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Immune Boosters: Foods you can Add to your Diet

Immune Boosters: Foods you can Add to your Diet

by Zahra Ijaz · March 16, 2022

Do you know that you can add Immune Boosters to your diet to support a healthy immune system?
Immune boosters are foods that you can add easily to your diet and help prevent conditions like colds, flu, and other infection.
Moreover, you can also plan your meals around the immune boosters to avoid health conditions.
Keep on reading.

1.

Immune Boosters

Remarkably, your immune system defends your body against disease-causing microorganisms.
However, in some cases, it might fail to do so. A germ can invade your body and make you sick. If you are wondering about using supplements as immune boosters, then dear reader.
You can add immune boosters to your diet to help you prevent diseases.
How?
Keep on reading.

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Boosting Immune System

You might find boosting your immune system enticing, however, your immune system is not just a single entity, it’s a whole system.

In order to function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still ongoing research that provides the evidence and link between lifestyle changes and enhanced immune system.

But that does not mean that changes in lifestyle have effects on the immune system.

Moreover, researchers are also exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response.

In the meantime, general healthy-living strategies can likely help your immune system and have proven health benefits.

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Increasing Immunity the Healthy Way

While visiting a superstore, you might see products that claim to be immune boosters.

However, the concept of boosting immunity makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body, i.e. immune cells or others is not a good thing.

For instance, athletes who engage in “blood doping” pumping blood into their system to boost their number of cells and enhance their performance, run the risk of strokes.

Moreover, boosting cells of your immune system is complicated because there are different kinds of cells in your immune system that respond to different microbes in different ways.

If you are wondering about which cells you can boost then scientists are still trying to figure it out.

However, what they know is that your body is continually generating immune cells.

It is also producing more lymphocytes than it possibly can use.

These extra cells remove themselves through the natural process of cell death: apoptosis, some before they see any action, while some after they perform a certain task.

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Immune System and Age

As you age, your immune response capability reduces, which in turn contributes to more infections and possibly causes cancer.

Moreover, as life expectancy in developed countries has increased, so has the incidence of age-related conditions.

While some people tend to age healthily, many studies conclude that in comparison to younger people, elderly people come more in contact with infectious diseases.

More importantly, they are likely to die from them.

Respiratory infections like influenza, COVID-19 virus, and pneumonia are the leading causes of people over 65 years of age around the world.

Scientists do not know why this happens, however, some of them observe that this increase in risk correlates with a decrease in T cells, possibly from the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight infections.

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Whether this decrease in thymus function explains the drop in T cells or other changes play its role is not fully understood.

While others observe whether bone marrow becomes less efficient at producing stem cells that give rise to the cells of your immune system.

A reduction in response to infection is often visible in older people’s response to vaccines.

For instance, studies of the influenza vaccine indicate that for people over the age of 65, the vaccine is more effective than in children over age 2.

Moreover, there appears to be a connection between nutrition and immunity.

A form of malnutrition common in affluent countries “micronutrient malnutrition” that happens in the elderly have weak immune systems.

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Diet and Immune System

Immune system cells need good and regular nourishment.

Scientists recognize that people who live in poverty and have malnourishment are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

For instance, researchers do not know whether any particular dietary factors like processed foods or high simple sugar intake will adversely affect the immune system.

However, they are relatively few studies of the effect of nutrition on the immune system.

There is evidence, however, the different micronutrient deficiencies can alter the immune response in animals.

These include deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E.

Thus, if you think that your diet is not providing your will with all the healthy micronutrients, then you can take daily multivitamins and mineral supplements to have health benefits.

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2.

Foods that Boost Immunity

Your first line of defense against diseases is a healthy immune system. Following good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take for immunity boosting/
Moreover, every part of your body including your immune system will function better when you protect it from external environmental factors.
Let’s discuss the immune boosters you can add to your diet for a well-functioning immune system.

immune boosters 4

Citrus Fruits

You might observe that people often turn to vitamin C when they get a cold. This is because it helps to build your immune system.

Vitamin C helps to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting off infections.

Moreover, almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C.

With such a variety to choose from it is easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to your meals.

citrus fruits

Popular citrus fruits are:

  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • clementines
  • tangerines
  • lemon
  • lime

As your body does not produce or store it, you need vitamin C for continued health.

The recommended daily amount for vitamin C for most adults is 75 mg for women, and 90 mg for men.

In case you opt for supplements, avoid taking more than 2,000 milligrams, mg per day.

Keep in mind that vitamin C might help you to recover from cold quicker, however, there is no evidence that proves it to be effective against the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

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Red Bell Peppers and Broccoli

If you think that citrus fruits have the most vitamin C, then think again.

Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contains almost 3 times more vitamin C, i.e. 127 mg as a Florida orange, that contains 45mg

They are also a rich source of beta carotene

Besides being an immune booster, vitamin C helps you to maintain healthy skin.

Moreover, beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A helps to keep your eyes and skin healthy.

broccoli

On the other hand, broccoli is high in vitamins and minerals.

It contains vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber, and other antioxidants.

Moreover, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your place.

In order to keep its power intact, it is important to cook it as little as possible, or better yet, not at all.

Research indicates that steaming them is the best way to keep them more nutritious.

Garlic and Ginger

You can find garlic in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to your food and is also a must-have for your health.

Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Moreover, garlic may also slow the hardening of the arteries.

However, there is weak evidence that it helps to lower blood pressure.

Immune-boosting properties of garlic come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds like allicin.

garlic and ginger

On the other hand, ginger is one of the ingredients you turn to after getting sick.

It can help decrease inflammation which in turn helps to reduce sore throat and inflammatory diseases.

Moreover, ginger can also help with nausea.

While you may use it in many sweet dishes, ginger packs some heat in the form of ginger, a relative of capsaicin.

Furthermore, ginger can also help decrease chronic pain and even possess cholesterol-lowering properties.

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Spinach and Yogurt

Spinach is not just rich in vitamin C, but also rich with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, that can help increase the infection-fighting ability of your immune system.

Just like broccoli, spinach is healthiest when you cook it as little as possible as it helps to retain its nutrients, making it an immune booster.

However, light cooking meals makes it easy to absorb vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, an antinutrient.

spinach

You might have seen the label on yogurts saying “live and active cultures” most on Greek yogurts.

These cultures can help to stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.

Moreover, try to get plain yogurts rather than those with flavors and added sugar.

You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.

Furthermore, yogurt is a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands with fortified vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps to regulate your immune system and helps to boost the natural defense of your body against diseases.

Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

In order to prevent and fight off infections, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C.

However, this powerful antioxidant is the key to a healthy immune system and is an immune booster.

Moreover, it is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it needs the presence of fat to absorb properly.

Nuts like almonds contain vitamins and also have healthy fats.

Adults only need about 15mg of vitamin E each day. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides around 100% of the recommended daily amount.

immunity boosters 1

While sunflower seeds are full of nutrients including phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, and E.

Moreover, vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function.

Other foods with high amounts of vitamin E like avocadoes and dark leafy green.

Sunflower seeds are incredibly high in selenium. 1 ounce of it contains nearly half of the selenium that an average adult needs.

A number of studies indicate that these seeds have the potential to combat viral infections like swine flu, H1N1.

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Turmeric and Green Tea

You may be familiar with turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries, which are immune boosters.

This bright yellow, bitter spice has been used for years as an inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Research indicates that high concentrations of curcumin give turmeric its distinctive color and can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage.

Moreover, curcumin is an immunity booster and an antiviral, however, it needs more studies.

green tea

On the other hand, both black and green tea contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.

Where green tea excels is its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG, another powerful antioxidant.

According to studies, EGCG helps to enhance immune functions. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of EGCG, while in green tea, it is steamed and not fermented, so EGCG is preserved.

Furthermore, green tea is a good source of amino acid L-theanine.

L-theanine can help aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.

Papaya and Kiwi

Papaya is another fruit that contains vitamin C. You can find double the daily amount of vitamin C in a single medium fruit.

Moreover, papaya has digestive enzymes: papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.

It also has decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, and folate, all of which are beneficial for your overall health.

pspaya and kiwi

Just like papaya, kiwi is naturally full of important nutrients like folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

Vitamin C helps to boost the white blood cells to fight infections, like other nutrients, kiwi also helps to keep the rest of your body functioning properly.

You can add these immune boosters to your diet to get the essential vitamins and minerals.

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Poultry and Shellfish

Often while you are sick, you reach for chicken soup. It is more than just a placebo effect that makes you feel better.

The soup can help lower inflammation thus improving symptoms of a cold.

Poultry like chicken and turkey is high in vitamin B6 and about 6 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains nearly one-third of your daily recommended amount of B6.

It is important to note that vitamin B6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that take place in your body.

Moreover, it is also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells.

Stock or broth that you can make by boiling chicken contains gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.

poultry and shellfish

Shellfish is not what jumps to your mind as immunity boosters, however, some types contain zinc.

Zinc often does not get much attention as other vitamins and minerals, however, your body needs it so that the immune cells can function properly.

Some varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:

  • oysters
  • crab
  • lobsters
  • mussels

Keep in mind that you do not want to have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet.

This includes 11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for adult women. Too much zinc can inhibit immune system function.

Thus, you can add shellfish and poultry as immune boosters to your diet.

Other Ways to Prevent Infections

Variety is a key to proper nutrition. Eating just one of the above foods will not be enough to fight off flu or other infections, even if you eat it constantly. Moreover, pay attention to serving sizes and recommended daily intake so that you do not get much of a single vitamin and too little of others.

Eating right is a great start and there are other things you can do to protect yourself from flu, cold, and other illnesses.

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