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Foods that Support the Immune System

immune support foods

The human body immune system works at defending us against illnesses mainly by recognizing and eliminating the pathogens like bacteria, viruses and parasitic worms and tumour cells. It also keeps your body cells and tissues healthy to work appropriately.

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While washing your hands and sleeping 6-8 hours at night does help keep your immune system strong and reduce the chances of your getting sick, the consumption of some immune boosting foods also help your body develop a better resistanceother adverse health events.

With an all-round healthy diet consisting of foods listed here, your immune system is effectively boosted to keep you healthy:

Fruits that Help Support the Immune System

apricots

Apricots: Vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene are three major antioxidants found in colourful fruits and vegetables which have a blue, red, purple, orange or yellow hue like apricots. Apricots also have vitamins B2; B3 and B5 which help produce antibodies, gain energy and also help maintain the nervous system. Besides beta-carotene, apricots boast of other carotenoids which are important for exerting positive effects on your immune system. 

blueberrys

Blueberries: The anthocyanins in blueberries that give it its colour have potent immune-stimulating properties. They protect capillaries from oxidative damage to promote brisk blood flow through circulatory channels so that immune cells can reach the body parts requiring their help. 

This protection of capillaries from oxidative damage also ensures the good circulation of lymph in the body, which helps carry immune cells. Blueberries are also rich in concentrated tannins which prevent E.coli bacteria from sticking to the cells lining the urinary tract. 

cantaloupe

Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is rich in carotenoids which exert various positive effects on your body immune system. Not only do carotenoids encourage the multiplication of lymphocytes, they also help promote the activity of lymphocytes. 

They also enhance the production of cytokines in the body. Cytokines are those proteins of the body that regulate inflammation and immunity while stimulating the activity of macrophages and neutrophils which kill bacteria. Cantaloupe also contains the three major antioxidant vitamins; vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene. 

chili peppers
Chile Peppers: Chile peppers contain capsaicin, which offers multiple benefits to the body like stimulating the body metabolism, working as a natural blood thinner and in helping in the release of endorphins. 

Moreover, as chiles are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, they help ward off all types of infections. They provide a great way to add flavour to food without any added fat or calories. To top it all, the capsaicin in chilli peppers also act as a natural anti-inflammatory to the body.

cinnamon

Cinnamon:  Cinnamon is a spice mainly used in Indian cooking. This spice is rich in antioxidants that are required, and helpful at inhibiting bacterial growth and the clotting of blood. Studies have also proven that cinnamon is also helpful at inhibiting bad breath, is helpful at effectively stabilizing blood sugar levels and is also helpful at reducing bad cholesterol levels. Further, certain cinnamons extracts can reduce fasting blood sugar levels. Cinnamaldehyde from Cinnamon Bark Oil in its various forms is effective against adverse stomach conditions.

figs

Figs: Figs are not only fruits which are full of antioxidants, manganese and potassium but they are also necessary for supporting proper pH levels in the body thus making it difficult for pathogens to invade the body. Moreover, its fibre helps lower insulin and blood sugar levels to consequently reduce the risks of blood sugar levels and metabolic syndrome. Figs with dark skins are always a better choice as they contain more nutrients. They have also been shown to lower levels of triglycerides,

garlic

Garlic:  Garlic contains sulphuric components like allicin and proffers which provides the body with unewualed protection aganist many adverse conditions. A crushed clove produces alliin which rapidly converts to allicin, which exhibits antifungal, antiviral and antibiotic properties. It is these properties of garlic that help it fight infections and bacteria. It contains high amounts of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C and selenium. Garlic also helps regluates blood pressure and general heart health. Studies have also shown it has shown to provide an increase in athletic performance.

ginger

Ginger: Ginger is another immune system booster that should be added to your daily diet. This is a condiment that has multi-uses as it can be used in food, baking and drinks. In fact, if fused in a warm bath, its properties help increase the production of sweat and in the process helps the body dispel toxins and germs. Ginger helps reduces pain and inflammation. It has a warming effect and stimulates circulation, inhibits rhinovirus and , helps reduce gas and painful spasms in the intestinal tract. It also inhibits bacteria and protozoa.

green tea

Green Tea: Drinking a cup of white, black or green tea will do wonders to your immune system because of its polyphenols quantities. These polyphenols are a defence against damaging components and free radicals. 

Moreover, tea has more antioxidants than vegetables and fruits. Some components of tea like epigallocatechin gallate or EGECG are both offensive and defensive compounds as they help attack invading microbes like flu and cold viruses while boosting your body immune system.

kiwi fruit

Kiwi: Kiwi is rich in bone-protecting potassium, vitamin C and lutein, a carotenoid that reduces the risk of heart disease. Kiwis are packed with carotenoids and flavonoids, which are antioxidants requires for promoting respiratory, heart and overall health. It has more vitamin C than an equivalent amount of orange. Raw, it also contains actinidain, which is a protein dissolving enzyme which aids in digestion. It also contains a high amount of fiber. Due to its unique combination of antioxidants it helps protect the cell DNA from oxidative damage.

tomatoes

Tomatoes: Being high in lycopene, tomatoes effectively help protect against degenerative diseases. Moreover, the high beta-carotene levels work as an internal sun block for the body. Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked to reap its immunity boosting benefits

It is a great source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. They are low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. Tomatoes are also packed with the B vitamins as well as magnesium, phosphorus and copper. They also contain a good amount of fiber and water making it good to food to give you that full feeling after a meal.

mango

Mangoes: Sweet and juicy fruits like mangoes help enhance body immunity as they quickly transform into Ojas. In fact, if the fruits are tree-ripened, they convert practically instantly. Moreover, the deadly combination of vitamin A, vitamin C and 25 types of carotenoids in mangoes help keep your body immune system healthy. The excess beta-carotene in mangoes is transformed into vitamin A in the body to give you added protection against free radicals which may harm your internal system.

nectarine

Nectarine: Fresh nectarines have small amounts of vitamin C which has antioxidant effects required for the formation of connective tissue in the human body. Regular consumption of nectarine also helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and help scavenge harmful free radicals. Nectarines also carry healthy concentrations of other anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E and flavonoid poly phenolic anti-oxidants. 

papaya

Papaya: Papaya: Papayas are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties and for being an excellent source of vitamin C. They are also great sources of beta-carotene, a phytonutrient that converts into vitamin A in your body to keep your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist. In fact, eating papaya after lunch helps enhance your digestion and increase body immunity. The other flavonoids that this great tasting fruit contains, zeaxanthin, cyptoxanthin and lutein which keep the mucus membranes in the eyes healthy, preventing them from damage and also the development of age-related macular degeneration.

peaches

Peaches: Peaches: Peaches are sweet and juicy, and help enhance the body immunity as they quickly transform into Ojas. They are rich in vitamin B1, B2 and A which all help maintain the balance of the nervous system, strengthen the immune system, helps with the synthesis of haemoglobin and proves helpful at maintaining the body’s magnesium levels. It is also packed with beta-carotene which helps fortify membranes so that they are resistant to infections. They are also great for skin care, it makes a great natural moisturizer and helps regenerate skin tissue. They are also a great stress-reliever and helps reduce anxiety.

pink grapefruit

Pink Grapefruit: Citrus fruits like pink grapefruit are rich in vitamin C, which is important for the body as it helps in the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies. Pink grapefruit also increases the levels of interferon in the body, an antibody that coats cell surfaces to prevent the entry of viruses. Pink grapefruit is also rich with flavonoids which are natural chemical compounds that increase the immune system activation. Grape Fruits contain a large amount of enzymes, have a high water content, and are low in sodium which helps burn fat easily. They help keep you hydrated.

pomegranates

Pomegranates: Pomegranates have been recently discovered to be helpful at boosting immunity levels through the elligatannins it contains. These elligatannins are found mostly in the juice, like punicalagins and punicalins, which account fot at least half of the its antioxidant levels. It's also contains a high amount of vitamin C, close to 40% percent of the daily requirement. They contain a good amount of 3 types of polyphenols, including tannins, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid, which are antioxidants.

pumpkin

Pumpkin: Pumpkins offer wonderful sources of beta carotene where its seeds are packed with vitamins, amino acids and minerals including zinc. Zinc is the mineral that acts as an antioxidant that minimizes cell membrane damage from free radicals. Pumpkins are also rich in vitamin A, another element that helps boost your immune system and is important for healthy skin. Pumpkins also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that have been shown to provide eye health benifits. It has also been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance.

strawberries

Strawberries: Strawberries: Berries like strawberries contain cancer-fighting photochemical. They are also full of fibre in its tiny seeds, and ellagic acid which helps inhibit the development of tumors. Strawberries are also rich sources of vitamin C, which is necessary for supporting the immune system and for helping the body fight an infection. Their red color is from anthocyanins, which helps stimulate the burning of stored fat. These anthocyanins have also been shown to boost short term memory. Strawberries are also high in fiber and Flavonoids which are good for maintaining heart health. Strawberries also contain C-reactive protein (CRP), which help maitain blood levels, as well as potassium, vitamin K and magnesium which are important for bone health.

snow peas

Snow Peas: Snow peas are delicate and sweet in flavour, and an excellent source of B vitamins, required for boosting and maintaining energy levels. B vitamins are also necessary for building nerve and muscle tissue in the body. Snow peas are also rich with immune-boosting vitamin C and lutein and zeaxanthin, which all help promote vision health. To top it all, snow peas are rich sources of vitamin K for bone health and vitamin A for heart health. 

watermelon

Watermelon: Ripe watermelon has lots of the powerful antioxidant, glutathione. This is an antioxidant famous for strengthening the immune system so that it fights infections. The glutathione is specifically found in the red pulpy flesh found near the rind. They are mostly water, over 92%, but they are packed with significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids and are virtually fat-free because they very low in sodium. Watermelon also has a high amount of lycopene. The redder the watermelon, the higher the concentration of lycopene. Beta-carotene and phenolic antioxidant content also increase as the watermelon ripens. Another phytonutrient they contained is citrulline, an amino acid which helps promotes blood flow, leading to cardiovascular health, improved circulation.

Vegetables That Help Support the Immune System

broccoli

Broccoli: Broccoli: Broccoli is an immune-boosting vegetable that can be easily incorporated into your diet. It offers a hearty dose of calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. It also boasts of high concentration of vitamins A, C and K, the antioxidant glutathione and the phytonutrient sulforaphane which has powerful anticancer properties. 

Broccoli is sulfur-rich broccoli compound, sulforaphane, which blocks a destructive enzyme that has been shown to damage cartilage. Sulforaphane has also been shown to attack the foundation of tumor growth, and glucoraphanin, which is a precursor to sulforaphane, which helps boosts cell enzymes that protect against molecular damage.

brussels sprouts

Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, fibre and folic acids. Regular consumption of this vegetable helps in the detoxicating processes of the body. Vitamin C in Brussels sprouts not only fights many diseases, it is also good for feeding cartilages, renewing skin and connective tissues and for maintaining your body immune system. Brussels sprouts also help prevent digestional issues and serious illnesses like colon cancer or diverticulosis. 

Brussels sprouts contain a large amount of vitamin K1, over 200% of daily RNA and over 100% of Vitamin C RNA requirements. They also contain manganese, potassium, choline, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, caffeic, and ferulic acids, and a extremely hard to find sulfur containing compound called D3T (3H-1,2-dithiole-3-thione). They even contain protein.

cauliflower

Cauliflower: Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower are the gold standard in immune-boosting vegetables as they offer more nutrients and protective powers than other vegetables. They help support the liver and immune system by boosting the liver’s ability at flushing out toxins. They also contain antioxidants, flavonoids and other immune-enhancing nutrients. Cauliflower also contains antiviral and antibacterial agents that keep you disease free. 

Cauliflower also contains indole-3-carbinol or I3C, an anti-inflammatory compound that may help prevent inflammatory responses. It also contains 70% of the daily RNA amount of vitamin C. It is also provides a source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. Cauliflower is also a good source of choline, which helps promote healthy brain function.

mushrooms

Mushrooms: Mushrooms, especially the maitake and shitake varieties offer a rich source of zinc. Studies have proven that when taken in reasonable quantities, mushrooms can also make white blood cells strong and also more aggressive against foreign bacteria invasion. Mushrooms are packed with long chain polysaccharides, which have been shown to benifit immune system function.

spinach

Spinach: Spinach is known as a super food as it is nutrient rich. It is not only a muscle builder; it is also rich in vitamin K, which helps bolster bone-mineral density. It is also rich in calcium, selenium, potassium; phosphorus and zinc which help protect the liver and ward off Alzheimer’s. Spinach is also rich in the disease fighting zinc and beta carotene, which is transformed into vitamin A by the body to help boost your body immunity. Spinach also contains Vitamin A and C in spinach juice helps to prevent cholesterol oxidation in the blood. It also contains magnesium which is helpful for blood pressure health.

sweet potato

Sweet Potato: This tuber is one of the healthiest foods on the planet as it not only counters the effects of second hand smoke, but also prevents diabetes. Sweet potatoes also contain glutathione which is an antioxidant that enhances nutrient metabolism and immune-system health. Sweet potato is also a great source of beta carotene which the body quickly converts into vitamin A, which is necessary for boosting your immune system. Sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin A, which may contribute to skin health. The other colored sweet potatoes, such as purple, which contain anthocyanins another benefical compound..

turnip greens

Turnip Greens: Turnip greens help support your liver and immune function by boosting your liver’s ability at flushing out toxins. It is a cruciferous vegetable, famous for its immune-boosting features. Turnip greens also contain antibacterial and antiviral agents that keep you disease free. They are packed full of vitamin A, a compound required for sebum production that helps promote healthy hair and body tissues. Turnip greens also contain about 50% of RNA for Vitamin C, which is good for collagen. They also contain a iron, which is needed for your body to produce energy. Vitamin K is also found in this plant, which has been shown to improve bone health by improving calcium absorption, reducing urinary excretion of calcium and acting as a modifier of bone matrix proteins.

nuts

Nuts: Nuts are super immune boosters and a great source of good Omega-3 fatty acid, which help reduce cholesterol and inflammation. Nuts like almonds contain vitamin E, which boosts the body’s immune system. Almonds are also rich in niacin and riboflavin; B vitamins that help you bounce back from stress effects. Cashew is a nut offering a good source of zinc, required by the body to develop and activate T-lymphocytes, which helps the body immune system respond to infections. 

Conclusion

So the regular consumption of all or some of these foods can greatly help at boosting your body immune system. This is important as if your immune system is not properly taken care of, it leads to diseases. It is when the body immune system is inactive that immunodeficiency sets in, which makes the body vulnerable to life-threatening diseases. 

All this shows how important it is for you to take care of your body by consuming natural foods that help give you a healthy and strong immune system. A good immune system helps in your body’s battle against parasites, toxins, viruses and harmful bacteria. 

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