You can include numerous types of foods to boost your immunity in a healthy manner without depending on allopathic medicines or artificial supplements. The ability of your body to cope with different diseases is directly dependent on your immune system. The stronger your immune system, the better chances you have of fighting the disease and in some cases preventing yourself from contracting the disease in the first place. We are exposed to millions of microorganisms on a daily basis.
Our environment and its surroundings can be contaminated with different types of microbes that are constantly trying to invade our internal body system through whichever way possible. Following a healthy lifestyle with adequate intake of different types of foods in its natural form is one of the most cost effective ways to strengthen your immune system. Listed below are some foods that have been proven to boost your immunity in a very efficient manner:
This is by far one of the most natural and safe choice for fighting different types of bacteria, fungi and viruses that thrive blissfully in hot humid climatatic conditions like India. Citrus fruits like oranges, guava, lime and sweet lemon are good sources of vitamin C. However, the Indian gooseberry or amla is the richest source of vitamin C. This vitamin increases the production of white blood cells.
The latter act like the defence army in the body, helping ward off threats from external agents. If the deadly pathogens manage to find their way inside the body, the white blood cells fight and kill the microbes, preventing them from spreading elsewhere. These cells finally dispose the dead microbes out of the body.
Vitamin C specifically increases the production of interferon, a type of white blood cell that is responsible for making the cell membrane stronger. This prevents the intrusion of microbes or other harmful agents. Vitamin C being a natural antioxidant, effectively removes free radicals, helping the body beat numerous ailments and diseases like breast, prostate and colon cancer.
It is also known to aid in collagen formation (helps in binding tissues together). It is therefore very helpful in speeding up wound healing processes. It also helps lower bad cholesterol and boosts the presence of good cholesterol or HDL. This way, vitamin C prevents excess accumulation and circulation of cholesterol in the body, reducing the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases, helping in the overall health and well being of the individual.
Photo Credit: Abcnews.go.com
Being water soluble in nature, the chances of being diagnosed with an overdose of vitamin C is not very common, because excess vitamin C is directly excreted via urine. Faulty cooking habits and improper food preparations are primarily responsible for huge losses of vitamin C. Remember to ea t citrus fruits as soon as you peel and cut them. Exposing them to atmosphere leads to vitamin C destruction!
Greens and Meat
Both plant and animal food products provide carotenoids and vitamin A respectively. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant, helping fight away free radicals. Carotenoids, the plant version of vitamin A have been proven to increase the number of killer cells, interferons and other types of white blood cells in the body, helping your body ward off any unwanted threat posed by microorganisms on a daily basis.
Vitamin A has also been proven to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell) to produce abundant amounts of tumor necrosis factors. The latter kill any cell that has the ability to convert itself into a cancerous cell. This way, it prevents the formation of numerous types of cancers! Alpha, beta and gamma carotenoids work in tandem helping the body ward of cancerous cells. It is therefore advisable to fill your platter with different types of vegetables and fruits to get the best of everything! Eggs, animal products like meat and poultry, green leafy vegetables, orange and yellow colored fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin A.
These are rich in vitamin E that helps the body produce white blood cells like natural killer cells or NKCs. Vitamin E also prevents the formation of carcinogens (substances that cause cancer). Being an antioxidant, a combination of vitamin A, C, E boosts the body’s immune system multifold.
These vitamins prevent the formation of plaque in and around the cardio vascular arteries, preventing the occurrence or incidence of cardiovascular diseases. They also help in the production of cells that stimulate antibodies formation. Antibodies help in fighting away antigens (foreign or harmful substances). Other sources of vitamin E include seeds, vegetables, cooking oils enriched with vitamin E, nuts and animal products.
Oysters and fishes provide zinc. This is by far one of the most important mineral that is overlooked by many. While calcium and iodine get the respect they deserve, people often tend to neglect the inclusion of zinc in the diet. Zinc acts by preventing the production and growth of cancerous cells. Nearly 200 different types of enzymes in the body require the presence of zinc for their proper functioning.
It is required for normal growth, development and maintenance of every single cell and tissue in the body. Mild zinc deficiency has been proven to produce several immunological defects like reduction in interleukin 2 production (a type of white blood cell). Severe zinc deficiency leads to adverse effects on the person’s well being. Animal products like meat and poultry are excellent sources of zinc. Other sources include nuts, whole grains, cereals and pulses. Fruits and vegetables provide zinc in fair amounts.
Brazil nuts and walnuts are good sources of selenium. This mineral along with vitamin E forms a powerful antioxidant combination. Both vitamin E and selenium together are effective in reversing the development of carcinogenic cells in the body, thereby effectively fighting off numerous types of cancers.
Selenium was also found to alleviate the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in mice when administered in conjunction with fish oil. Other sources of selenium are cereals (wheat and rice), fish (tuna) and animal products like egg beef and chicken. Legumes are also good sources of selenium. Include the aforementioned foods in your daily diet and strengthen your immune system like never before!