Food

Immunity Boosters to Help Fight All Types of Problems

10. Vitamin D Vitamin D – can modulate innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased… Rina - March 3, 2020
Foods rich in natural vitamin D as fish, eggs, cheese, milk, butter, mushrooms, canned sardines
Foods rich in natural vitamin D as fish, eggs, cheese, milk, butter, mushrooms, canned sardines.
Shutterstock.

10. Vitamin D

Vitamin D – can modulate innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to infection. It plays a significant role in the regulation of calcium and maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood. These factors are vital for maintaining healthy bones. People need vitamin D to allow the intestines to stimulate and absorb calcium and reclaim calcium that the kidneys would otherwise excrete.

Vitamin D can be found in:

  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
Natural Foods high in vitamin E.
Natural Foods high in vitamin E. Shutterstock.

11. Vitamin E

Vitamin E – is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. The body needs vitamin E to boost the immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It is an antioxidant that helps to stimulate the production of antibodies.

  • Vegetable oils (such as wheat germ, sunflower, safflower, corn, and soybean oils)
  • Nuts (such as almonds, peanuts, and hazelnuts/filberts)
  • Seeds (such as sunflower seeds)
  • Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarine, and spreads.
  • Vegetables such as tomato, spinach, broccoli

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12. Vitamin K

Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins that play a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels. The body needs vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein, and a clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism. It is a cofactor for some plasma proteins, thereby affecting immune and inflammatory responses particularly mediated by T cells. It can inhibit cell growth by promoting apoptosis and autophagy. Low levels of vitamin K have been associated with inflammatory diseases.

It can be found in:

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, romaine, and green leaf lettuce.
  • Vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  • Fish, liver, meat, eggs, and cereals (in smaller amounts)
Top view Variety of vitamin and mineral pills in wooden spoon isolated on white background, Dietary supplement healthcare product
Top view Variety of vitamin and mineral pills in wooden spoon isolated on white background, Dietary supplement healthcare product. Shutterstock.

13. Which minerals?

Minerals such as Iron build-up your overall resistance. Zinc is necessary for the strengthing of T-cells, which are produced in the thymus gland, which destroys foreign bodies. Things like calcium help the phagocyte cells to carry out their cleaning abilities. Selenium is necessary for the production of antibodies. Just like vitamins, minerals help your body grow, develop, and stay healthy. The body uses minerals to perform many different functions — from building strong bones to transmitting nerve impulses.

Some minerals are even used to make hormones or maintain a normal heartbeat. There are 16 essential minerals: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, and selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride. Minerals are found in foods like cereals, bread, meat, fish, milk, dairy, nuts, fruit (especially dried fruit) and vegetables. However, it is a good idea to supplement them into your diet. 

High Fiber Foods on a wooden background. Flat lay
High Fiber Foods on a wooden background. Flat lay. Shutterstock.

14. Fiber for your health

Fiber is essential for digestion and helps to keep the colon clean.  Keeps allergies in check as well as riding the body of toxins. Good sources include barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears. Many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber. Soluble fiber changes immune cells from being pro-inflammatory warrior cells to anti-inflammatory peacekeeper cells,” says Gregory Freund, M.D., of the University of Illinois.

Here’s why: Soluble fiber boosts the production of the protein interleukin-4, which stimulates the body’s infection-fighting T-cells. Fiber is known to help with:

  • Normalizing bowel movements, dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it.
  • It helps maintain bowel health.
  • Fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels.
  • It helps control blood sugar levels.
  • Aids in achieving a healthy weight.
  • Fiber helps you live longer.
fitness concept with Exercise Equipment on wooden background.
fitness concept with Exercise Equipment on wooden background. Shutterstock.

15. Exercise to fight disease

Exercise! Either 20 minutes of brisk activity or 6 minutes of vigorous exercise each day will stimulate circulation, increase blood flow and oxygen to your whole body. Increase Exercise. Don’t lie down if you can sit. Don’t sit if you can stand. Walk instead of stand.  If you can walk, then run.

Remember, lean muscle burns more fat. You will feel better and sleep better too. Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes a change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease.

I can self motivation - cutting the letter t of the written word I can't so it says I can
I can self motivation – cutting the letter t of the written word I can’t so it says I can. Shutterstock.

16. Adopting a motivation mindset.

Having a “motivation mindset” is known to be essential in boosting the immune system. As well as slowing down the aging process.  Researchers have found a wealth of evidence that positive emotions can enhance the immune system, while negative emotions can suppress it. It leads to a profound change in the immune system.

The reasons for this link remain unclear, but the brain appears to have a direct effect on stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which have wide-ranging effects on the nervous and immune systems. In the short term, they benefit us with heightened awareness and increased energy, but when prolonged, the effects are less helpful. They lead to a profound change in the immune system, making us more likely to pick up a bug.

stress reduction concept - relax, slow down, breath, take it easy, enjoy life, smile handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee
stress reduction concept – relax, slow down, breath, take it easy, enjoy life, smile handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee. Shutterstock.

17. Stress reduction

Taking a day off, try meditation, and breathing exercises- like Qi Gong, and being around people who share a similar positive outlook on life, are all known tools in reducing stress. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.

Consider cutting down on caffeine and chocolates. Try to limit your exposure to overly critical environments.  Take a walk outside, enjoy the scenery around you. Meditate Mindfully. Take time daily to get in touch with your inner self. Breathe deeply and slowly. Your newfound tranquility will put your mind at ease and smooth out the rough spots of any day.

Hand refusing a cigarette offer on grey background
Hand refusing a cigarette offer on grey background. Shutterstock.

18. Effects of smoking on the immune system

The effects of smoking on the immune system include greater susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia and influenza. more severe and longer-lasting illnesses. lower levels of protective antioxidants (such as vitamin C), in the blood. In a study, researchers found that smoke contains high levels of tar and other chemicals, which can make your immune system less effective at fighting off infections. The continued weakening of the immune system can make you more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Second- hand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Second-hand smoke undermines basic immune defenses and raises the risk of bronchitis and pneumonia in everyone, and middle ear infections in kids.

Concept diet - healthy food with muesli, honey, kiwi and cereals
Concept diet – healthy food with muesli, honey, kiwi and cereals. Shutterstock.

19. Maintain a healthy weight

The immune system is made up of many different kinds of cells that protect the body from germs, viruses and other invaders. These cells need to co-exist in a certain balance for good health to be maintained. Many factors, including diet and excess body fat, can tip this balance, creating immune cells that can harm, rather than protect, our bodies.

Excess fat around the abs can turn the body’s defense system against you, leading to heart and other diseases. Australian researchers found that for obese individuals, shedding just 10 pounds could straighten out an off-balance immune system. Benefits of maintaining a healthy weight include a reduced risk of heart disease, reduced risk of stroke, reduced risks of developing some forms of cancer, helps to control non-insulin dependent diabetes, relieving back and joint tension, increases energy levels and helps to optimize the immune system.

Steps of discharge glass of beer. Drinking beer process, isolated on white
Steps of discharge glass of beer. Drinking beer process, isolated on white. Shutterstock.

20. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation

Excessive consumption impairs the immune system and increases vulnerability to lung infections. Alcohol slows the immune system, making bacteria-fighting white blood cells sluggish and much less efficient. It affects the way health gut microbes interact with the immune system. Alcohol also disrupts the gut barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass into the blood.

Excessive drinking reduces the number and function of three important kinds of cells in your immune system–macrophages, T and C cells. However, moderate alcohol consumption ‘boosts the immune system’.  Many s enjoy a drink or two to celebrate a festive season, new research suggests that the odd glass of wine with dinner may actually benefit our health – as new research suggests it can boost the immune system and improve its response to vaccination.

 

Smiling baby girl lying on a bed sleeping on blue sheets
Smiling baby girl lying on a bed sleeping on blue sheets. Shutterstock.

21. Get adequate sleep

Sleep deprivation and stress overload increase the hormone cortisol, prolonged elevation of which suppresses immune function. Sleep helps the body redistribute energy resources that are primarily used for brain and muscle work to the immune system. During sleep, the immune cells get out of the circulation, settle in the lymph nodes, and start getting ready for the next day of work.

For more on this topic check this out. During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep. So, your body needs sleep to fight infectious diseases.  Sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function.

Sick bald caucasian man holding napkin or tissue, trying to cover mouth while sneezing with closed eyes. His coworker try to hide from microbes. Poor guy has terrible grippe
Sick bald caucasian man holding napkin or tissue, trying to cover mouth while sneezing with closed eyes. His coworker try to hide from microbes. Poor guy has terrible grippe. Shutterstock.

22. Avoid infection

With a little common sense and the proper precautions, you can avoid infectious diseases and avoid spreading them. Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.

  • Wash your hands often, before eating and after using the toilet.
  • Get vaccinated, immunization can drastically reduce your chances of contracting many diseases.
  • Use antibiotics sensibly, take all prescribed doses of your antibiotic even if you begin to feel better before you have completed the medication.
  • Stay at home if you have signs and symptoms of an infection.
  • Be smart about food preparation.  Don’t let cooked foods remain at room temperature for an extended period of time.
  • Disinfect the ‘hot zones’ in your residence. These include the kitchen and bathroom — two rooms that can have a high concentration of bacteria and other infectious agents.
  • Don’t share personal items. Use your own toothbrush, comb or razor blade.
  • Travel wisely. Don’t fly when you’re sick. With so many people confined to such a small area, you may infect other passengers in the plane.
Senior woman in jacket suffering from cold in park
Senior woman in jacket suffering from cold in park. Shutterstock.

23. How aging affects the immune system

As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections and more cancer. As life expectancy in developed countries has increased, so too has the incidence of age-related conditions. While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases and, even more importantly, more likely to die from them.

Respiratory infections, influenza, and particularly pneumonia are the leading causes of death in people over 65 worldwide. The effects of aging on the immune system are manifest at multiple levels that include reduced production of B and T cells in the bone marrow and thymus and diminished function of mature lymphocytes in secondary lymphoid tissues. As a result, with age, the immune system does not respond as sufficiently.

Dad and son cooking together
Dad and son cooking together. Shutterstock.

24. Taking on a healthy lifestyle

Make the Right Choice. Everyone knows that when you choose the less healthy of two options, you stay mired in the downward cycle. Lift yourself up one bite at a time.

  • Avoid White, white flour, white sugar, white bread, white rice. Choose whole-grain bread, oatmeal, dried fruits and lesser processed sweeteners like raw honey and agave syrup.
  • Drink water, sugary soda, alcoholic drinks, and even supposedly healthy fruit juices are packed with calories. Diet sodas have no nutritional value, so why drink them? A glass of water before eating gives you a feeling of fullness so you eat less.
  • Snack better, learn to like baked chips, not fried. Enjoy fresh fruit of the season rather than sugary snacks. Buy lower fat and sodium popcorn. Enjoy dried fruit, but in moderation because while nutrient and fiber-rich, it is also calorie-dense.
  •  Eat slower, take the time to chew your food well and you will eat less. Remember, it takes around 15 minutes for our bodies to feel full. You’ll feel better, your food will digest more fully and you won’t feel as bloated.
a set of fermented food great for gut health - top view of glass bowls against grunge wood: cucumber pickles, coconut milk yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, red beets, apple cider vinegar
a set of fermented food great for gut health – top view of glass bowls against grunge wood: cucumber pickles, coconut milk yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, red beets, apple cider vinegar. Shutterstock.

25. Benefits of probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses. Promoting a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system are their most widely studied benefits at this time. These are also commonly known as friendly, good, or healthy bacteria. They are considered to give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body.

Recent studies have indicated that probiotic supplementation reduces the duration and incidence of infections. As well as, to reduce the incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Fermented milk products have also been shown to reduce respiratory infections in adults and kids. The most common fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics, or have probiotics added to them, include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread, and some cheeses.

Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl.
Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl. Shutterstock.

26. Go for garlic

Garlic has been used for centuries to fight bacteria and viruses and speed up healing. In ancient times, garlic was a cure-all for everything from stomachaches to infections to coughs. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent and immune booster.  Eating garlic can boost the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream. This is important because colds and the flu are caused by viruses.

Some benefits of garlic are credited to the presence of the sulfur-containing compound, Allicin, found in fresh, crushed or chewed garlic, due to which it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Some startling claims mention that it may help prevent some forms of cancer too. The health benefits of garlic are aplenty.

Garlic is a part of the onion family and the ‘bulb’ of this herb typically consists of 10-20 smaller sections called the ‘cloves’. Each small clove is a powerhouse of flavor as well as medicinal properties. Every 100 grams of garlic will serve you with close to 150 calories, 33 grams of carbs, 6.36 grams of protein. Garlic is also enriched with Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Since heat deactivates a key active ingredient, try to eat it raw or to add it to foods just before serving.

Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, lime)
Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, lime) Shutterstock.

27. Citrus fruits for vitamin C

Vitamin C improves the function of what are called the “natural killer” cells, which help to eliminate infection, and aid in antimicrobial activity; It helps the body’s own helper cells such as lymphocytes; It helps the body’s cells maintain their integrity, and resist oxidative damage. Citrus fruits also have good amounts of other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, including B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and copper ( 7 ).

Additionally, they are rich in plant compounds that have various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C, which is essential for boosting your immune system and fighting off colds and infections. Vitamin C has the added benefit of contributing to normal collagen formation, which helps promote healthy glowing skin.  Citrus fruits include oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.

Sambucus nigra - Elderberry
Sambucus nigra – Elderberry. Shutterstock.

38.  Elderberries as immune support

Elderberries and their flowers are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that may boost your immune system. They can help lower inflammation, lessen stress, and protect your heart, too. Some experts recommend elderberry to help prevent and ease cold and flu symptoms. Elderberry juice benefits are attributed to its nutrients, which include vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, carotenoids, amino acids, and flavonoids.

Elderberry juice is also very rich in certain essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and several anti-oxidants Aside from immune support, Elderberry is known to be an effective, safe weight loss is about more than dieting. It’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle: good nutrition and often, regular exercise. This fruit is among the top sources for antioxidants, which play a proven role in reducing inflammation.

Eat foods that are good for your immune system so that your body can start to repair itself. Shutterstock.

29. In summary

Immune boosters improve cardiovascular health, lowes blood pressure, help to control body weight and protect against a variety of diseases. Its benefits include weight loss, reduced cancer risk, improved diabetes management, better heart health, stroke prevention, strong bones and teeth, better mood, improved memory. The immune system is a key factor in maintaining good health.

Our immune system shields our bodies from external harm, ranging from the common cold to life-threatening diseases. It can become weakened from poor diet, stress, lack of quality sleep, immobility… among many other factors. The consumption of a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, having 8 hours of restful sleep, and adopting a positive attitude can go a long way towards fighting off the cold and keeping you “over” the weather.

What are our sources, where did we find this stuff?

https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/white-seeber-grogan-the-remedy-chicks/ten-simple-natural-ways-to-boost-immune-system/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/immune-system
www.mayoclinic.org › expert-answers › lack-of-sleep › faq-20057757
Research on weight and immunity, published April 7 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism
Cell, a Cell Press publication, on October 13th, 2011

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