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Let’s take a look at what foods and nutrients you should be consuming in order to keep your immunity strong – and which ones you should be avoiding.
Vitamin C seems like a classic when it comes to boosting the immune system; whenever you feel a cold coming on, reaching for something heavy in vitamin C like citrus fruit, is a familiar move. This is because vitamin C is key in the growth and repair of our cells – something that is essential to wound healing. Furthermore, as an antioxidant there is a belief that it will shorten the duration of a cold and other infections by attacking free radicals within the body.
A key player in the production of certain immunity cells, zinc therefore plays an important role in helping fighting infections and healing wounds. While there is little evidence that extra zinc will provide you with a stronger immune system, it is important that you do not have a deficiency which can be common in developing countries.
This one might come as a bit of a surprise, but garlic is actually considered a pretty big player in the immunity boosting game. It comes down to the existence of “alliin” in garlic, which turns into “allicin” which has been linked to increased immune properties. Some studies even suggest that a regular consumption will lead to a decreased risk of contracting the common cold and slowing the symptoms. Most claim the garlic should be cut, chewed or crushed to get the maximum effects.
Formerly Omega-3’s biggest claim to fame was their ability to reduce inflammation, however recent studies have suggested that they may also play a role in our immunity by enhancing white blood cells known as “B cells”.
Another antioxidant packed spice, ginger is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown in studies to have some help with rheumatoid arthritis and even asthma. Yet, ginger is perhaps best known for its stomach soothing properties, being a tried and true companion to anyone suffering from nausea or even bloating.
It’s something that we’ve repeated time and time again, but that’s because its one of the most important considerations when it come to our health. We honestly cannot emphasize enough how important it is to stay hydrated; not only is water essential to the over all function of our body, but it is a natural means for flushing toxins out of our system. So, keep knocking them back.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant packed vitamin that plays a vital role in ensuring that you have a strong and healthy immune system. While there is little evidence that supplementing with vitamin E will aid with pre-existing conditions, it is known that being deficient in it will alter the function of your immune system. The good news is that vitamin E is a common vitamin, and deficiencies in it are quite rare!
Things to Avoid:
This is a pretty common-sense category. Your main focus should simply be on making healthy choices. You want to take care of your diet, don’t smoke, limit your alcohol and watch your sugar consumption. There is some evidence that consuming large amounts of sugar lowers your immune function for several hours following.
In the end, when it comes to the immunity game, it’s less of a question of how to make your immune system stronger, and more about ensuring that you keep it strong. The good news is, the method of doing this is the same method as how to keep yourself healthy overall – eat a good balanced diet, and don’t over indulge in the things that are bad for you. If you practice a little bit of common sense when it comes to what you eat and how you exercise, then your immune system is likely already good to go! As with everything it’s just a matter of taking care of yourself. If you’re already fight, you’re already fighting.