Boost your Immune System

IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS

 No matter how we try to avoid them it is inevitable that we are being exposed to germs. Fortunately for most of us, our immune system is constantly working to do battle with bugs.

Our immune system is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs which defend us against germs and microorganisms every day. In most cases, the immune system does a great job of keeping people healthy and preventing infections. But sometimes when we’re stressed or run down or with change of seasons the immune system doesn’t function as well as it should and we get ill.

Luckily nature is able to give our immune systems a helping hand. I have brought together a list of foods and herbs that will help support and stimulate your immune system .

FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN C – Vitamin C increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies and increases levels of interferon, the protein that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Many fruits and vegetable are rich in vitamin C. However, much of this is lost in the cooking process. Where possible eat vitamin C rich food raw or minimally cooked (e.g. stir-fry or lightly steamed). The best sources of vitamin C are:

Blackcurrants,  Guava, Strawberry, Lemon, Orange, Kiwi, Fruit, Clementine, Grapefruit, Raspberry, Lychees, Nectarines, Peaches, Mangoes, Peppers, Spring greens, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, Curly Kale, Mange-tout

FOODS RICH IN ZINC – This valuable mineral increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It also increases killer cells that fight against cancer and helps white cells release more antibodies. Rich sources of zinc include:

Oysters,  Shellfish ,Poultry ,Game ,Lean red meat (1x week),Pine Nuts ,Pecan Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds ,Sesame Seed ,Green Peas ,Yogurt

FOODS RICH IN VITAMIN E Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells, those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. Vitamin E enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. Vitamin E rich foods include:

Sunflower Seeds ,Almonds, Hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, Pine nuts, Avocado, Turnip greens, Tomato paste

Cold pressed vegetable oils are also an excellent source. Just make sure you don’t heat them up! Add to salads or drizzle over vegetable just before serving.

FOODS RICH IN BETA-CAROTENE – Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals that accelerate aging. Beta-carotene is abundant in yellow, orange, green and red fruits and vegetables.

Sweet Potatoes ,Carrots ,Peppers, Mango, Kale, Spinach ,Turnip greens ,Winter squash, Collard greens, Cilantro ,Fresh thyme, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Romaine lettuce,  Broccoli ,String beans

FOODS RICH IN SELENIUM – This mineral increases natural killer cells and mobilizes cancer-fighting cells. Best food sources of selenium are:

Tuna, Red snapper, Shrimp, Egg yolks ,Cottage cheese ,Chicken ,Sunflower seeds ,Brazil nuts

There are also a number of foods with special immune boosting properties. These include:

Berries –Black Elderberries –Broccoli Sprouts – Garlic –Ginger –Green Tea –Lemons –Medicinal Mushrooms – Natural Probiotic Yogurt –Onions – Oregano – Turmeric

IMMUNE BOOSTER SMOOTHIE

  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach and kale , packed tightly
  • 1 1/2 cups almond/oat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mix of mango, pineapple, and kiwi chunks
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Banana
  • Manuka Honey
  • Echineacha / Reishi /Shiitake Mushroom powder

Pick one or two of the above foods that you dont have in your diet at the moment and introduce a couple of new ones every few weeks…

Enjoy ! Niamh xx

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