Your immune system is your body’s defense against infections and other invaders. It is important to keep the immune system strong and functioning in order to decrease your risk of colds, flu, and infections. There are many foods that contain important nutrients, but there are some that have been shown to be extra beneficial for your immunity.
Guava: This fruit is the highest vitamin C containing fruit. Not only does vitamin C increase the amounts of infection fighting white blood cells, but it also increases the levels of interferon. Interferon is the antibody that coats cell surfaces in order to prevent virus entry. Other top vitamin C fruits are papaya, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, oranges, and grapefruit. Other benefits of vitamin C include increased “good” cholesterol and a decreased risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer.
Chamomile Tea: A recent study showed that people who drank five brewed cups of chamomile tea a day for two weeks increased the blood levels of polyphenols (a plant-based compound), some of which is associated with increased antibacterial activity. Also, this tea can act as a mild nerve relaxant and sedative.
Green Tea: This tea also contains a lot of polyphenols that act as antioxidants. Green tea also has many other benefits, including the benefits of EGCG, which as been shown to decrease the growth of cancer cells.
Oats: This food is the best source of beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are found in fiber, and it activates macrophages, which are white blood cells that fight against bacteria and viruses. Other high-fiber foods will work, but steel-cut oats are the best.
Garlic: Garlic stimulates the immune system and increases the efficiency of antibody production. It seems that the sulfur-containing compounds are the reasons for the immunity boost. Try consuming a few garlic cloves a week. If adding to cooked dishes, make sure to press or chop it up before adding it in order to activate the healthy chemicals. If eating a raw clove by itself, eat something else as well to avoid stomach irritation.
Whey Protein: Whey increases the levels of glutathione. Gluthathion is essential to a healthy immune system. It was shown that gluthathion levels were way below normal levels in people who had immune deficiencies. An easy way to consume whey is by yogurt. The clear liquid that forms on the top of stored yogurt is pure whey protein. Just stir it back in before eating. You could also try powdered whey protein isolate. It has a very high concentrate of the whey, though it is a lot more expensive.
Red Wine: Drinking any wine will do, but red wine is the most beneficial. Studies are suggesting that wine may help against food poisoning before it even occurs. The wine’s ethanol, organic acids and low pH seems to mix up the food’s pathogens (such as E. Coli, listeria, and salmonella) genetic material. Red wine is also good for the heart.
Butterbur: Studies are suggesting that this herbal supplement helps fight against allergies. A British Medical Journal study said that butterbur treated seasonal allergies almost as well as the prescription medication Zyrtec. Another study showed a 13 percent increase of nasal airflow after taking 50mg of butterbur compared to those who took placebos. Be sure to buy supplements that are certified and labeled “PA-free”. This herb has also been shown to relieve migraines.
Tomatoes: Researches think that the lycopene in tomatoes act as an antioxidant. A study showed that participants on a tomato diet sustained 38 percent less damage to their infection-fighting white blood cells then those while on a non-tomato diet.