Eating to Enhance your Immune System
- Boosting the Immune System Through Foods We Eat and Don't Eat:
Foods that Increase your Immunity so that your Body can Fight Disease
"Nutrition plays an important part in maintaining immune function," explains George L. Blackburn, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the division of nutrition at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. "Insufficiency in one or more essential nutrients may prevent the immune system from functioning at its peak."
A healthy diet builds a strong immune system and helps you fight disease, such as Hepatitis C. A healthy diet positively affects your mood and allows you to cope with stress better. Eating for a strong immune system can involve a lifestyle change for some, but it is well worth it!
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.
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