Really excited to release this post which looks at the immune system, nutrition, and the relationship between them and to provide a selection of immune-boosting recipes that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. So let’s get started.

The main function of your immune system is to protect your body from foreign invasions such as bacteria and viruses. So obviously what you put into your body will impair or nourish your entire system. But let’s take a closer look at the relationship and discover what types of food will boost our entire system.

What Is the Immune System?

The immune system is a highly sophisticated system made up of skin, white blood cells, mucus and bacteria. Its pivotal role is to identify and destroy foreigners such as bacteria and viruses that invade the body.

There Are Two Main Layers of Immunity:

  1. Innate Immunity System

The first layer is called the innate immune system. This layer offers a quick first line of defense and responds to a wide range of invaders. The innate immunity layer provides a nonspecific defense mechanism that is activated immediately or within hours of an invader’s appearance in the body.

The chemical properties of the invader activate the innate immune response. This involves physical barriers such as skin, substances in the blood, and immune cells that attack the invading cells in the body.

  • Adaptive Immune System

The second main layer of immunity is called the adaptive immune system. This layer provides an invader-specific immune response. The adaptive immune response offers a more sophisticated response than the innate layer. The invader first must be processed and recognized. Once an invader is identified, the adaptive immune system produces a squad of immune cells specifically designed to attack that invader. Adaptive immunity is also equipped with “memory” that makes future responses against a specific invader more efficient.

Keywords explained:

  • Invader – Anything that produces an immune response is called an invader. An invader can be relatively harmless, such as grass pollen, or harmful, like the flu.

How to Support Your Immune System

how to support your immune system

For the immune system to function well, it requires balance. Researchers are still investigating the effects of diet on the immune response.

Healthy living is the best approach you can take toward keeping your immune system working effectively. Every system in your body, including the immune system, performs better when following balanced and healthy tactics such as these:

  • Eating a whole food diet with plenty of fruit and veg
  • Exercising
  • Staying hydrated
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Reducing or eliminating stress
  • Moderating alcohol consumption
  • Eliminating smoking

Diet & Your Immune System

There is evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies (think vitamins and minerals) could alter immune responses. However, the impact of these immune system changes on health is less clear.

If you suspect you have micronutrient deficiencies, eat a varied diet with ample amounts of fruit and vegetables or support yourself with a good quality multivitamin.

(Read the information below to find out which are the best immunity-boosting fruit and vegetables and how to incorporate them into your diet.)

. #1 Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of viral infections, such as respiratory infections, as it inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory compounds..

The body manufactures vitamin D from cholesterol, provided there is an adequate amount of UV light from sun exposure. For supplement dosage please refer to your medical practitioner or pharmacist.

#2. Vitamin C

Vitamins C  is an antioxidant that helps to support the body’s natural immune response.

and destroy free radicals.

Vitamin C Sources:

  • red bell peppers
  • oranges
  • strawberries
  • broccoli
  • lemons

Vitamin C Supplementation:

Vitamin C is often supplemented to reduce the symptoms of common colds. Supplementing vitamin C can reduce the time period of a cold by up to 14%, when it is taken daily as a  preventative measure, or at the start of a cold.

#3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that helps to support the body’s natural immune response and destroy free radicals.

Vitamin E Sources:

  • almonds
  • spinach
  • avocado
  • olives

Vitamin E Supplementation:

Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin E in the body can be achieved through diet making supplementation unnecessary in many cases.

#4. Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant that boosts immunity and reduces inflammation by increasing immune cells in the body.

Sources:

  • sweet potatoes
  • carrots
  • green leafy vegetables

#5. Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that can help boost immune cells.

Sources:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • beans
  • lentils

For supplementation, please refer to your medical practitioner or pharmacist.

#6. Allicin

Allicin is a compound present in garlic. When garlic is crushed or chopped, the enzyme alliinase is activated, and allicin is produced. When cooking with garlic, it is recommended to crush or chop it and leave it for 10 mins to allow the enzyme to be activated.

The benefits of garlic to health have been championed for centuries; however, only recently, it’s been proposed as a promising front-runner for maintaining a healthy immune system.

For supplementation, please refer to your medical practitioner or pharmacist. The effective minimum dose for raw garlic is a single clove, eaten with meals up to three times a day.

#7. Astragalus

Astragalus is an important herb in traditional Chinese medicine. This Chinese herb has been investigated and researched for, anti-inflammatory effects, endurance effects, and the protection it offers the cardiac system. Again, for supplementation please refer to your qualified practitioner.

As promised here is the link to our collection of immune-boosting recipes.