It is essential for our survival. Immune system plays a vital role: It protects your body from harmful substances, germs and cell changes that could make you ill. The healthy habits can boost your immunity.
As long as your immune system is running smoothly, you don’t notice that it’s there. But if it stops working properly – because it’s weak or can’t fight particularly aggressive germs – you get ill. Germs that your body has never encountered before are also likely to make you ill. Some goals will only make you ill the first time you come into contact with them.
The immune system is made up of special organs, cells and chemicals that fight infection. The main parts of the immune system are: white body cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow.
Humans have three types of immunity – innate, adaptive, and passive:
Innate immunity: Everyone is born with innate (or natural) immunity, a type of general protection. For example, the skin acts as a barrier to block germs from entering the body. And the immune system recognizes when certain invaders are foreign and could be dangerous.
Adaptive immunity: Adaptive (or active) immunity develops throughout our lives. We develop adaptive immunity when we’re exposed to diseases or when we’re immunized against them with vaccines.
Passive immunity: Passive immunity is “borrowed” from another source and it lasts for a short time. For example, antibodies in a mother’s breast milk give a baby temporary immunity to diseases the mother has been exposed to.
THE TASKS OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM- Without an immune system, we would have no way to fight harmful things that enter our body from the outside or harmful changes that occur inside our body. The major task of the immune system is to protect the host from environmental agents such as microbes or chemicals, thereby preserving the integrity of the body. This is done by the recognition of self and response to non-self.
The main tasks of the body’s immune system are-
To fight disease causing germs like bacteria, viruses, parasites
or fungi and to remove them from the body.
To recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment, and
To fight disease causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells.
15 Foods that Boost the Immune System-
Immune system boosters
Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong.
If you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, the flu, and other infections, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Plan your meals to include these 15 powerful immune system boosters.
Citrus fruits are rich in multiple nutrients such as vitamin C, flavonoids, and fiber which confer vascular protection, reduce inflammation, improve gastrointestinal function and health and play an important role in preventing conditions like diabetes, cancer, neurological disease.
Most people turn straight to vitamin C after they have caught a cold. That is 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:
Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is:
75 mg for women
90 mg for men
2. RED BELL PEPPERS:
If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost 3 times as much vitamin C as a Florida orange. 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.
Broccoli is super charged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with Vitamin A, C and E as well as fiber and many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate.
The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible- or better yet, not at all. Research has shown that steaming is the best way to keep more nutrients in the food.
Broccoli is also used for preventing cancer of the prostate, breast, colon, bladder, and stomach.
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, such as allicin.
Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may help with nausea as well.
Ginger may also decrease chronic pain and might even possess cholesterol lowering properties.
Spinach made our list not just because it’s rich in vitamin C- it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may both increase the infection fighting ability of our immune systems.
When it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking makes it easier to absorb the vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, an antinutrient.
Look for yogurts that have the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.
Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavoured 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 defences against diseases.
When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, this powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system.
It’s a fat -soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds are packed with the vitamin and have healthy fats.
It contains lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.
Adults only need about 15mg of vitamin E each day. A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides around 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.
9. SUNFLOWER SEEDS:
Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, and vitamin B-6 and E.
Vitamin E is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function. Other foods with high amounts of vitamin E include avocados and dark leafy greens.
Sunflower seeds are also incredibly high in selenium. Just 1 ounce contains nearly half the selenium that the average adult needs daily. A variety of studies, mostly performed on animals, have looked at its potential to combat viral infections such as swine flu.
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 colour, can help decreases exercise- included muscle damage. Curcumin has promise as an immune booster (based on findings from animal studies) and an antiviral. More research is needed.
11. GREEN TEA:
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 is preserved
Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.
12. PAPAYA :
Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. You can find double 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.
Papaya have decent amounts of potassium, magnesium, and folate all of which are beneficial to your overall health. Papaya is also high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote regularly and a healthy digestive tract.
Like papayas, kiwis are naturally full of a ton o essential nutrient, including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
Vitamin C boosts the white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly.
When you are sick and you reach for chicken soup, it’s more than just the placebo effect that makes you feel better. The soup may help lower inflammation, which could improve symptoms of a cold.
Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains nearly one third of daily recommended amount of B-6.
Vitamin B6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatine, chondroitin, and other nutrients.
15. SHELLFISH :
Shellfish isn’t what jumps to mind for many who are trying to boost their immune system, but some types of shellfish are packed with zinc.
Zinc doesn’t get as much attention as many other vitamins and minerals, but our bodies need it so that our immune cells can function as intended.
Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:
Keep in mind that you do not want to be have more than the daily recommended amount of zinc in your diet. Certain types of shellfish can cause severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis in people.
11mg for adult men
8mg for most adult women