6 Immune system-enhancing foods

The immune system is the body’s defence mechanism against all forms of infections. When the immune system is weakened, the body is more susceptible to infections. As such, it is important to make conscious efforts to maintain a healthy immune system. There are certain foods that boost the body’s immune system. The components of these foods enhance the ability of the body to ward off infections.


Yogurt is made from the fermentation of milk by certain types of bacteria that continue to multiply in the yogurt. Thus, yogurts contain live cultures otherwise known as probiotics. These organisms when taken in with yogurt build up the immune system by attaching to the gut of the wall. With the probiotics attached, other harmful organisms will find no place to attain on other gut wall and cause harm.


Citruses are well-known sources of vitamin C, and the major function of vitamin C is to fight off infections. Vitamin C helps to enhance the number of available white blood cells. White blood cells are the disease-fighting component of blood, and when they are increased, the body is better equipped to fight off infections. Regular intake of vitamin C is also necessary because the body neither produces nor stores it. Apart from citrus, other sources of vitamin C include vegetables such as spinach, bell pepper and pawpaw.


Leafy vegetables are sources of vitamin A. The vitamin A comes from the material that makes up the pigment of the leaves, carotenoid. Carotenoid is also an antioxidant and prevents the formation of reactive oxygen species which have been linked to several conditions including aging and cancer. The vitamin A produced from carotenoids also plays an important role in the formation of connective tissues.


Apart from the fact that this fruit is a source of vitamin C which fights off infections, its immune-system-enhancing ability is linked to its other components which include several vitamin Bs, folate and potassium. Pawpaw also contains papain, a digestive enzyme which has antiinflammatory effects and enhances the immune system.


Shellfish is another immune-system-enhancing food as it contains a lot of zinc. Zinc is essential for enhancing the body’s immune system. Zinc enhances the immune system by slowing down immune response and also because of its anti-inflammatory abilities. Other sources of zinc include meat, baked beans and yogurt.


Broccoli contains several components that enhance the immune system. These components include vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin C enhances the immune system by increasing the number of available white blood cells; vitamin A forms connective tissues which act as a barrier against harmful organisms, while vitamin E is essential for preventing oxidation. Brocolli also contains heme iron which is a component of the red blood cells. Although broccoli is still a vegetable, it was specifically mentioned because of its numerous abilities.

The incorporation of foods that enhance the immune system into one’s diet is an essential preventive measure against infections. However, these foods should be incorporated according to the required intake levels which are calculated daily.


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