Our immune system protects us from potential harm that can be caused by pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. People who have a strong immune system are less susceptible to developing infections and even if they get infected, their recovery rate tends to be significantly faster.
Your diet can have an enormous impact on your body’s defense mechanisms. If you are mindful of what you eat and you provide your body with the correct amounts of essential nutrients on a daily basis, you will also enable your immune system to work to its full capacity. When you feel under the weather or your immune system is compromised due to an illness you are just recovering from, there are several natural foods that contain important vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, which are known to support your mucus membranes, immune cells and the body’s disease fighting capacity.
Immune Boosting Antioxidants
The reason why antioxidants are considered to be immune boosting super foods is because of their purposes. They are known to repair cells in your body, which have been damaged by pathogens and free radicals and they are also known to encourage the body to produce more white blood cells, which attack and destroy any invading microorganisms, thus prevent infection.
Antioxidants are mainly found in colorful fruits and vegetables and include:
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Vitamin A and beta carotene rich fruits and vegetables are usually yellow in color, such as orange carrots, mangoes or peaches.
Vitamin C food sources include grapefruit, orange, mango, kiwi, cruciferous vegetables, berries, nectarines or peppers.
Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts and seeds, papaya, spinach and turnips.
Zinc can be found in oysters, nuts, beans, dairy products and fortified cereals.
And finally selenium rich foods are fortified breads, tuna, Brazil nuts, and seeds.
Did you know that your body contains ten times as many bacterial cells as body cells? The millions of friendly species of bacteria, which naturally reside in several areas of your body do not only boost your immune system, but have several other important functions, such as protection against lactose intolerance, lowering blood cholesterol level and they also protect against cancer.
Probiotics rich foods, such as live yogurt should be consumed by everyone on a daily basis. Alternatively you can visit a health food store and buy a probiotic supplement.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
When a compromised immune system is a result of an allergy, such as hay fever or eczema, especially in children where the skin or respiratory system are affected, omega 3 fatty acids are especially helpful in overcoming the damage caused. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids include oily fish, such as mackerel or tuna, sunflower or flax seed oil.