The immune system is an amazing piece of work. When our bodies are invaded with foreign germs it springs into action, sending defenders to fight them off. It’s too bad that our immune system is often not working as well as it could.
Stress, improper diet, lack of exercise and environmental factors can all negatively impact the immune system. And if the immune system is having a bad day, we’re more likely to get sick. Illness is harder on our bodies, and we do not recover as quickly as we should.
But we can boost our immune systems, and we don’t need prescription or over-the-counter drugs to do it. Eating the right foods gives us the nutrients that our immune systems need to be at the top of their game. Here are some of the best immune-boosting foods:
* Citrus fruits - Oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits are powerful immune boosters. They contain lots of vitamin C, a nutrient that helps increase the production of white blood cells and antibodies. A medium orange contains 75 milligrams of vitamin C.
* Carrots - Carrots are loaded with beta carotene. This phytonutrient is a close ally of the immune system. It promotes the production of killer cells and T cells, which are powerful infection fighters. Studies have also shown that falcarinol, a compound found in carrots, may help prevent and fight cancer.
* Garlic - Garlic is superb at fighting almost any type of infection. It is often used in herbal remedies. Just eating it a few times a week will help keep the immune system at its peak. For best results, eat garlic fresh and crush it thoroughly. This will maximize the amounts and availability of the infection-fighting compounds present.
* Yogurt - Yogurt is rich in bacterial cultures. This might sound like the last thing your immune system needs, but the acidophilus bacteria found in yogurt are essential to its proper function. Acidophilus bacteria help us absorb the nutrients in our food and fight disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Another type of bacteria found in yogurt, bifidobacterium, is particularly beneficial to the elderly.
* Oysters - Oysters are one of the best sources of zinc one could hope for. Zinc aids in the reproduction and function of antibodies. It also hinders bacterial and viral growth, making it easier for the immune system to kill harmful germs.
* Fatty fish - Omega 3 fatty acids are present in large quantities in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. They encourage activity in phagocytes, the white blood cells that consume bacteria. Adding a vitamin E supplement will enhance this effect.
If we take care of our immune system, it can fight off most diseases and infections without the aid of antibiotics and other drugs. Including these foods in our diet is a good start.
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