Foods to Boost Immunity

kind2creatures

...elusive dreamer
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Location
USA
(...article from healthyhepper)

Boosting the Immune System Through Foods We Eat and Don't Eat:
Foods that Increase your Immunity so that your Body can Fight Disease

Try These Foods To Boost Your immunity!

1. Vegetables are huge for enhancing the immune system. Asparagus is very high
in Vitamin C which increases the production of infection-fighting white blood
cells and antibodies and increases levels of interferon, the antibody that coats
cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Carrots and sweet potatoes
contain high amounts of beta carotene which increases the number of
infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells, as well as
enhance the ability of the natural killer cells to attack cancer cells.
Vegetables are the best source of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals
that are known to protect the body against many diseases, including cancer. They
are best prepared lightly steamed or sauted in olive oil or juiced. You can
spice with turmeric (a good anti-inflammatory.)

2. Fresh fruits are also great for the immune system. Berries are particularly
noted for their cancer preventative abilities and high antioxidant content.
Blueberries, nature's only 'blue' food, are a rich source of polyphenols, potent
antioxidants that include phenolics acids, tannins, flavonols and anthocyanins.
Pomegranate fruit seeds appear to enhance immune function as well as help keep
blood lipid levels healthy. The phytochemicals that color fruits serve as
antioxidants that promote immune function, says Charles Stephensen, Ph.D., a
research scientist with the USDA's Western Human Nutrition Research Center at
the University of California, Davis. "These nutrients help ensure that
lymphocytes can divide and reproduce properly in response to a virus and that
the neutrophils and macrophages that engulf and kill invading bacteria can do
their job," Stephensen says. Try to eat two different color fruits or vegetables
at each meal to maximize the variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you
are getting.

3. High quality protein is important for maintaining rapid production of cells
to support the immune system and boosting energy. As much as possible, look for
organic lean meat and poultry. Lean beef, poultry and pork are good sources of
Zinc. Zinc helps white blood cells and other antibodies reproduce more quickly,
and it makes them more aggressive so they're better at fighting off infections.
Zinc also prevents bacterial and viral growth directly, either by poisoning the
infectious agents or encouraging immune reaction at the site of infection. Zinc
deficiency is one of the most common nutritional shortfalls among American
adults, especially for vegetarians. Fish are another good source of protein,
especially those high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for building
the body's immune response. Vegetarian sources of protein include lentils,
beans, nuts, whey, and soy products such as tofu and tempeh, and they have the
added benefit of fiber, which meat does not provide. Small quantities of fresh
almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds are also good sources for zinc and healthy
fats. If you don't consume enough protein, you'll manufacture fewer white blood
cells to combat antigens.

4. Mushrooms such as shitake, oyster, and other Asian varieties, are noted for
their immune-enhancing abilities. Rich in compounds called beta glucans,
mushrooms boost the production of NK-cells and T-cells in your body to help
prevent infections. Studies also show that mushrooms increase the production and
activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive which is good for
fighting infection.

5. Limit your total fat intake to 30 percent of daily calories, with five to 10
percent from saturated fats. Reducing fat can boost immune function by enhancing
T-lymphocyte function. The type of fat you consume is equally important as the
amount. Consume sources of unsaturated fats, such as canola oil, olive oil,
nuts, avocados, and seeds. And increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids (from
fatty fish like salmon, halibut, and sardines), which help fight inflammation
and free your immune system to defend against antigens.

6. Whole grains are a valuable source of the vitamins, minerals and fiber that
are an essential part of keeping the immune system healthy. Fiber helps cleanse
the colon of toxins and helps prevent intestinal infections. Cooked grains can
be a great substitute for breakfast cereal, pasta, white rice, and white
potatoes. Oats and barley contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with potent
antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities. Eat whole grains not the flour to
get all the health benefits. Whole grains: Barley, Brown rice, Buckwheat, Bulgur
(cracked wheat), Millet, Oats, Wild Rice, and Quinoa

7. Green tea is a rich source of a type of antioxidant called a catechin, and
preliminary research has found that a specific catechin, egcg, may give the
beverage antigen-fighting abilities. When researchers at the University of
Sherbrooke in Canada added green tea to lab samples of the adenovirus (one of
many viruses that causes colds), they discovered that egcg inhibited the virus'
ability to replicate. Similarly, researchers in South Korea found that egcg can
also stop the influenza virus from replicating. Green tea catechins can improve
lymphocyte responses and seem to have anti-inflammatory effects so use it as a
replacement for things like soda or coffee. Green tea is also a great source of
L-theanine, an amino acid that triggers the release of germ-fighting compounds
from your T-cells. In one study, tea drinkers transformed their immune system T
cells into "super cells" that pumped out 10 times more cold and flu
virus-fighting interferon - proteins that defend against infection!

8. Add yogurt or kefir to your diet daily. These foods contain probiotics, good
bacteria that stimulate immune system cells in the gastrointestinal tract.
"Normal, healthy bacteria that colonize the GI tract help you resist bad
bacteria and detoxify harmful substances," explains Susanna Cunningham-Rundles,
Ph.D., a professor of immunology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University
in New York City. In addition to their protective effect in the gastrointestinal
tract, probiotics also may help stimulate immune-cell production system-wide. In
a recent study, those who ate ordinary yogurt daily for two weeks raised their
T-lymphocyte cell count by nearly 30 percent. Many yogurts also contain vitamin
D, which scientists are now focusing on as a critical factor in immune function.

9. Drink lots of filtered or spring water! Water eases the job of the kidneys
and liver to process and eliminate toxins from the blood. Water helps keep
mucous membranes moist enough to combat the viruses they encounter. Water is
also a little known tool for reducing sugar cravings as sugar cravings are often
just the result of dehydration. Try to have 6 to 8 glasses of pure water every
day. Using a straw helps me drink more. Maybe it will work for you too!

Eating a healthful, balanced diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruits and
vegetables, and healthy sources of protein is the best way to increase immunity
and health. "Not only are essential nutrients critical for the production and
maintenance of key germ-fighting cells in the immune system, but a balanced diet
also has a strong effect on vascular function, and the immune system is
dependent on blood flow," says David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Yale
Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

It is also imperative in supporting the immune system to reduce toxin intake. If
we can free the immune system up from dealing with foreign substances it can
focus its efforts on fighting colds, viruses, and other disease.

To boost the immune system, try to avoid or reduce consumption of:

- Meats treated with antibiotics and growth hormones.

- Processed convenience foods full of additives, dyes and sodium.

- Synthetic foods with hydrogenated or artificial fats and artificial
sweeteners.

- Sodas and other foods high in sugar. (When white blood cells are exposed to
high levels of sugar in the bloodstream, they have a decreased ability to engulf
bacteria and have weakened systemic resistance to all infections.)

- Caffeine. One cup of coffee is enough! Black tea has caffeine too but less
than coffee. Caffeine is a diuretic that contributes to the body's loss of
important nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium and can raise
anxiety levels.

- Alcohol (depresses the nervous system, inhibits the bone marrow's ability to
regenerate blood cells, is toxic to the liver, depletes B-vitamins, and is
dehydrating) Those with Hepatitis C should not place this extra strain on the
liver- ever.

- Hydrogenated vegetable oils, including shortenings and margarine. These are
all sources of free radicals. Trans fats (found in margarines and many
commercial baked goods) can contribute to chronic low-grade inflammation in the
body.

- Nitrates have been shown to cause cancer and should be avoided. They are found
in hot dogs, sausages, salami and smoked meats.

- Pesticides and chemical fertilizers in produce that is not organic.

- Too much fried food. High-fat diets appear to impair the immune system by
decreasing the function of T-lymphocytes

A poor diet and poor quality foods create a compromised digestive system that
leads to poor absorption of important vitamins and minerals, as well as food
allergies and a weakened immune system. Begin to eliminate or reduce one or two
negatively impacting foods, and at the same time, add more of the beneficial
ones. Notice how this starts to affect your digestion, your energy level, even
your moods. As you start to feel better, you will be more motivated to keep
making changes. Adequately feeding your immune system boosts its fighting power.
It will feel good to know that your health is improving and you are in charge of
this change! Supporting your immune system is one of the best tools you have to
help you fight disease, such as Hepatitis C, whether you pursue conventional or
alternative medicine.
 

bbmartin

New member
Joined
May 9, 2009
Why a little physical activity boosts immune system

I second that - excellent and very useful article, thank you! If I may chime in, physical activity is vital to strengthen the immune system in addition to giving your body the nutrition it needs.

It has to do with the nature of the lymphatic system, which is:

The lymphatic system consists of organs, ducts, and nodes. It transports a watery clear fluid called lymph. This fluid distributes immune cells and other factors throughout the body. It also interacts with the blood circulatory system to drain fluid from cells and tissues. The lymphatic system contains immune cells called lymphocytes, which protect the body against antigens (viruses, bacteria, etc.) that invade the body.
The lymphatic system is separate from the circulatory system and does not have a pump like the heart.

Instead, circulation of lymph throughout the body depends upon muscle contraction and relaxation. Simply adding a walk to your daily routine will boost your immune system.

I enjoy rebounding and skin brushing, both activities that enhance the flow of lymph and feel great to boot :)

Here's a bit of info about each:
Rebounding
http://www.improving-health-and-energy.com/mini-trampoline-exercise.html
Skin brushing
http://www.improving-health-and-energy.com/skin-brushing.html

I have not had a cold or this flu stuff for over a year now... something's working!

Thank you k2c for writing this article.

Cheers,
BB
 

kind2creatures

...elusive dreamer
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Location
USA
Original Poster
I second that - excellent and very useful article, thank you! If I may chime in, physical activity is vital to strengthen the immune system in addition to giving your body the nutrition it needs.

It has to do with the nature of the lymphatic system, which is:



The lymphatic system is separate from the circulatory system and does not have a pump like the heart.

Instead, circulation of lymph throughout the body depends upon muscle contraction and relaxation. Simply adding a walk to your daily routine will boost your immune system.

I enjoy rebounding and skin brushing, both activities that enhance the flow of lymph and feel great to boot :)

Here's a bit of info about each:
Rebounding
http://www.improving-health-and-energy.com/mini-trampoline-exercise.html
Skin brushing
http://www.improving-health-and-energy.com/skin-brushing.html

I have not had a cold or this flu stuff for over a year now... something's working!

Thank you k2c for writing this article.

Cheers,
BB
Thanks for the information BB! I've tried skin brushing (with a loofah) a couple of times before showering, guided by your suggestion. Ditto on the cold and flu stuff, hubby and I have not had any for a couple of years now. :) PS: I must clarify I did NOT write the article, it's from healthyhepper.
 


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