The pandemic has forced many of us to think of better ways to stay healthy. Fortunately, our body has a natural defense mechanism that tirelessly strives to keep viruses at bay, helping us live healthier and longer. They are called the immune systems!
It’s important to support the immune system by incorporating a healthy eating habit and a decent weight.
This article explains how the immune system works and 15 foods that support our immune system.
What Is The Primary Function Of An Immune System?
Your immune system stays at the forefront of defense against all the harmful things that enter the body to cause illness, disease, and other potential discomforts.
In other thoughts, the immune system is your body’s defense, an army of soldiers that protect your body from harmful strangers.
Scientifically, the immune system makes up a network of defensive pathways that combat the dangerous microbes we encounter every day.
Immunity is grouped into two: adaptive and innate immunity. Let’s start with the innate:
Innate immunity is basically barriers- protectors like stomach acid, skin, sweat enzymes, and cells that combat external invaders.
Adaptive immunity studies learn from the invader and develop antibodies to destroy these invaders.
The immunity system remembers these antigens(invaders) and combats them whenever they try to enter the body.
What Influences Immune System Functionality?
Your immune system is a powerful cookie and outstandingly important to provide the strength for daily activities.
However, certain things can disrupt the immune system functionality. They include:
Your Genetics defines you, and that’s fine. However, in some situations, genetics can lead to hypersensitivity of the immune system, a condition where antibodies attack the body cells instead of the invaders. Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus are popular examples of this ugly condition.
Immunodeficiency disorders define the extreme weakness of the body’s immune system, making them susceptible to any illness.
While genetics can sometimes cause this disorder, many people acquire them through diseases like cancer and AIDS.
Excessive smoking, alcohol, or environmental factors like air pollution can disrupt the ability of the body to combat antigens naturally.
When you get older, your body’s internal systems have to put in more work to function optimally. That means your system cannot produce enough antibodies without help.
Being overweight has been linked to chronic inflammation. Although inflammation is a natural process within the immune system, chronic inflammation can destroy the immune system’s functionality.
The immune system needs to be properly fueled to perform well. The deficiency of certain nutrients will reduce its ability to perform optimally. Conversely, incorporating certain nutritious foods and strategies may boost overall immune function.
Sleeping difficulties and mental stress have also been linked to reduced immune function.
Eat Healthy Foods That Improve Immunity
So we’ve covered a few things that can influence immunity. Next is to discuss how we can improve immunity through healthy eating habits. The importance of diet for combating viruses cannot be overemphasised.
Not only do junk, ultra-processed food lack proper body nutrients, but it also reduces the strength of the immune system. That’s why it’s important to avoid nutrients that disrupt immune cell growth and embrace nutrients tied to immune system growth.
Check out 15 foods that boost the immune system.
Many people turn to vitamin C after catching a cold. And that’s because of their immune-boosting ability.
Vitamin C is associated with increased production of white blood cells to fight off infections.
Most citrus fruits are rich in vitamin-C. With different varieties to choose from, you can easily add this vitamin to your daily diet.
Examples of popular citrus are:
However, the body does not produce or store vitamin C, so you’ll need to take the vitamin every day for the best result.
The daily recommended citrus amount in food for a typical adult is 90mg for men and 75mg for women.
If you opt for a citrus supplement, avoid anything higher than 2000mg daily.
Red bell peppers
If you think the vitamin C content of a citrus food is comparably higher than other fruits or vegetables, you’re wrong. The vitamin C present in a red bell pepper is thrice as much as citrus fruit. They also contain beta carotene in rich quantities.
Apart from improving your immune system, vitamin C in red bell pepper also promotes skin health. In addition, your body converts beta carotene into vitamin A to promote eye health.
Broccoli contains minerals and vitamins in rich quantities. Supercharged with Vitamin A, E, C, fibres, and beneficial antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables on the menu. For best results, always cook your broccoli a little – if possible, not at all.
Almost every cuisine contains Garlic. It adds a sweet scent to foods and a compulsory improvement to your overall health.
Early civilization utilizes Garlic to fight off infection. Evidently, Garlic reduces blood pressure and prevents the arteries from hardening quickly.
The immune-boosting property of Garlic stems from the high concentration of allicin (sulphur containing compound)
Many people also turn to ginger, especially when they’re sick. Ginger reduces inflammation, which helps with sore throats. Ginger also helps with nausea.
What’s more, Ginger may relieve chronic pain and even lower the body cholesterol.
Not only is spinach rich in vitamin-C, but it also packs lots of beta carotene and antioxidants, which combine to fight off infection.
Like broccoli, the healthiest and most nutritious version of spinach is best extracted with light cooking.
Yogurts labelled with the phrase “live and active cultures” are the best type to look out for as they boost the immune system.
Choose plain yogurt over the types loaded with sugar and flavour. You can even sweeten the plain yogurt with fruits and honey. Yogurts are also a great vitamin D source, so choose brands with unique vitamin D. Vitamin D helps maintain and boosts the immune system.
Vitamin E tends to be less effective than vitamin C when it comes to combating cold. However, they contain powerful antioxidants that promote a healthy immune system.
Almonds are fat-soluble vitamins (they require fats for proper absorption). Almonds contain vitamins and healthy fats.
A daily 15mg of vitamin E is fine for adults. Half a cup of almonds serving provides the daily recommended amount.
Sunflower seeds pack plenty of nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B and E.
Vitamin E maintains and controls the immune system function. Dark leafy greens and avocados are also rich in vitamin E. Sunflower seeds pack a considerably high amount of selenium. According to several studies, all of which was performed on an animal found that sunflower seed can fight off infections like swine flu.
Tumeric is known as a key ingredient in curries. This scanty, bitter spice is historically used as far back as many decades as an anti-inflammatory for treating arthritis.
Several researchers found that the curcumin (present in high concentration) provides the unique color of turmeric to help reverse muscle damage caused by exercise.
According to several studies, all of which was performed on an animal found that curcumin can fight off infections.
As with black tea, green tea contains flavonoid – a popular antioxidant. Green tea excels because it contains a rich epigallocatechin gallate level. In other studies, EGCC has proven to be an effective immune booster. The fermentation process in black tea destroys the EGCG content. On the other hand, green tea undergoes the steaming process, which preserves the EGCG.
Green tea also contains an amino acid called the L-theanine, which facilitate the production of anti-germ compounds in the body cells.
Papaya is a popular fruit with plenty of Vitamin C. Papayas contains papain, a digestive enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties. Papayas contain a decent amount of magnesium, folate, and potassium, which provides optimal health benefits.
Similar to papayas, kiwis naturally packs plenty of essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate.
Vitamin C in kiwis improves the functions of the white blood cells while other essential nutrients maintain smooth functioning of the body.
Whenever you go for turkey soup, you’ll feel better overall, right? Turkey soup can reduce inflammation and potentially improve your symptoms of a cold.
3 ounces of chicken or turkey contains about a quarter of your daily recommended B-6 amount.
Vitamin B-6 plays an important role in virtually all chemical reactions in the body. It also contributes to the formation of red blood cells.
Shellfish is not common among people trying to improve their immunity. However, some shellfish are rich in zinc.
Zinc gets less attention compared to other minerals and vitamins, but the body needs it to improve immune system functionality. Here are a few types of selfish packed with high zinc quantity:
Summary – Other Ways To Boost Immunity
Eating only a few of these foods does not guarantee to help fight off infection. Consider the recommended daily and serving sizes, so you don’t pay attention to some vitamins while leaving out the rest.