Immune system is vital for our body as it defend against disease causing microorganisms. But sometimes this system fails or it become weak and body will be unable to fight against diseases. In such case, germ invades successfully and makes you sick. While there are ways to help you get over-sickness faster, one of the best ways to fight illness is to prevent it. Moreover, we can make immune system stronger.
Here are some foods for healthy immune system. Include these foods in your diet which provides loads of nutrients, minerals and antioxidants and helps to strengthen to your immune system.
1. Take probiotics
Probiotics or good bacteria are not only an important part of a healthy digestive process but also our immune systems. Fermented foods are traditional way to boosting your immunity. Kefir is an ancient cultured, enzyme-rich food full of friendly microorganisms that balance your inner ecosystem and strengthen immunity. Yogurt that contains live cultures is rich in lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium lactis, which fight bacteria that cause diseases and raise your white blood cell count.
Besides kefir and yogurt, other good fermented foods include natto, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, and olives. This highly nutritious fermented food has the ability to improve digestion and boost our immune health.
2. Vitamin C
Fruits are the powerhouse of essential minerals and vitamins. Fruits with more number of antioxidants enhances you immune system. Citrus fruits are considered to be the best sources when it comes to boosting our immune system. As they are a great source for Vitamin C which produces infection or disease-fighting antibodies, which prevents the entry of most of the viruses. Fruits like oranges, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, grape fruit and guava are low-calorie fruits. They are considered to be rich in antioxidants which will promote healthy immune system. Guava is a fruit which is an excellent source of skin-healing Vitamin C.
Garlic is one of nature’s most powerful immune boosters. It is a natural antimicrobial and unlike most antibiotics, garlic does not destroy the body’s normal flora. Garlic is one of the most potent of all superfoods. Garlic is loaded with ajoene, allicin and thiosulfinates, compounds high in sulfur that ward off diseases and help battle infections and bacteria. Studies shows that garlic lovers who chow more than six cloves a week have a 30% lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50% lower rate of stomach cancer. Chopping garlic ruptures the cells and releases these elements, allowing them to come in contact and form a powerful new compound called alliicin. Include garlic in your regular diet.
When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it gets vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a vital role in activating white blood cells that protect the body from illnesses. We can have vitamin D from safe exposure to sunlight but mushrooms are also an excellent source of vitamin D. Mushrooms are rich in compounds called beta glucans which boost the production of NK-cells and T-cells in your body to help prevent infections and maintain a healthy immune system. Mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive. This is a good thing as it helps to recover when you have an infection.
Shiitake, maitake, oyster and reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch. Include at least 1 ounce a few times a day for maximum immune benefits.
5. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy and Arugula are rich in vitamins A, C and E, which contain disease-fighting phytochemicals. They are rich in fiber and minerals. Cruciferous vegetables contain “Sulforaphane”, which is considered to be the most important nutrient. This also will boost the liver’s ability to flush out and detoxify all the carcinogens which will damage the cells in our body. Maximum amount of Sulforaphane are offered by Broccoli. Hence, this vegetable must be consumed in several serving per week.
6. Colorful foods
Colorful foods are high in colorful compounds called carotenoids. The body turns these carotenoids into vitamin A. Vitamin A is the most important nutrient our body requires and they have an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection.
Foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe, bell pepper, squash spinach, collards, and beet greens are great source of carotenoids. Pumpkin is the best food which has fewer calories and it is rich in vitamin A. Carrots are crammed with beta carotene, a phytonutrient that increases your body’s production of T-cells and natural killer cells.
7. Green tea
Consuming good amounts of tea can boost your immunity system. Tea is a pack of poly-phenols, and these are the compounds associated with increased antibacterial activity. Drinking tea helps our body to stop reacting to allergens like pollution and dust. Health experts suggest drinking 4 cups of green tea per day to help the immune system to function to its peak. The amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea.
Green tea is rich in poly-phenols and other antioxidants. This will contribute a lot to foster your immune system. Basil is one of the best herbal teas loaded with antioxidants. Such tea will increase our immunity.
Coconut contains high amounts lauric acid, which is one of the compounds in breast milk that aids the body in fighting infection. Lauric acid is converted into monolaurin by the body. Monolaurin is an antiviral that acts specifically on enveloped viruses, or viruses that are enclosed by lipids and phospholipids. Monolaurin disrupts these lipid layers by dissolving them, thus killing the virus.
Coconut helps balance the ratio of good-to-bad bacteria in your digestive tract, is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial which are both beneficial in fighting infections, warding off disease, and boosting your immune system. When selecting coconuts and coconut oil, make sure you choose organic ones that are unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and are non-GMO.
Shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams are rich in Selenium which helps white blood cells to produce cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body. Salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation, increasing airflow and protecting lungs from colds and respiratory infections. High amount of selenium in our body helps to reduce cancer. Omega-3 fats will increase the activity of phagocytes (cells), and can eat up the bacteria to fight against flu. A recent survey says, pregnant women who consume loads of fatty fish can build up a good immune system of their babies. This will also help them to bring down the risk of allergies.
10. Oats and barley
These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than echinacea. Barley and oats contain powerful antioxidant capabilities. It boosts immunity speeds wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better. Consuming oats can help the human body resist influenza, speed wound healing time and boost the immune system. These grains partner with antibiotics to make medication more effective.