Supplemental Support for Your Immune System

An immune system is really an incredible machine with the ability to fend off germs and bacteria that can lead to disease. It’s the ability to function, however, is affected by many things like stress, physical fitness, sleep, and the foods you eat. Nutrient deficiencies have a major impact on your immune system’s ability to function.

Let’s take a look at the bigger picture of an immune-boosting diet; lean proteins, colorful fruits and vegetables, and a variety of whole grains and beans, as well as nuts and seeds. But certain nutrients are particularly helpful for boosting immunity.

Omega 3 fatty acids These fats which are found in some fish, certain plant foods (flaxseed, walnuts) may increase the activity of white blood cells which defend the body against infectious disease and foreign materials.  Omega 3’s have also been shown to suppress inflammation-another culprit when it comes to congestion and colds.

Vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and All three of these vitamins improve the production and function of white blood cells and protect immune cells from the damage of free radicals.  Beta-carotene (found in carrots, sweet potatoes) is important for the integrity of cells in the skin, lungs, mouth, nose and digestive tract – the healthier these cells, the better the barrier they form against bacteria and viruses.

Zinc. Zinc is a trace element essential for cells of the immune system, and zinc deficiency affects the ability of T cells and other immune cells to function as they should. Caution: While it’s important to have sufficient zinc in your diet (15–25 mg per day), too much zinc can inhibit the function of the immune system.

Garlic may have some infection-fighting capability. In laboratory tests, researchers have seen garlic work against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. One 2006 study that looked at rates for certain cancers and garlic and onion consumption in southern European populations found an association between the frequency of use of garlic and onions and a lower risk of some common cancers.

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