A strong immune system is your best defense against disease. Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment.There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses.
When the body is invaded by viruses, parasites or bacteria an immune alarm goes off, setting off a chain reaction of cellular activity in the immune system. Macrophages or other innate immune cells may be deployed to help attack the invading pathogen. But sometimes, when the body needs a more sophisticated attack, it turns to its T-cells and B-cells. These cells are the special ops of the immune system—a line of defense that uses past behaviors and interactions to learn to recognize specific foreign threats and attack them when they reappear. A strong immune system is your best defense against disease. So boost your immune system with these super foods.
1. Citrus Fruits
Most people turn to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system. You already know that citrus (such as: oranges, lemons, tangerines, limes, and grapefruit) is an excellent source of immune-boosting vitamin C—which is why so many people reach for these fruits during cold and flu season. The juicy, colorful fruits are packed with good-for-you nutrients, not to mention flavor, making them a great addition to a healthy diet. Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C.
Garlic has the ability to boost your immune system by increasing the rate at which your natural killer cells are made. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. Allicin contains sulfur, which gives garlic its distinctive smell and taste. Evidence suggests that, raw is most effective in boosting the immune system. However, the therapeutic aspects of the vegetable are lost through cooking.
You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many currys. But this bright yellow spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.
4. Green Tea
Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc. It doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended. Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:crab,clams,lobster and mussels.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. For adult men, it’s 11 milligrams (mg), and for women, it’s 8 mg. Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.
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Free radicals are natural byproducts of energy production that can wreak havoc on the body. Since super foods are rich in antioxidants they help fight free radicals in our bodies. Sleep is important for health in general, and as a bonus it may also benefit our immune function. When it comes to overall health, proper sleep helps.
As the new coronavirus continues to spread across the world, having an optimally functioning immune system is more important than ever.