Immune System Boosting Foods
If you are looking at the potential of food to boost your immune system, you are looking in the right direction. Scientific studies of the human gut and all of its bacterial flora have been increasing. Your body is made up of about a trillion cells. The bacteria in your digestive tract number ten times that amount. Some are good, some are not so good, and some are bad. They work synergistically to digest your food for your body to be able to absorb the nutrients it needs to live. Eat the wrong foods, and the balance gets thrown off, which can have an enormous impact on your immune system. Here are five foods to help you strengthen your immune system.
Yogurt and yogurt drinks are at the top of the list. However, all those pretty little yogurt containers on store shelves are not equal. Most contain gelatins as thickeners, which are beef or pork derived and are not needed. Also, most yogurts are candified with tons of sugar, artificial sweeteners, literal candy chunks or pieces, caramel, chocolate or sweetened fruits. Plus, most yogurt is made from non-organic milk sources.
Look at the labels and choose an organic yogurt made from low-fat or nonfat milk to reduce the caloric load. Some candified yogurts are over 200 calories per cup. Plain or natural vanilla flavored yogurts are usually the lowest in calories. Kefir (pronounced kee-fur) is a fermented milk beverage that contains multiple strains of good bacteria. It is a drinkable yogurt that has a slight effervescence, making it truly unique.
Antioxidants work against oxidation. Rust is a slow form of oxidation. Fire is a rapid form of oxidation. You want to minimize oxidative stress in your body’s cells caused by free radicals. The term is just referring to a lost electron on the atomic level in your cells. When it happens, nearby cells can be damaged in a chain reaction. Available antioxidants keep free radical damage in check. To do that, natural food items that contain antioxidants help keep your body supplied. The blue in blueberries gives them a powerful effect on your body once the nutrients are digested and absorbed.
It works because it is fermented. However, some commercial preparations of it contain too much sugar and other things that are not supposed to be there. Sauerkraut has fiber and an abundance of vitamin C, and it also helps you to establish good bacterial flora in your gut, which is directly related to immune health. Having an imbalance of your gut flora knocks your entire immune system out of whack. If your gut has a predominance of bad bacteria, this can lead to inflammation and occupies your immune system, trying to fix your gut. Plus, when your gut flora is off, you do not digest nutrients you need for a healthy immune system as well.
Cinnamon works to help your immune system because it functions as an antimicrobial agent. However, get the Cinnamomum verum variety of cinnamon from the region of Ceylon. You may see it advertised as Ceylon cinnamon. The other cinnamon types will be labeled as Cassia. They both are cinnamon, but they are sourced from different types of trees. Ceylon cinnamon has only a tiny amount of coumarin in it. If you are going to use cinnamon for the long haul, you want to consume less coumarin because it can cause liver damage in high enough doses. Different foods contain coumarin, so controlling intake of it is wise.
The pasteurized variety of honey may not have any health benefits at all. Pure natural honey that is not pasteurized is often available from local bee keepers and health food stores. Honey that is 5,000 years old has been found in Egyptian tombs and is still edible. If you have allergies to local pollens, eating local honey may help boost your immunity. Local honey contains local pollen. Unfiltered raw honey has even more. Honey has antibacterial properties to the degree it is even used as a wound dressing today. However, do not give honey to a child less than a year old due to the risk of botulism spores that cause severe illness. Children under one year of age do not have sufficiently developed immune systems to handle honey.
This is only the beginning of the list of foods that can boost your immune system. These foods should be part of an overall healthy diet. A health diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetable and other quality minimally processed foods. Do not get stuck just eating the same things all of the time. Mix up the healthy food intake to keep your body fortified with all the vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and amino acids it needs to thrive.