What is an immune system?
The immune system is the body’s natural defense system that helps fight infections. The immune system is made up of antibodies, white blood cells, and other chemicals and proteins that attack and destroy substances such as bacteria and viruses that they recognize as foreign and different from the body’s normal healthy tissues. In other words, it’s the kick ass system our bodies have in place to keep you healthy and without illness.
The foods you choose to eat can play a major role in how well your immune system functions.
Here are some foods to help boost your immunity.
- Sweet Potatoes
These delicious vegetables are very high in Vitamin A which is known to play a crucial role in skin health. You may not think of skin as part of your immune system. But this massive organ serves as a first-line fortress against bacteria, viruses, and other undesirables. One of the best ways to get vitamin A into your diet is from foods containing beta-carotene (like sweet potatoes), which your body turns into vitamin A.
In fact not consuming enough foods rich in vitamin A can lead to a deficiency, which studies link to a weaker immune system and a higher sensitivity to infections.
Besides sweet potatoes, other foods that are high in vitamin A include carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, dark-green leafy vegetables, squash, romaine lettuce, dried apricots, red peppers, fish and organ meats.
- Probiotic-Rich Foods
Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy and can help strengthen your immune system. This may reduce the likelihood and severity of your symptoms and help you recover faster when you do fall ill.
Studies also show that when people do get sick, those who regularly consume probiotics less likely to need antibiotics. In certain cases, regularly consuming probiotics may also lead to a faster recovery from illness.
Great sources of probiotics include sauerkraut, naturally fermented pickles, kimchi, tempeh, miso, natto and kombucha.
Garlic contains an active compound, allicin, which may help reduce your risk of infection
It’s been show to improve your immune cells’ ability to fight off colds and has antimicrobial and antiviral properties that may help it fight bacterial and viral infections.
Consuming two to three cloves of fresh garlic per day may help boost your immune system. Garlic seems particularly effective at reducing the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu.
Berries are a rich source of polyphenols, a group of beneficial plant compounds with antimicrobial properties.
These tasty treats and their polyphenols have the ability to protect against the influenza virus responsible for the flu and may even offer some defense against Staphylococcus, E. coli and Salmonella infections.
Berries also contain good amounts of vitamin C, which adds to their immune-boosting properties.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains lauric acid a medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) known for its antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid, which is converted into a substance known as monolaurin during digestion both have the ability to kill harmful viruses, bacteria and fungi (43).
One study suggests that coconut fats may help fight off the types of bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, sinusitis, dental cavities, food poisoning and urinary tract infections.
You can easily add coconut oil to your diet by using it instead of butter or vegetable oils in cooking or baking.
On top of these 5 foods, making sure you get enough H2O, sleep and exercise will also play a major role in your immune system and its ability to fight off illnesses.
Live longer, healthier and happier