Improving the immune system by incorporating right food in your daily diet
Do we not often take our immunity for granted? What exactly is this immune system, its a complex medley of organs which helps to fortify the body against disease causing microorganisms. Then there are moments when this defense fails and we simply fall sick.
There is a lot we can do to help keep up this defense and most of it can be done by eating the right foods on a regular basis. Right food can keep the immune system strong and us healthy.
Understanding the immune system
Our immune system is not only an organ, but it an entire system and to function optimally it needs balance and harmony. Eating right goes ways beyond just good eating habits. Like any other fighting force, healthy immune system needs good and regular nourishment. There are some evidence that deficiencies of various micronutrients like of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses.
When functioning well, our immunity helps protect us from various infections and diseases.
Illness hampers growth and stalls regular functionality of the body. It effects our lifestyle and keeps us on the edge of falling prey to further diseases. However, with proper nutrition we can help improve our body’s functioning and avoid such problems.
Here are some foods that will help build the immune system, keep it strong and function properly to give us the much-needed defense from microorganisms.
Green Leafy Vegetables: loaded with fiber and nutrients and are some of the healthiest foods that we have access to. Spinach, broccoli, and cabbages are loaded with essential vitamins and antioxidants which help boost our immune system functioning.
Nuts: almonds, peanuts, and walnuts are great sources of fats. They are versatile and can be easily mixed with different foods and they also contain vitamin E and zinc along with a good amount of antioxidants. Always soak and dehydrate them first to optimize their digestibility.
Eggs: are amongst the most nutrient rich foods, it contains protein and vital vitamins along with antioxidants. They also have essential fats making them fall in the superfood category.
Barley & Oats- these wholesome foods contain beta glycan, which has antioxidant capabilities to fight deadly diseases and help improve immune system. It also helps speed healing wounds and works as antibiotics. You can have as much as whole grains in your daily meals.
Yoghurt- has probiotic, that is healthy bacteria. It keeps the intestinal tract disease free. Make sure to always add yoghurt in your daily meal. Sugar free yoghurt is healthier and you can flavor it with cinnamon and fresh fruit according to your choice.
Chicken Soup– When chicken is cooked it releases amino acid which are extremely nutritious. You can add ginger, garlic or herbs to increase the soup’s immune enhancing power.
Garlic– this food supplement contains active ingredient, allicin. Allicin fights bacteria and infections. If you’re upto it challenge yourself to chew around six garlic cloves a week, it will greatly reduce chances of colorectal and stomach cancer. If chewing fresh garlic is not doable, add crushed garlic while cooking in food.
Shellfish– crab, lobsters, oysters produce cytokines. These healthy proteins help to eliminate flu viruses from the body. Experiment with different various healthy recipes with shell fishes.
Sweet Potatoes: it contains beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A once digested. Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin and a healthy skin is one of our first defense against viruses and bacteria.
Honey: makes a great alternative to sugar and can be added to our diet quite easily. The natural sweetener is packed with antioxidants and helps relieve allergies.
Citrus Fruits and Vegetables: like oranges and limes have high vitamin C content and are also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are beneficial for the immune system as they are capable of fighting free radical damages and prevents cell breakups.
Peas: another super green food which is rich in antioxidants. Carotenoids, polyphenols, phenolic acids, and flavonoids are some of the powerful antioxidants that are present in peas. You can eat peas separately and also load them in various preparations.
Berries: blueberries are enriched with flavonoids and phytochemicals, which are again very powerful antioxidants. Berries can be used to make a range of healthy smoothies, desserts or simply added to cereals.
Mushrooms: are a potent weapon in warding off colds, flu, and other infections. Studies have found that mushrooms like shitake, maitake, and reishi have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties and are great for the immune system.
Fish: omega 3 fatty acids and other healthy fats found in fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel and herrings help increase the activity of white blood cells. They also play an important role for the production of compounds that regulates immunity in the body and helps protect the body from damages from infections. Omega 3 fatty acids are also known as immune modulators.
Poultry and Lean Meat: are foods high in protein, and are high in zinc — a mineral that increases the production of white blood cells and T-cells, known to fight infection.Other sources of zinc: oysters, nuts, fortified cereal and beans.
Chocolate: Here’s good news- cocoa in chocolates is a immune boosting food. The darker version should be preferred over milk as the latter is high on sugar and low in cocoa. Regular consumption of cocoa, reduces heart disease risks, help raise good cholesterol, and possibly reverse blood vessel damage in people suffering from diabetes.
These are the most potent food sources when it comes to building the body’s white blood cell count. White blood cells are our body’s first line of defense against infections, viruses, and disease and hence it makes sense that these foods are included in our regular diet to help strengthen our overall immune system.
Combined with regular exercise and other healthful habits you can reduce the risks of virus invasions, infection and disease-causing microorganisms to a large extent.
Checkout; Nutrition for healthy minds
Written bySheela Seharawat
Sheela Seharawat is a fully qualified dietician. She has been successfully running and managing about 35 Diet Clinic’s at various dots on the map of India and has been appreciated with various awards and recognitions for her notable contributions in the field of diet and nutrition. Her aspiration has always been to educate, communicate and helps people live a healthy life through diet and with this aspiration she is aiming to reach out to people with her services across the globe.