Really good health starts with a strong and healthy immune system. Our body’s immune system helps us to fight against various infections and conditions, like colds and influenza, and is a crucial part of preventing allergies and cancers.
Fortunately for everyone, food can play a huge role in keeping one safe and healthy! In this article, fifteen foods to immune system boost will be discussed, as well as practical ways of including them into your diet.
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What is Immune System Function
The immune system is a combination of unique cells, organs and body chemicals to help fight against toxic and harmful infections entering the body.
The major components of the immune system comprised of the white blood cells, antibodies, the thymus, complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, and the bone marrow. These components do work hand in hand to fight against the microbes attacking the body.
Having a strong immune system is a sign of healthy living. The stronger your immune system, the safer you are against disease.
In normal circumstances, the human immune should be strong enough to fight against simple flu and common colds except in cases where the person is experiencing or affected by a special illness like sickle cell anemia, AIDS, and other immune diseases.
When an individual always experiences common cold, has a very high-stress level, has frequent infections, feels tired always, and has slow healing to cuts, bruises, and wounds, they are all signs that the person’s immune system is low.
Vitamins for Boosting the Immune System
One of the most effective ways of boosting the immune system is vitamins. They are known to be rich in antibodies that help supplement the immune system in fighting infections. Several studies have shown that vitamins play an important role on our immune system (1).
Some examples of vitamins that can boost the immune system include:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to be one of the best vitamins that helps boost the immune system. Daily consumption of vitamin C is a good way of boosting the immune system.
2. Vitamin B6
This vitamin is known to help the biochemical reactions in the immune system. Vitamin B6 is one of the B vitamins that benefits the central nervous system. It is involved in producing red blood cells and neurotransmitters (2).
3. Vitamin E
This vitamin is known to be a powerful deoxidant that helps fight infections in the body. Our body needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses (3).
4. Vitamin D
Several studies have shown that vitamin D triggers the body’s immune cells to produce antibodies; therefore, vitamin D promotes an overall increase in the strength of the immune system (4, 5).
Below, we have listed fifteen foods which are full of vitamins and other nutritions that can boost the immune system.
Foods for Immune System Boost
Garlic is known as a flavoring for various dishes. But it has countless properties that make it excellent for your health. It is antibacterial and antiviral, which helps improve the immune system and your ability to respond to diseases.
According to a study, garlic is rich in allicin which has antibacterial, fungal, and virus-killing properties (6).
Cooking makes garlic less efficient, but both cooked and raw garlic are still worth eating every day for boosting the body’s immune system.
Who doesn’t love a good yogurt? Yogurt is incredibly delicious, generally found everywhere, and as an added bonus is very healthy for you.
The bacteria found in yogurt aid in keeping the digestive tract free of germs with such effectiveness that yogurt is just as effective as actual medication in boosting the immune system. It is also high in protein, vitamin A and zinc.
Keep on the lookout for yogurt free of added sugar and pair it with fresh fruit and other healthy foods for the optimal boosting of your immune system.
Once known as the insect of the sea, crab contains selenium, which helps your body clear flu virus out of your body. Eating crab at least two times a week will keep your body running at the highest level.
Everyone knows that oranges are full of vitamin C. This vitamin has been shown to improve the immune system by increasing the production of blood cells. Eating oranges will help your body fight off infections in a substantial way.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” A medium apple equals almost two cups of fruit, which doctors recommend as your daily intake. Apples are high in fiber and water, improve heart function, and are proven to lower the risk of diabetes.
Apples are almost miraculous in how many nutrients they contain, and anyone seeking a healthier immune system would be wise to introduce or increase their consumption of apples.
Fish is very tasty when cooked properly. Perhaps even better, fish is also a very healthy food to eat. Fish contains healthy fatty acids that help increase the production of blood cells and healthy compounds that regulate your body’s immune system. Get a boat and go catch yourself some fish! It will keep you healthy!
Nuts are protein-rich and full of minerals, fatty acids, and essential vitamin e. Nuts are surprisingly similar to fish in nutrient content, so pairing them together is recommended. Eat nuts with bread, celery, or other healthy foods for the optimum boost to your body’s regulatory systems.
A study has shown that dark chocolate has an antioxidant contains called theobromine, which may help to boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals (7).
Surprisingly enough, chocolate, when taken in moderation, of course, is actually a powerful tool in keeping one’s immune system running at its full potential.
Add limited amounts of chocolate and cocoa powder to items like oatmeal, bananas, and pudding to create both flavor and the biggest boost to your body.
9. Ginger Tea
Tea lovers rejoice! Tea is very effective at relieving illness and boosting your body’s ability to fight off disease. Ginger, in particular, is well known for its power to combat the common cold and the flu. The spicy plant also affects your immune response and reduces inflammation.
Kiwi is not as well known, but that fact should change. Kiwis are naturally full of vitamins and other nutrients that all together keep your body functioning effectively to fight off infections. The vitamins in the fruit also boost white cell production.
Spinach isn’t a popular option for taste conscious or picky eaters, but the vegetable contains not only vitamin C but other antioxidants and nutrients such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin E. Study also indicates that flavonoids may help to stop the common cold in otherwise healthy people (8).
When using Spinach, cook it as little as possible in order to maintain as much of its rich nutritional value as possible.
This fermented vegetable dish of Korean origin may be unusual to western taste buds, but the dish is full of beneficial bacteria that keep your body healthy and leaves you with more energy to do the things you love.
According to research, this traditional Korean dish kimchi has shown to have properties that boost the immune system (9).
Keeps will be recoiling in horror, but not only is Broccoli very healthy, but it also acts as an immune booster, fishing off bad viruses and germs. Turns out your mother was right after all!
Grapefruit contains vital antioxidants that help to regulate your body’s stomach and immune system. Its nutrients help to detox the body and improve internal functions. Eat grapefruit multiple times a week for the best effect.
Last, but certainly not least on our list, is watermelon. Watermelon is rich in vitamin C, and A, and contains an abundant concentration of nutrients and antioxidants. Eating watermelon all year round is an important part you can play to stay healthy.
Chicken is one of those foods that everyone loves! Scientists have determined that chicken is exceedingly effective at maintaining the immune system (10).
Chicken soup is incredibly potent, and stock made with chicken bones contains all the essential nutrients for the creation of new blood cells, as well as other proteins helpful for gut healing and immunity. All in all, one cannot go wrong with a hunk good old chicken, grilled in the oven, and paired with a healthy side.
Tips on How to Boost the Immune System
While the virus spreading throughout the world may be terrifying, eating the foods listed above will play a massive role in staying healthy and well-functioning; below are tips to help boost or increase an immune system.
1. Adequate Sleep
Having a good night’s sleep helps a lot in boosting an immune system. Various research has shown that getting the sleep of at least 6 hours or more helps the body to perform better than when the body lacks sleep. So, to improve your immune system, just try as much as possible to sleep for a minimum of 6 hours each night because it helps your muscles and nerves to relax and be in perfect condition when you wake up in the morning.
2. Regular Exercise
Involving oneself in activities like walking, cycling, jogging, swimming and other forms of light exercise on a daily base are good ways of boosting the immune system. An exercise daily keeps you away from the doctor. Exercise helps to reduce inflammation and assist in the repair of damaged immune cells.
3. Avoiding Dehydration
When the body lacks fluid, it is said to be dehydrated which is not healthy. The body is made of about 70% water and being dehydrated causes dizziness, headache, it can lead to heart and kidney malfunctions and the immune cells become weak and impaired. Taking enough liquid (especially water) helps to avoid dehydration and also helps in boosting the immune system.
4. Avoid Stress
Stress is known to delay immune response in the human body. It increases the rate of inflammation and also wears down the immune system. It causes headaches and makes an individual tired and anxious which reduces the rate of performance of the immune system. It is therefore advisable for an individual to try as much as possible to reduce stress in the body. Activities like meditation, yoga, and relaxation are known to relieve stress.
5. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and too much alcohol in the body affect the lungs, kidney, and other organs that help to fight microbes in the body. The more smoke or alcohol a body consumes, the powerless it is in fighting sickness, avoiding it in the body helps in boosting the immune system.
By doing so, you will remain healthy, hopefully, free of any illness, and in the best possible shape to fight off unhealthy germs and viruses. Stay healthy, safe, and follow prudent health advice!