With Swine Flu spreading across the UK and people becoming sick in vast numbers everyone should be looking to their diet for ways in which they can boost their immune system to fight off and even avoid this pandemic virus.
Our immune systems are better equipped to fight off disease and infection when healthy and strong as well as helping to ensure we aren’t susceptible to them in the first place. When our immune systems are weak we are vulnerable to all manner of illnesses.
Many people think of cleanliness first, when it comes to avoiding disease and infection and indeed government guidelines on avoiding swine flu are to use handkerchiefs when sneezing, wash hands and so on. What they should also acknowledge is the vital role food plays in keeping us healthy.
If we have a strong immune system through eating immune boosting foods we increase our chances of recovering from a wide variety of illnesses.
There are many immune boosting foods and supplements that will greatly enhance our recovery rate from illness as well our ability to avoid it in the first place. Here is a list of immune boosting foods and supplements that will help keep your mind and body healthy.
The body is made up of 65-75 % water and so it makes sense that we need to drink water to maintain healthy body functions. Sources reveal that we should drink at least 6-8 glasses of water daily to replace lost electrolytes and metabolic waste fluid. To obtain the maximum benefits from water it should be taken plain or carbonated and not mixed with sugars or milk as they increase our need for water as oppose to lessening it.
Vitamin C is known for its powerful antioxidant properties. It protects us against infection and greatly enhances our immune system. It works by increasing the production of white blood cells and antibodies which help protect us from infection.
Foods rich in Vitamin C include:
Oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapple and surprisingly potatoes. Vitamin C can also be bought in supplement form both as a tablet, capsule or Vitamin C powder.
Raw Fruit and vegetables
Eating raw fruit and vegetables helps maintain our immune system which is why we are now advised to eat 5 portions of fruit/vegetables daily. Raw is preferable to cooked as the cooking process can reduce the immune boosting properties of the food.
Many of us are familiar with Omega 3 in regard to brain function and enhancing memory, attention, concentration etc. In addition to this and its apparent positive effects on mood it also enhances our immune system. Omega 3 fats work by increasing the activity of phagocytes. These are the white blood cells that consume bacteria.
Omega 3 fats can be found in fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel as well as nuts, seeds and omega 3 eggs.
Garlic is well known for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. If you don’t enjoy the taste of garlic in food or are worried about the smell, you can now buy odourless garlic capsules.
Immune system lowering foods
Foods to avoid are those containing Refined White Sugar.
Cutting back on refined white sugar will boost energy levels, reduce cravings, improve concentration and overall your immune system will improve.
We are more likely to catch colds and viruses if we live on a diet of junk food which has a high- fat, high sugar content.
Caffeine and smoking can also weaken the body’s immune system.