Foods For Immune System: Eat Your Way To Better Health

Certain foods contain antioxidants and serve as immune system boosters. These foods are primarily fruits and vegetables, which contain various disease-fighting and life-prolonging nutrients, although some fruits and vegetables contain more antioxidants than others.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which are atoms with an unpaired electron. Electrons are paired in an atom when the number of protons having a positive charge, matches with the number of electrons with a negative charge. When the atom has a positive or negative charge, it will look for other atoms to steal or share the missing electron to make up for the presence of an unpaired electron.

If free radicals steal an electron from another molecule, it causes the molecule to search for the missing electron, which can damage the cell and other cells in the process. The antioxidants present in fruits and vegetables fight the damage caused by free radicals by supplying them with the missing electrons, thus preventing cell damage from this type of cellular interaction. Free radicals occur naturally within the body, but they can also be produced by external factors such as pollution, X-rays, sunlight, smoking, and drug use.

Foods to strengthen the immune system

Some of the most common antioxidants and immune boosters are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and flavonoids. The body also produces enzymes or proteins that create chemical reactions acting as antioxidants.

• Carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peaches, and mangoes are common foods with vitamin A.

• Citrus fruits, green peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, strawberries, and blueberries are rich in vitamin C.

• Nuts, whole grains, seeds, Kiwis, and vegetable oil are common foods with vitamin E.

• Foods rich in selenium include nuts, seeds, red meat, and fish.

• Foods that contain flavonoids include apples, berries, beans, nuts, and onions.

Many foods, especially fruits and vegetables, contain multiple antioxidants. Dark green vegetables are among the best foods for strengthening the immune system, and some researchers believe they prevent cancer.

Other immune system boosters

• Probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that protect the digestive system from harmful bacteria and the diseases they can cause, also strengthen the immune system. They are found in yogurts and are sold as supplements. They are often recommended to treat digestive system conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.

• Garlic, which contains the natural chemical allicin, can reduce your chances of catching a cold by more than 50%. A study of 146 volunteers conducted by the Garlic Center in the UK found that volunteers who took Allimax, a supplement containing allicin, had 24 percent cold compared to 65 percent experienced in the placebo group.

Given the enormous costs of common cold to national economies, as they are among the main reasons for employee absence, populations that consume more garlic can potentially save individuals and businesses significant amounts of money and may even improve.

The foods listed above are just a few of those that promot more excellent health and strengthen the immune system.