We are exposed to viruses, bacteria, carcinogens, allergens, environmental toxins and more every single day of our lives.. We are surrounded by billions of bacteria and viruses and despite this fact, the human body is very adept at repairing itself..that is what it is designed to do. The immune system can mount a variety of responses to attack specific invader organisms and it is usually successful. There are, however, times in which we need even more protection from these pathogens.
A healthy immune system is your best defense against these invaders. Your diet has everything to do with an immune system that functions optimally. Superfoods, because they are so nutrient dense, are much like insurance. Superfoods are whole foods that have not been refined or processed. By incorporating these whole foods into your diet, you are ensuring protective optimum health. Choosing certain foods, primarily for protection, is the way to go. Here is your list of the Top 10 Super Immunity Boosters:
1. Goji Berries
Gogi berries contain certain compounds known as polysaccharides. The polysaccharides in the Goji berrie have a chemical structure similar to that of the maitake mushroom, long known for it’s ability to boost immune function. The berries are also a rich source of vitamin C and zinc. These two antioxidant vitamins are both critical in protection against pathogens. Goji Berries also contain two key proteins that promote healthy immunity: L-arginine and L-glutamine.
There is a chemical present in broccoli called Sulphorafan that stimulates a wide range of antioxidant actions, thereby increasing immune function. One serving of broccoli also provides 10% of our daily vitamin C and vitamin A. Broccoli is also very high in vitamin C and vitamin E both of which boost immunity.
Spinach is a superfood for immunity due to its very high vitamin C and vitamin E content, along with many phytochemicals such as quercetin that boost your immunity. Polyphenolic phytochemicals such quercetin that is present in spinach, can significantly reduce infection, thereby boosting immune function.
Mushrooms have been used for centuries for healing. Modern research has now discovered why. Studies show that mushrooms increase the production, activity and aggressiveness of white blood cells that fight infection. This is due to the Alpha and Beta Glucan inherent in mushrooms. The beta-glucans have been found to activate the production of immune cells including the T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells which can fight against bacterial, viral infection and even cancer. The most potent mushrooms for immune protection are Shitake, Reishi and Maitake mushrooms.
5. Red Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are dense in nutrients and high in phytochemicals as well as beta carotene and vitamin C – all which protect and enhance the immune system. Red bell peppers are also one of the few vegetable sources that provide vitamin E. They are also one of a few vegetables that have this powerful combination of vitamin C and vitamin E – critical immune boosting nutrients.
Yogurt is loaded with probiotics (beneficial bacteria). The probiotics in yogurt actually increase immune activity by actually ‘eating’ harmful bacteria. Probiotics also produce their own natural antibiotic effect to protect against invaders in the gastrointestinal tract.
Tomatoes exert their immunity powers through the lycopene and beta carotene that it contains. Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that protects our white blood cells. Beta Carotene is powerful as well and acts as an antioxidant that boosts the immune system. Beta carotene fights free-radicals that can do damage to cells and cell membranes thereby protecting the body.
Pumpkin is chock-full of carotenoids which ensures proper immune function. The beta carotene in pumpkin also strengthens cellular communication within the immune system. Pumpkin is also loaded with vitamin C that stimulates antibodies and immune system cells such as phagocytes and neutrofils.
9. Green Tea
Green Tea is high in plant antioxidants – catechins and polyphenols – that are powerful in protecting your health including EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) that can create a robust immune system. EGCG can help prevent the replication of viruses including those of the common cold and influenza.
10. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and cod are known to reduce inflammation in the body. Healthy fats are vital as they free-up your immune system through lowering inflammation to fight against those nasty bugs. Fatty fish also contains all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain a healthy immune system.