Every day we are subjected to a constant barrage of bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal diseases. Luckily, the human immune system is comprised of about 1,000,000,000,000 cells that protect us from foreign invaders. It's like a constant episode of Game of Thrones in there! Approximately 70 percent of the immune system lives in the gut, which is why diet is so important to overall health and wellbeing.
Natural Immune Boosting Foods
Here's some suggestions for foods you can add to your diet to help boost your immune system:
Phagocytosis is an immune system response that includes natural killer cell activity and musosal immunoglobulin production (especially in children) that may be improved by the use of probiotics. Probiotics work to boost gut health by supplementing good bacteria. This is especially important after taking a round of antibiotics, which may wipe out all bacteria from the digestive tract and invite nasty unwanted pathogens to take over.
All hail Turmeric! Turmeric is an Indian herb known to be a powerful antioxidant that has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. The secret ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been shown to kill tumor cells and modulate the immune system by down regulating the expression of proinflammatory cytokines. Here's a hot tip: add some black pepper when using Turmeric, it helps boost the bioavailability of the curcumin, which makes it easier for your body to absorb!
Some studies show that chamomile tea boosts the immune system and helps treat the common cold by increasing urinary levels of hippurate and glycine, which have been associated with increased antibacterial activity. Fiber. Some dietary fiber's have been shown to improve immune function through the production of short chain fatty acids. Studies have shown that fiber increases T helper cells and increased cytotoxic activity of natural killer cells. You can find out more about fibre in our post, 'You Are What You Eat'.
4. Green Tea
The ECGC found in green tea is one of the most powerful herbs in treating and preventing cancer. This is because EGCG has a potential inhibitory effect on the proliferation of cancer cells. It boosts the immune system by protecting it against oxidants and free radicals. Matcha latte anyone?
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a remarkable vitamin that acts to enhance the immune system, avoid DNA damage, and significantly decrease the risk of a wide range of pathologies, such as cancers, and degenerative and chronic diseases. It is also a very powerful antioxidant as well as an essential cofactor in numerous enzyme reactions, such as in the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine, and cateocholamines. Even in small amounts, vitamin C can protect molecules in the body, such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, DNA and RNA, from damage by free radicals.
There are lots of medicinal mushrooms out there. Maitake is your flu shot equivalent. They're from Japan and recognised by the American Cancer Society to boost immunity and even reverse tumour growth.
If you can get your hands on the whole stuff then put it into a pasta or scrambled eggs. Or you can buy the powder and mix it into your smoothies.
If you want to prevent or fight disease, you need to take care of yourself. If you're regularly consuming these five types of foods, then I'm certain you're rarely sick. Never underestimate the power of a daily diet that includes fruit and tea.
image credit: Sylvie Shiraz Photography