At any time of year, if your immune system is low, the effects you may experience include colds and other viral infections, sore throat, enlarged lymph glands, digestive problems, fatigue or lethargy, allergies. And even though it’s true that we can’t really help but be exposed to airborne viruses or pollution and other harmful environmental factors, we can always take steps to help our natural defenses stay strong enough to see off all opposition. And like most other things, a healthy immune system starts with good nutrition. .
So here is my list of yummies to help you on your way to a strong immune system:
Fruit and vegetables – we all know how important these are as part of our diet, largely because they are full of anti-oxidants which we need to strengthen immunity. The body needs a constant supply of anti-oxidants from food in order to fight free radicals, chemicals the body produces during metabolic activity and defense against viruses and bacteria. Free radicals can cause infection and even contribute to the growth of cancer cells. A wide variety of fruit and vegetables in the diet is an excellent source of anti-oxidants, and there are plenty of supplements available too if you feel you need an extra boost. It was recently reported that drinking two cups of black tea a day provides the same anti-oxidant benefit as five servings of fruit and vegetables – good news for those of us who love our cuppa!
Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, taken in warm water once or twice a day will maintain the body’s correct PH balance, which in turn will support beneficial bacteria in the system. Harmful bacteria multiply in a more acidic environment.
Protein, whether from animal or non-animal sources, is necessary to maintain immunity. A high carbohydrate diet that is deficient in protein places unnecessary stress on the pancreas and immune system.
Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are not the best, as they prevent our defensive cells from functioning at full efficiency. Consume these in moderation…
Omega-3 oils, from oily fish or flaxseeds, help to prevent inflammation, which may otherwise distract our defensive cells from fighting free radicals.
Garlic is highly beneficial. Crushed, raw garlic stimulates white cell activity and increases the production of antibodies. Although not quite as effective as fresh garlic, supplements also supply an immunity boost.
Water is life, and a healthy gut is essential for a strong immune system. Not drinking enough water can cause constipation which allows toxins to build up and attack our defenses. The liver, kidneys and spleen, which work to eliminate toxins, all need water to do their job, so make sure to drink your eight glasses a day.
Strong immunity involves all aspects of the self: the balance of physical, mental and emotional factors is needed to ensure our immune system works as hard as it can to protect us from harm. So there you have it!