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Foods That Boost The Immune System

The immune system is one of the essential structures of the human body and other organisms. It is the body’s defense mechanism, and it comprises biological structures and processes which are always responsive to any infection or disease that attacks in numerous ways.

The immune system is said to be functional if it detects and fights off a wide range of harmful agents such as viruses, parasitic worms, pathogens, and the likes. Moreover, it must also be capable of distinguishing between these toxic substances and the body’s healthy tissues.

In as much as the immune system detects and combats agents that could harm the body, it won’t be able to carry out its functions on a poor feeding diet properly. Yes, what we eat determines the extent to which the immune system functions. Our dieting must contain more natural foods and less of over-processed and synthetic ones.

In this article, we shall be looking at natural foods that aid in building the immune system. 

Citrus fruits

Of course! Fruits in the citrus family are excellent immune boosters. They are rich in vitamin C, and this helps in the increment of the white blood cells, which play a significant role in combating several infections and diseases. 

Fortunately, due to the citrus fruits’ exquisite variety, there is a considerable number to choose from such as grapefruit, clementines, oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines. 

The body neither produces nor stores vitamin C so; it must be consumed daily to ensure the immune system stays fortified. The amount recommended daily for most adults is:

  • 90 milligrams for men.
  • 75 milligrams for women.

Blueberries

Blueberries contain a particular type of flavonoid known as anthocyanin, which has a high level of antioxidant properties that can help to boost one’s immune system.

However, a study found that people who consume foods that are rich in flavonoids are less likely to contract a common cold or a respiratory infection than those who do not.

Moreover, blueberries contain large amounts of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, and manganese. They are also low in calories, high in nutrients and rich in antioxidants.

Therefore, if you are looking to boost your immune system, it is advisable to add blueberries to your diet plan.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a yellow spice that has numerous health benefits. Most people use it to cook and it is also present in some alternative medicines.

Eating turmeric is a natural way of boosting your immune response. This is due to the qualities of the curcumin compound present in the spice. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that fights inflammation and boosts the body’s immunity.

Furthermore, Turmeric spice also protects the astrocytes present in the central nervous system from damage.

Mackerel and Salmon

These fishes are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a great source of healthy fats the body cannot manufacture on its own. They help to boost and improve the functioning of the immune cells.

Consuming Mackerel or Salmon fish is a good way to enhance the activity of the white blood cells which could further strengthen the immune system to the barest maximum.

Garlic

Garlic is a plant in the onion family that is related to leeks and shallots. It is a natural home remedy that can prove vital to the prevention and treatment of cold and other ailments.

However, Garlic contains compounds that can help fight germs and boost the body’s immunity level. When garlic is chewed, it produces the allicin compound as well as the s-allyl cysteine and diallyl disulfide.

These compounds travel to different parts of the body through the digestive tract and exert their potential biological effects. This helps to improve the immune system and even lower blood pressure in the body.

Button mushrooms

The button mushrooms hold a lot of benefits for the immune system. They contain B vitamins that aid and improve the body’s immunity.

More so, Button mushrooms also contain niacin and riboflavin compounds which are essential for improving and maintaining a healthy immune system.

Furthermore, consuming Button mushrooms can provide your body with enough selenium that can help you to prevent viral infections such as flu or colds from happening.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants such as vitamin A and beta carotene, which are essential for the improvement of the immune system. These antioxidants also prove to benefit your teeth, eyes, and heart.

Beta carotene is an active antioxidant which is a carotenoid that helps to protect the immune system from damaging free radicals. It also serves as a barrier that blocks infections, cold and foreign invaders from getting into the body.

However, adding sweet potatoes to your diet list is an easy way to add more fiber to your diet. Fibers aid easy digestion and bowel movements.

Low-fat yogurt

Low-fat yogurt is a dairy product that should also be added to your diet list. They are typically labeled and easy to find and distinguish in supermarkets.

Moreover, low-fat yogurt is contained with enough protein. It is also high in vitamin D and as such, helps to regulate the immune system. Studies have shown how efficient vitamin D is when it comes to defending the body against regular infections and colds.

Furthermore, low- fat yogurt also modulates the innate natural responses of the immune system to ward off bad bacteria.

Watermelon

A ripe watermelon is contained with an antioxidant known as glutathione. This antioxidant doesn’t just fight infections in the body but also boosts the immune system.

Apart from that, watermelon also naturally has high amounts of vitamin C which help the absorption of iron in the body.

Iron improves the response of the immune system to foreign invaders and also helps to regulate it. It can achieve this by maturing the cells to act quicker or faster to bacteria that get into the body.

Watermelon has numerous benefits that could help improve the function of the immune system. So, if you are looking to have stronger immunity, ensure to eat one portion of watermelon daily.

Red bell peppers

A lot of people turn to citrus fruits when their body is lacking in vitamin C. However, what they don’t know is that Red bell peppers are higher in vitamin C by twice as much.

Apart from being commonly associated with fighting off viral infections or the flu, red bell peppers also naturally boosts the immune system.

More so, they are also rich in beta carotene, an oxidant which is good for protecting the immune system against free radicals. Beta carotene also aids the immune system to respond quicker to bacteria and enhance the immune cell function.

Broccoli

Broccoli is rich in vitamins and nutrients. It contains vitamins A, C, E, and it also possesses fiber with other antioxidant properties. This food is one of the healthiest veggies that you can ever consume. 

To fully consume its natural contents, you must ensure it isn’t cooked or better still, not cooked at all. Studies have shown that steaming is the best way to preserve more nutrients in foods.

Ginger

Ginger is a perfect ingredient that can be maximized after falling ill. It aids in the reduction of inflammation, sore throat, and so on. It could also act as an analgesic, and it can lower cholesterol levels.

Spinach

Spinach contains high levels of vitamin C, beta carotene, and other antioxidants which could prove useful in the boosting of the immune system. Similar to broccoli, spinach should be cooked a little or not at all to gain more of its nutrients.

Pawpaw

Pawpaw is a fruit that is packed with vitamin C. It also has a digestive enzyme called papain. This digestive enzyme has an anti-inflammatory function. Generally, the pawpaw fruit contains potassium, magnesium, and folate. These are quite beneficial to the body.

Kiwi

Similar to the pawpaw fruit, kiwis are loaded with lots and lots of beneficial nutrients. This includes potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. 

Vitamin C helps in the boosting of the antibodies in the human system to fight off harmful substances.

Green tea

Green tea is a perfect support for the immune system. It contains antioxidant properties that defend the body against free radicals and oxidative damage. These antioxidant properties it possesses are called flavonoids which aid in the body’s metabolic process.

Beans

Beans as food generally are known to be rich in protein. It also contains soluble fiber which acts as prebiotics (this supports immunity and the gastrointestinal health in many ways). 

More so, it is also packed with folate, which is vital in the cycle of production of specific immune cells. 

Nuts

One of the best sources of vitamin E is nuts. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is involved in the proper function of the immune system. It stimulates the activities of the white blood cells. This essential vitamin lessens the risk of specific infections. 

So, ensure you consume enough vitamin E in your diet by taking nuts. Being deficient in vitamin E could result in reduced function of the immune system. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and the likes will help build your immune system.

Olive oil

This type of oil which is a vital ingredient of the Mediterranean diet contains anti-inflammatory properties. Two or three spoons of olive oil regularly added to grains, salads, and other types of veggie-related foods boost the immune health.

Final thoughts

The proper function of the immune system is what ensures the overall health of the body. As earlier stated, it is the body’s defense mechanism, and for it to rightly function, your feeding system should comprise of natural foods such as mention above.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723551/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/immunity

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/what-can-you-do-to-improve-your-immune-system

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