Science has long proven that there is a strong link between what we ingest and our immune system. Those who eat badly often have a weakened immune system. They are more prone to infections, viruses, illnesses and even the common cold. Those who eat well do not get sick as often and are more easily able to withstand viral or bacterial germs they come into contact with.
Basically, the immune system is designed to withstand micro-organisms that will make us ill. Although no amount of healthy eating will guarantee we will never get sick, the science is pretty clear that there is a cause-and-effect link. And scientific studies are ongoing. The more we learn, the more we realize that the immune system is quite complex with many factors affecting it, including food, exercise, environment, genetics, psychological health and age.
Immune Boosting Foods
Brazil nuts, tuna fish, shrimp, organ meats and whole grains: These foods all contain selenium. Studies have proven that those with lower levels of selenium are more prone to develop illnesses, including a type of osteoarthritis. Studies are ongoing related to the role low selenium levels play in cancer development and cardio-vascular disease.
Deep leafy greens, brewer’s yeast, beef, salmon, oats, bananas and milk: these foods all contain higher levels of the B vitamin group, which include riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12. This group of vitamins helps keep your body running at an optimal level. They are responsible for creating red-blood cells and nerves.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, squashes, romaine lettuce, and cod liver oil: These are all foods high in vitamin A. Proper levels of vitamin A have been positively linked to the body’s ability to fight infections and are required for proper heart, lung and kidney functioning.
Beef, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and oysters: Zinc, which is high in all the preceding foods, are found in all human cells. Zinc is proven to help the body fight both viral and bacterial infections. The body uses zinc to create protein, DNA, and to heal wounds.
Immune Boosting Herbs
Garlic: Garlic is considered a super-food when it comes to immune enhancement. In both World War I and World War II, garlic was routinely used to treat gangrene due to its ability to fight infections and kill bacteria. Scientific studies have shown that raw garlic kills parasites, lowers blood pressure and keeps cholesterol in check. The unique sulfur compounds in garlic are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Turmeric: Turmeric is quickly becoming the next super-food for immune health. It has super high levels of antioxidants and is also antiseptic, which means that when ingested, it kills yeast and parasites that cause us to be sick. There are also a few studies that show turmeric may have antimutagenic properties, which means that it could stop healthy cells from mutating into cancerous cells. These studies are ongoing.
If you are prone to viral or bacterial infections, take a good look at your diet and see if there are any changes you can make to naturally enhance your immune system response.