immune system

image source: everydayhealth

How can you improve your immune system? On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?

 

Some ways to boost your immune system includes;

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.

 

Infections that people with a weak immune system often get include:

  • pneumonia
  • meningitis
  • bronchitis
  • skin infections
  • These infections may recur with a high frequency.

Other symptoms of a weak immune system can include the following:

  • autoimmune disorders
  • inflammation of the internal organs
  • blood disorders or abnormalities, such as anemia
  • digestive issues, including loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping
  • growth and developmental delays in infants and children

Eating foods that boost your immune system is probably the best bet for you. This includes foods like;

 

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits contain vitamin C. Most people turn straight to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system.

Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.

Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.

Popular citrus fruits include:

  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • tangerines
  • lemons
  • limes

Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health.

 

Red Bell Peppers

They contain almost three times more vitamin C than citrus fruits, ounce for ounce. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene.

Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help you maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A, helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.

 

Garlic

Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also slow down hardening of the arteries, and there’s weak evidence that it helps lower blood pressure.

Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.

 

Ginger

Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. It may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. This vegetable may help with nausea as well. Ginger may also decrease chronic pain and might even possess cholesterol-lowering properties.

 

Yogurt

Greek yogurt have “live and active cultures”, which are good for you. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.

Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.

Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.

 

Turmeric

You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Curcumin has promise as an immune booster and an antiviral. More research is needed.

 

Green Tea

Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant.

In studies, EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved.

Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.

 

Pawpaw

Pawpaw or Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find the daily recommended amount of vitamin C in a single medium fruit. Papayas also have a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.

Papayas have decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, and folate, all of which are beneficial to your overall health.