Boosting Immunity by Maintaining Nutrition
Boosting immunity is especially important in this day and age. New strains of viruses keep popping up every year, so it’s important to build your bodies defenses in order to strengthen it! Nutrition plays an important role in providing the antioxidant protection you need. The foods you consume can help kick start your body to guard itself against infections before they strike.
Your body’s immune system is an AWESOME non-stop protective system. It is designed to defend you against invasion by harmful bacteria, viruses, and chemical exposure. A weakened immunity loses the ability to guard you from infection and malignant cancers. When you’re not protected, your body can produce such symptoms as fever, weight loss, muscle pains, lethargy, and fatigue.
Most people today are deficient in the most basic of vitamins. That's why its essential that you protect and strengthen your body when you're not sick so you are better able to recover from unexpected illnesses or suffer from diseases.
There are three main areas you should be concerned with; diet, exercise, and stress reduction. Adequate amounts of nutrients are required to fuel your body and help create optimal immunity. These include; amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics/probiotics.
Boosting Immunity Through Nutrition
The amino acids
glutamine and arginine are thought to prevent oxidative stress and increase disease fighting helper-T cells.
Food Sources for Amino Acids
Good sources of these key amino acids are meats, legumes, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy products, raw cabbage, beets, nuts, chocolate, raisins, and whole grains.
Omega 3 fatty acids
act as anti-inflammatory agents and help regulate the function of immune cells.
Food Sources for Omega 3's
Good sources include: Farmed rainbow trout, fresh tuna, mackerel, pacific oysters, herring, red salmon, sardines, walnuts, flaxseed, and organic canola oil.
A, C, E, and D are known key players that assist in boosting immunity.
- Vitamin A stimulates antibody production in response to immune system activation.
- The essential vitamin C most importantly increases in production of interferon, the antibody that coats the cell surfaces, which prevents the entry of viruses and is an antioxidant.
- Vitamin E is also considered an anti-inflammatory and stabilizes membranes of immune cells.
- Vitamin D is a potent immunity builder and may help inhibit some forms of autoimmunity. Be sure to get optimal amounts
Food Sources for Key Vitamins
Vitamin A – Apricots, watermelons, peaches, cantaloupes, carrots, broccoli, greens, pumpkin, sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C – Sweet red pepper, hot red pepper, orange, grapefruit and pineapple juices, raw papaya, broccoli, hot green chili peppers, oranges.
Vitamin E – Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, papaya, collard greens, kale, olives, mustard greens, Swiss chard.
Vitamin D – Fortified milk, egg, mackerel, herring, trout, tuna, red salmon, shrimp, cod.
zinc, selenium, and iron prevent the oxidation of lipids(fats) in cell membranes, which reduces the oxidative stress that (negatively) affect immune cells.
Food Sources for Minerals
Zinc – Liver, beef, lamb, venison, asparagus, Swiss chard, crimini mushrooms, spinach.
Selenium – Liver, shrimp, cod, tuna, snapper, halibut, salmon, chimini mushrooms, eggs, Brazil nuts.
Iron – Thyme, spinach, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, liver, canned sardines, shrimp, roast pork, lean beef, dark meat turkey, chicken.
Boosting Immunity with Prebiotics and Probiotics
Live active enzymes help stimulate the growth of intestinal flora. (bacteria) This helps stimulate lymph tissue to produce antibodies to fight pathogens and enhance positive gut function. Without sufficient enzymes, your body cannot sufficiently digest and eliminate waste products. Prebiotics promote the growth of intestinal bacteria, whereas probiotics
are the actual bacteria themselves. Bifodobacteria and Lactobacilli are the different types of bacteria that everyone needs for a healthy gut.
Another key for boosting immunity, is to allow yourself to have some exposure to germs and bacteria. It is literally impossible to live free of them anyway! When you are regularly exposed to germs and bacteria (without being overwhelmed by them), your body is better able to build up resistance to them. Without resistance, your body will not build additional helper-T cells to help fend off other bacteria and germs. It may be a good idea to put away the antibacterial gels and get sick once in a while; that is, if you're serious about boosting immunity.
Food Sources of Beneficial Bacteria
: Banana, cabbage, flaxseed, Chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, leek, onion, asparagus.
: Barley, whole wheat flour, oatmeal.
– Kefir, tempeh, miso, Kim chi, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, sauerkraut or any fermented food, Inulin.
While no one can have a clean diet all of the time, it's important that you heavily restrict your consumption of Genetically Modified foods and cut down on your consumption of CAFO (factory farm) meats. It is a very cruel and dirty industry. To keep your body strong and resilient, choose produce from local farms that do not practice industrialized farming methods and opt for organic meats when you shop.
While the foods you consume help keep you healthy, a positive attitude is also necessary for boosting immunity
. Words are powerful. Don't let them bring you down! Ample exercise is also something to consider. A brisk walk after dinner can stimulate the defenses of the immune system and most importantly, the antibody and natural killer T-cell response. Regular stimulation of the system during bouts of exercise expedite the speed at which immune cells travel through your body. This allows your body’s natural defenses to ‘set up an army’, warding off incoming viruses and bacteria.
Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.
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