On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing micro-organisms, but sometimes it fails and you get sick. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. Many researches are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, rest, psychological stress, herbal supplements, and other factors on the immune response, but we all know that proper nutrition is vital and it takes more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away. Adding certain foods to your diet can definitely boost your immune system and keep you healthy during the fast approaching winter season. Below are some interesting natural foods that can help boost your immunity.
- Yogurt – Probiotics, or the “live active cultures” found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs and remember a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system.
- Oats and Barley – These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fibre with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than Echinacea. It boosts immunity; speeds wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better.
- Garlic – This well-known immune booster is a potent onion relative and contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria.
- Tea – The amino acid that is responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea.
- Chick Soup – The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine, and may be useful during chest infections. The soup’s salty broth keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do. Added spices, such as garlic and onions, can increase soup’s immune-boosting power.
- Fish – Selenium, plentiful in shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams, helps white blood cells produce cytokines—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.
- Sweet potato – You may not think of skin as part of your immune system. But this crucial organ serves as a first-line fortress against bacteria, viruses, and other undesirables. To stay strong and healthy, your skin needs vitamin A. One of the best ways to get vitamin A into your diet is from foods containing beta-carotene (like sweet potatoes), which your body turns into vitamin A.
- Mushrooms – For centuries, people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system. Researchers now know why as studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, which help to fight infections.