Our bodies are fair game to invaders like viruses, toxins, germs and infections from colds to cancers and even bees stings. So it’s with great relief that each one of us has a system within us designed to fight such attacks. Salute the immune system, a complex web of glands, bone marrow, white cells etc. So important is this system that keeping it healthy should be a priority for everyone.
The safest way to keep the immune system well is to develop a healthy lifestyle which includes eating a balanced diet of a large variety of fresh foods each with a multitude of nutrients. Here are 9 everyday foods with easy recipes which will help boost your immune system.
1. Lean Protein
Studies have shown that a lack of first class protein such as lean beef, chicken, turkey, eggs and fish (such as salmon) can result in a reduction of healthy immune cells,means your body is unable to make antibodies. The amino acid glutamine found in first class protein helps to build leucocytes the white blood cells (immune cells) found in the blood.
2. Beef, Spinach and Asparagus
Zinc is one of the most important micronutrients required by the body. The best foods to supply zinc are beef, spinach and asparagus, while quinoa, lentils, pumpkin seeds and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are certainly also worth consuming for their zinc content. A deficiency affects the ability of the immune cells to function properly and therefore increases vulnerability to a range of infections.
3. Cabbage, Spinach and Kale
Green leafy vegetables contain vitamin A which helps maintain the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts, both important defence lines in the prevention of diseases and part of the immune system.
Beans or legumes especially chickpeas and kidney beans are an excellent option both for vegetarian and non vegetarians who need to step up protein intake in order to keep the immune system healthy. Beans also contain the B Vitamin Folate which helps the manufacture of new immune cells.
Recipe: Mexican Chilli Bean Soup
Blueberries rich in antioxidants, eaten fresh or frozen help keep the immune system healthy ready to fight illnesses. Whilst the excellent measure of Vitamin C aids the efficiency of the white blood cells in their fight against infections etc. It is also an antioxidant, which means that it prevents the destruction of existing white blood cells.
Recipe: Frozen Blueberry Yoghurt
The antioxidants, Beta Carotene, Vitamins C and E, Zinc, and Selenium which help to repair damaged immune cells are all found in a serving of broccoli.
Recipe: Citrus Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry
Wholegrain oats stimulate immune cells to fight infections and in addition, oats contain zinc which helps to keep the immunity system in tip top condition. A bowl of porridge each.
Recipe: Warm Oats, Nut and Plum Crunch
Usually used as a garnish, parsley should play a bigger role in our diets as it contains a multitude of nutrients including Vitamin C, B12, K and A which all have a supporting role in keeping the immune system healthy
Recipe: Falafel and Sweet Pepper Salad
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil strengthens the immune system as it contains lauric acid, caprice acid and acrylic acid, fatty acids which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Each acid immediately triggers immune responses when the body is challenged by invaders whether fungal, bacterial or viral preventing unnecessary strain on the immune system.