The stronger your immune system is, the better chance you have of fighting off germs and disease. You can eat your way to a stronger immune system by adding these 7 power foods to your diet that boost your immune system.
Tomatoes contain lycopene that can aid in the fight against free radical damage to white blood cells with its antioxidant properties. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in which people ate a diet high in tomatoes for 3 weeks, then ate no tomatoes for 3 weeks. During the period they ate lots of tomatoes, these people showed as having 38% less free radical damage to their white blood cells.
Whey contains cysteine, an amino acid that the body converts into the antioxidant glutathione. Antioxidants fight the damage to our bodies' cells caused by free radicals. You generally find whey in milk products for example the clear liquid you see at the top of your yogurt before you stir it up is whey. You can also get powdered whey protein isolate for a very high source of protein. Protein aids the body in white blood cell production and antibodies.
You know breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starting your day off with oatmeal is healthy in many ways one of which is the boost it gives your immune system. Macrophages produced in your bone marrow and an important part of the immune system, are activated by beta-glucans. Oats are a great source of beta-glucans. Eating steel cut oats is better than rolled or quick cooking oats.
Mushrooms have been shown through various studies to increase production and activity of white blood cells. White blood cells are a part of the immune system that help fight off infections. Shiitake and maitake mushrooms seem to be the best ones for immune system support.
Black and green tea are good sources of antioxidants and actually have more than fruits and vegetables do. Studies have also shown that when brewing your tea, if you bob the tea bag or tea ball up and down several times then you can increase the amount of antioxidants released by 5 times the amount. Green tea also has EGCG that may help in preventing heart muscle damage. Chamomile tea has also been shown to help with boosting the immune system. A study at London's Imperial College found that subjects who drank 5 cups a day for 2 weeks showed an increase in a compound that has antibacterial properties.
Beets get their color from betacyanin which is a phytonutrient known to help fight off disease. They also contain folate which helps in the prevention of colon cancer and osteoporosis and are a good source of fiber and beta-carotene. The body takes beta-carotene from foods and converts it into the antioxidant nutrient, Vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of the vitamins that helps keep skin healthy and your skin is your body's first line of defense in the immune system for keeping out bacteria and viruses.
Alliums are foods such as leeks, onions and garlic. Foods in this family are known to have natural antibiotic properties to help fight off germs. They have also been found useful in helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and there is research that suggests they can help reduce the growth risk of prostate, stomach and colon cancer cells.
Other Natural Solutions to Boost Your Immune System
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day is the preferred method of getting antioxidant defense from free radicals and other nutrients that support your immune system function, and improve skin health. But we know sometimes it's hard with a busy lifestyle, traveling and eating out to get all the fruits and vegetables your body needs. When you can't get your antioxidants from the food you eat, you can add supplements to your diet that provide antioxidant nutrition. One such supplement combines wheat sprouts, blue green algae and red beta algae to nourish the body with a variety of vital nutrients. Even people who do get their daily recommended servings from foods can benefit from this type of supplement.
Your intestinal tract is also part of your immune system and is full of "friendly bacteria" or probiotics that keep harmful bacteria and other invaders from getting into your body through the intestinal wall. So many things we encounter today, such as antibiotics, chlorinated water, high fat high protein diets, environmental toxins, and other medications, destroy these populations of friendly bacteria that we need help replenishing them.
Acidophilus is especially important for keeping the small intestine healthy since without proper cleansing, the small intestine can accumulate harmful byproducts that impair natural digestive function. Taking a high quality acidophilus supplement can help the body process food efficiently and eliminate waste. Bifidus helps creates a favorable environment for the growth of "good bacteria" in the large intestine which is responsible for absorption of water from food that is consumed and passage from the body of remaining waste products. Lactobacillus casei is another probiotic known to give a boost to the immune system.
Scientists found in the 1960s that the complex carbohydrate beta glucan has immune boosting properties. Beta glucan activates macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell produced in bone marrow, that travel throughout the body fighting off bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders. This supplement contains a patented form of beta glucan called WGP beta glucan that has been shown through research studies to activate macrophages resulting in a stronger immune system. Numerous studies conducted at such prestigious research institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Johns Hopkins University have documented the potential for boosting the immune system through WGP beta glucan's ability to activate macrophages.
Your immune system is so important in keeping you healthy and it needs your support to keep it working efficiently for you. Try adding some of these power foods and other natural solutions to your diet and see for yourself if your immune system is the better for it. Getting sick is no fun and a strong healthy immune system means a stronger healthier you.