Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your safe system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Plan your meals to include these 15 powerful immune system boosters.
How can you improve your immune system? On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?
Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body immune cells or others is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who engage in “blood doping” — pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance — run the risk of strokes.
Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. Which cells should you boost, and to what number? So far, scientists do not know the answer. What is known is that the body is continually generating immune cells. Certainly, it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis — some before they see any action, some after the battle is won. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.
Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. A wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress. Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between stress and immune function.
For one thing, stress is difficult to define. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another. When people are exposed to conditions they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person’s subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate. The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors.
For the next few weeks, ditch the wine, beer and cocktails. Instead, brew up hot tea drinks made with immune-boosting herbs like andrographis, elderberry, and astragalus. Add bone broth to your repertoire as well. Broths made from healthy, grass-fed animals deliver amino acids like arginine, glutamine and glycine — all of which are excellent immunity reinforcements.
Ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, thyme and cayenne pepper — load them on! Not only will they add considerably more flavor to everything you eat, but they also provide powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antiviral benefits. Plus, they aid in digestion.