According to health experts, the immune system is a network of biological processes that protects a person from the disease. It is essential for survival. The immune system consists of organs, cells, tissues, and proteins. Together these help in a fight off foreign bodies, bacteria, viruses that cause infection or disease. The immune system is spread throughout the body.
When the immune system comes in contact with these, an immune response is triggered. It releases antibodies that kill them. It can differentiate a person’s tissue from foreign tissue and self from non-self. The immune system recognizes and clears dead and faulty cells. Many factors can affect the immune system like lack of sleep and rest, mental stress, chronic disease, poor diet, excess weight, environmental toxins, and old age.
Eating a properly balanced diet full of nutrients is required for the function and health of the immune system. Eating specific food will help to better prepare the body for microbial attacks and excess inflammation. Immune response in the body in each stage relies on the presence of many micronutrients. Many nutrients are needed for the proper function and growth of the immune system like protein, iron, selenium, zinc, vitamin D, and C. All these are found in plants and animals.
Food that strengthens the immune system –
According to nutritionists, blueberries have a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin which has antioxidant properties that help in maintain a good immune system. As per research, flavonoid helps in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants called theobromine. It helps to strengthen the immune system by protecting cells from free radicals. When the body comes in contact with pollutants or breaks down food, a free radical is produced. It damages the body’s cells and can cause disease. It is high in calories and saturated fats, so it is essential to eat in moderation.
Turmeric is used in cooking, and it’s a yellow spice. Some alternative medicines also have turmeric. The immune response is improved if turmeric is consumed because of the compound curcumin found in turmeric. According to health experts, curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Oily fishes are full of omega-three fatty acids. Health expert says long-term intake may reduce the risk of Rheumatoid arthritis. This chronic autoimmune condition occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin C and potent antioxidants—all these help maintain a sound immune system.
Sweet potato is rich in beta carotene, which is an antioxidant. Beta carotene is a source of vitamin A that helps keep the skin healthy and protects the skin from damage caused by UV rays. Spinach also helps in strengthening the immune system as it contains essential antioxidants and nutrients like flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C, and E. Both vitamin C and E help to support the immune system.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, which help in strengthening the immune system. It helps to reduce inflammation which helps to reduce inflammatory illness and sore throat. Ginger also reduces nausea, chronic pain, cholesterol levels. Green tea contains only a tiny amount of caffeine so that people can enjoy it as an alternative to coffee or tea. It helps in strengthening the immune system because it contains flavinoids. Sunflower seeds are full of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. Vitamin E helps in maintaining the immune system by fighting free radicals that damage cells.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, fiber, manganese, magnesium and helps in strengthening the immune system. Oranges are full of vitamin C. When people feel cold developing, they take this vitamin. Vitamin C helps in maintaining the immune system. Red bell peppers are another excellent source of vitamin C which helps in strengthening the immune system. Garlic is used in almost all cuisine globally, and it is a must-have for health purposes. It helps in fighting infections and slows down the hardening of arteries. Garlic also helps in strengthening the immune system because of the heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Yogurt helps to stimulate the immune system to fight diseases. The best yogurt to eat is the plain one. It is a good source of vitamin D, which helps regulate the immune system and boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases. Papaya is also a good source of vitamin C. In single medium papaya, double the daily dose of vitamin C can be found. It also has a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects. It has potassium, folate, and magnesium.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C. One medium tomato contains more than 16 milligrams of vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system. Extra virgin olive oil helps to rebuild and strengthen the immune system. It has a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. Rosemary is anti-inflammatory and is full of antioxidants.
Acai Berry is rich in nutrients called anthocyanins which help strengthen the immune system. Watermelon, when it rips, it has an antioxidant called glutathione which helps strengthen the immune system. To get the most of glutathione, nutritionists say that the red part should be eaten. Wheat Germ is a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant and is full of nutrients. It has zinc, antioxidants, vitamin B, fiber, protein, healthy fat, and all these are needed for an excellent immune system.
According to research, mushrooms help in strengthening immunity. It helps in reducing inflammatory-inducing proteins and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Fennel helps in reliving flu-like symptoms. It acts as a soothing mechanism for those suffering from stomach aches, fever, conjunctivitis, diarrhea, and this is because it has an abundance of phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. It also contains flavonoids that act as anti-inflammatory agents. Anise acts as an antibacterial and antifungal, which is need for the immune system.
Immunity-boosting nutrients are there in eggs, especially yolks. It has a high amount of vitamin D, which is essential in regulating and strengthening immunity. Light white tuna is filled with zinc which has a significant impact on the immune system. Wild salmon is loaded with zinc which in reducing common cold symptoms. Oysters are also rich in zinc which is needed for the immune system.
Chicken is high in vitamin B 6. About 3 ounces of chicken meat contains nearly one-third of the daily dose of B 6, which helps in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It enables the formation of new and healthy RBC. Some types of shellfish like oysters, crab, lobster, mussels are rich in zinc. Zinc is need for immune cell function and should not be had more than the recommended daily dose (11 mg for adult men and 8 mg for women).
Steps to maintain a healthy immune system –
- Eat a balanced diet with whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Do regular exercise.
- Don’t smoke.
- Sleep for 7-9 hours. Try to maintain a proper sleep-wake schedule.
- Manage stress.
- Maintain adequate health hygiene.