immunity. Here is one of the many recipes for this delicious cold-cure, just to give you an idea.
Quite often, our immune system weakens because our body experiences zinc deficiency. This happens especially to vegetarians and those who avoid eating beef. There are some controversies about beef and cholesterol, but a well known fact is that this meat is among the best sources of zinc which, according to Dr. William Boisvert (a nutrition and immunity expert from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla), is an essential mineral for white blood cell development and overall immunity improvement. A good dose of beef that would cover 30% of your daily zinc need would be somewhere around 85 grams.
In this group there are oranges, grapefruits, lemons, tangerines and limes, and all of them are packed with vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins your body needs to maintain its resistance to bacteria and infections. These fruits also have a sort of fiber that helps the body lower the levels of cholesterol.
Fresh ginger root can be found in stores throughout the entire year. It is aromatic and a good addition to many meals and salads. This spice is used to treat many health issues such as intestinal gas and intestinal tract problems. Recently, scientists found that ginger has antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory compounds. It boosts the immune system by warming you and promoting healthy sweating which helps your body fight off colds and the flu.
This tropical fruit has many health benefits and protects your immune system and helps maintain its strength. It is so good because it contains good levels of vitamin C, which enables it to defend your body from free radicals that can damage your cells. It also prevents ear infections, colds and the flu. Pineapple is also full of vitamins B1 and B6 which improve nerve function and metabolism, while helping your body use the amino acids that improve the immune system to the fullest.
The probiotics contained in yogurt protect the body from the germs that bring diseases and prevent them from entering your intestinal tract. Research conducted at the University of Vienna, in Austria, discovered that a portion of 7 ounces of yogurt boosts your immune system equally well as pills for immunity improvement. Any yogurt that contains live and active cultures is good for your immunity because they contain some bacteria that are good for you and your overall health. A study conducted in Sweden, which included 181 factory workers who were observed over a course of 80 days, showed that those who drank a supplement containing a probiotic called Lactobacillus reuteri (which improves the function of white blood cells) were 33% less often sick than the respondents who were given a placebo.
Protein Rich Foods
As not eating enough high quality protein can weaken your immune system and the inability of the body to produce antibodies, it is very important to eat enough of this nutrient if we want to remain healthy. Protein contains 20 amino acids essential for the body’s ability to repair and grow, and maintain the strength of immunity. Some of those amino acids are used prior to surgeries in order to improve the immune system of the patients. There is a wide variety of protein rich foods, including lean meats, eggs, dairy, soy, fish, etc.