Your immune system is an elaborate defence mechanism and needs to be in top form to fight off daily attacks by bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses and other pathogens.
Your first line of defence is your skin which acts as an antibacterial barrier. Your tears and mucus trap and kill any bacteria entering through your eyes or nose and if a bug makes it to your stomach, acids will deal with it.
If anything makes it past these initial defences, your immune system launches into full attack mode. Millions of immune cells replicate and swarm the invader, able to analyze the situation and communicate the required plan of attack with other immune cells.
In order for your amazing immune system to perform, it requires nutrients and antioxidants which is why malnutrition is one of the most common causes of immunodeficiency in the world. While it's important to eat right, exercise and get the proper amount of rest, certain foods are seen as immune system boosters. These aren't specialty foods from a health food boutique. These are just 10 of the common food suggestions that are readily available at your local grocer:
1. Brightly Coloured Vegetables: Bright yellow, green and orange vegetables have the highest amounts of antioxidants such as beta carotenes.
2. Green Tea: Contains the powerful antioxidant, Catechin. Research indicates catechins may help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological disorders. Another possible upside - they may help you lose weight.
3. Garlic: Not just for vampires, garlic produces potent antioxidants to ward off invading germs.
4. Yogurt: Contains essential probiotics or “good” bacteria that keeps bad bacteria in check. Probiotics help support your digestive system and overall health.
5. Fish: Tuna, mackerel and salmon are a great source of Omega 3 fats. It is essential to consume this fat as the human body cannot create Omega 3 fats. These fats have shown to combat heart disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, ADHD and even dementia. These fats are also important for visual and neurological development in infants.
6. Sweet Potato: Vitamin A improves the mucus membranes in your nose and throat.
7. Nuts: Loaded in valuable antioxidants, vitamins and zinc.
8. Berries: Delivering a big dose of Vitamin C, dark berries also contain antioxidants.
9. Mushrooms: They can help increase cytokines, the cells that fight off infections.
10. Soup: Chicken Noodle Soup with vegetables contain zinc, iron and vitamins. The broth also helps with mucus secretion.
Don't wait until you feel something coming on before reaching for these powerful, preventative foods. Add them to your daily diet and give your immune system the added boost it needs.