Watching the ten o'clock news each day, you might not realize how important nutrition and food are for the immune system.
Reports on the latest findings are typically relegated to the end of the news broadcast and never spoken of again.
But according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, food and nutrition-based strategies are essential for priming the body to fight infection and disease in the best way possible.
"A balanced diet consisting of a range of vitamins and minerals, combined with healthy lifestyle factors like adequate sleep and exercise and low stress, most effectively primes the body to fight infection and disease," the school wrote on its website.
Before we get into the ways to boost the immune system, first we need to be aware of what factors suppress our immune system functions.
Factors That Depress Our Immune Systems
Over time, various factors can cause immunity to wane, including the following.
Old Age: Over time, our internal organs may become bogged down by toxins and become less efficient, our bone marrow may produce less immune cells, and micronutrient deficiencies may arise.
Weight Gain: Inflammation can result from the production of adipocytokines, which are substances produced by fat cells in the body.
Poor Diet: Malnutrition and a diet lacking in essential nutrients can impair the production of healthy immune cells and antibodies.
Stress: Stress creates a hormone in your body called cortisol, which can suppress your immune system's ability to fight off invaders by interfering with white blood cell communication and lowering the number of "natural killer cells" that fight off invaders.
Poor Sleep: Without enough high-quality sleep, your body produces fewer cytokines (a type of protein) to fight infections and signal immune cells.
Boosting the Immune System with Targeted Nutrition
As mentioned above, nutrition is quintessential for boosting and fortifying the immune system, so your body is ready when invaders enter the picture.
Recently, Medical News Today released its list of the top 15 foods that help support the immune system.
Foods to remember include the following:
Blueberries- Blueberries are excellent for strengthening the respiratory system against outside attacks. They contain flavonoids, essential antioxidants for respiratory health.
Turmeric- A golden yellow spice typically found in Indian cuisine, turmeric and its main health-boosting component curcumin have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Broccoli- This cruciferous vegetable supports liver detoxification and the immune system, among other body systems. The antioxidant sulforaphane helps to scavenge disease-causing free radicals.
Kefir- A fermented drink typically made from either milk or grains, kefir fights bacteria, reduces inflammation, and increases antioxidant activity in the body, making it a superstar for immune health.
Oranges and Kiwi Fruit- Both are excellent sources of Vitamin C, which helps reduce the duration of colds, repair bodily tissues, and improve the immune system's function.
Other Potent Nutrients for Immunity Include:
Dark Cherry Juice- The dark red color of cherry juice is an indicator of its antioxidant-rich nutrient profile.
Dark cherry juice helps relax muscles, reduces inflammation, and scavenges free radicals in the body. In addition, it aids sleep by increasing melatonin levels in the body and has antimicrobial effects.
Beta-Glucans- Beta-glucans are a type of fiber found in the cell walls of certain foods, including oats, mushrooms, seaweed, and algae.
These compounds are anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and immune system supporting.
Beta-glucans have the unique function of activating immune cells during times when they would otherwise become dormant.
Echinacea- This cone-shaped flower is an immune-building powerhouse with comprehensive health benefits.
Echinacea shortens the length of both colds and flu, combats anxiety, stabilizes blood sugar, and reduces sickness symptoms, including sore throat, fever, cough, and more.
Taking Echinacea as a preventative measure and as a healing agent after contracting a cold or flu is recommended.
Echinacea is also found in Immune Super Boost.
Elderberry Fruit Extract- This potent antiviral remedy is typically found in wooded areas, along roadways, in low forests and fields, or on lakes and pond shores.
Elderberry goes to work by directly inhibiting virus entry and replication in human cells.
Citrus Pectin- Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are highly alkalizing and full of immune-supporting vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C.
Citrus fruits also contain a type of fiber called citrus pectin that can help lower cholesterol.
This pectin can bind to small particles and remove them from the body in ways other types of fiber cannot, making it a powerful internal cleanser.
Garlic- Garlic is an antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, and anti-septic food that boosts the immune system and helps fight infections.
Aronia Berry- An exotic and rarely consumed dark purple berry, Aronia has one of the highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values of any berry or food.
Antioxidants from Aronia help protect your body against damage from free radicals, which may cause or contribute to disease.
Many of the incredible healing properties of Aronia are still being discovered.
It has been shown to strengthen and support the immune system by exhibiting solid antibacterial activity against harmful bacteria Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus.
With a combination of foods and supplements, boosting your immune system with targeted nutrition has never been easier.
Immune Super Boost by Healthycell supports a resilient, efficient immune system with ingredients like Echinacea and Elderberry and Vitamins and Minerals to improve white blood cell count, activate immune cells, and support a healthy immune response. Get yours here.