Keeping your immune system healthy is very important. The immune system helps the body to fight attacks against diseases. Naturally, what you eat can majorly influence your immune health.
Certain foods may actually decrease your chances of getting sick, while others can help you recover more quickly if you happen to have any illnesses. There are some foods you should eat if you want to boost your immune system.
Iron is a mineral that plays an important role in immune function. A diet containing too little iron can contribute to anaemia, weaken the immune system and even weaken the bones and teeth. That’s why it’s important to optimize your intake of iron-rich foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits.
Avoid coffee and tea with your meals. Combining iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C can help boost your absorption even further. Optimal blood iron levels help improve your immune function. Therefore, it’s advantageous to include iron-rich foods in your diet. However, it’s important to remember that overly high blood iron levels can be harmful and may actually suppress the immune system so it’s best to use iron supplements only if you have an iron deficiency, or on the advice of a doctor.
Fruits like oranges, grapefruits, pineapples and tangerines are high in vitamin C, a well-known immunity boosters. Vitamin C is recognised for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps maintain the integrity of your skin, which acts as a protective barrier against infection. It can also act as an antioxidant, helping protect your immune cells against harmful compounds formed in response to viral or bacterial infections.
Therefore, getting enough vitamin C is a great way to strengthen your immune system and may reduce your likelihood of infection. No wonder why Vitamin C intake when you have a flu helps you get better more quickly. However, it’s better to get Vitamin C directly from the source(fruits) rather than supplements, since plants contain other beneficial compounds that supplements may not. This likely lowers your risk of infection and may even speed up your recovery.
Ginger is rich in gingerol, a bioactive substance thought to help lower the risk of infections. It has antimicrobial properties that may inhibit the growth of several types of bacteria. Some studies on human cells show that fresh ginger may also help fight some respiratory infections. However, more studies in humans are needed to support this protective effect.
Also, the effects may be especially potent if the ginger compounds are already present in your body before the infection occurs. Amazingly, ginger also has anti-nausea effects, which may help decrease your nausea symptoms when you have the flu.
Garlic also contains active compounds that may help reduce your risk of infection. The main active compound in garlic, is thought to improve your immune cells’ ability to fight off colds and the flu. It has antimicrobial and antiviral properties that may help it fight bacterial and viral infections.
To maximize garlics immune-boosting effects, aim to eat one clove two to three times per day. Crushing the garlic and allowing it to stand for 10 minutes prior to cooking can also help increase its effects. Just like ginger, it is effective at reducing the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu.