Foods and Drinks to Boost Your Immune System

Have you ever thought what “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” really means?  The implication is that an apple is a prime ingredient to a healthy immune system.  The best way to beat back a cold or another virus that will attempt to beat through your immune system to make you ill is to eat an apple.  Although the government doesn’t recognize that an apple a day will satisfy requirements for vegetables and fruits in the course of a day, it certainly can’t do any harm.  If one apple won’t stop the bad germs, what can help turn back germs and other potential issues with your immune system?

Yogurt

It is probably an exercise in frustration to watch television for an evening without hearing the word “probiotics”.  Probiotics are healthy bacteria that really do work to keep a person’s intestinal tract free from disease causing germs.   Seven ounces of yogurt a day provides the probiotics a body needs so it can help stimulate white blood cells and strengthen the immune system.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup isn’t just for the soul, but it is also a way to keep inflamed white blood cells from migrating to the bronchial tubes which is where a cold begins its life.  It appears that the amino acid cysteine, which is released from the chicken while it is being cooked, chemically mimics or maybe even becomes a common bronchitis drug, acetylcysteine.  The best news for people worried they would grow tired of chicken soup if required to eat a bowl a day during cold season is that eating a bowl of soup at the onset of a cold is often enough to stop it from developing.

Garlic

If chicken soup isn’t your favorite, then try something with more flavors, garlic and onion.  Garlic and onions can be added to nearly any other food and not only will they add flavor, but these flavorful healers that contain antiseptic and immunity building compounds.  Garlic is also useful in opening clogged sinuses.  Who needs a kiss if you can make your body healthier?

Mushrooms

Do you like shitake, maitake, and /or reishi mushrooms?  If you do, then you will be in good position to beat of infection thanks to mushrooms production of cytokines, and thanks to polysaccharides which help protect the immune systems, mushrooms also help prevent colds and the flu.  Other mushrooms can help your immune system, but these three will fight the strongest to keep the bad germs out.

Tea

It seems that you have to drink green tea to boost your immune system, right?  No, black tea can also help because both teas are filled with flavonoids which are antioxidants that can help thin mucus and keep a body hydrated when suffering from a cold, or especially the flu. Tea also helps sooth a sore throat if you already feel ill.

Beef

For the carnivores out there, it is good to know that beef can help prevent zinc deficiencies, which is one of the most common problems with American diets.  Not just vegetarians suffer from zinc deficiencies either, but sometimes people who have merely cut back on beef suffer from zinc deficiency, and this deficiency can damage your immune system, opening the door to viruses.  However, before everyone runs out and orders a 16 ounce rib eye, the optimal serving is three to six ounces of beef a day.  Oysters, some cereals, pork, poultry, yogurt, and milk also provide needed zinc.

Sweet Potatoes

The initial defense against viruses is the skin.  One vitamin that is great at protecting the skin so that it can battle those viruses and bad bacteria is vitamin A which is found after sweet potatoes enter your body where they are turned from beta-carotene into vitamin A.   Other orange foods also provide the body with much needed beta-carotene: carrots, squash, canned pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

Honey

For centuries, honey has been believed to have medicinal properties, and it turns out those people from days gone by were right.  Honey coats an irritated throat.  Honey has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which are used to fight infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungi.  Buckwheat honey is better for someone who is ailing than the more common clover honey.

Oats and Barley

Finally, that government food pyramid suggests eating one to three servings of whole grains.  If you do that, you will be eating beta-glucan, which is a fiber that has antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities which are more potent than Echinacea.  In humans, eating three servings of oats and barley can boost immunity, help wounds heal faster, and some believe they assist antibiotics in healing faster.

The immune system is something that is easy to ignore, or at least forget about until something is wrong with it.  The best way to strengthen your immune system is to make eating healthy something that you do on a regular basis.  There are some things you can eat or drink that will help you recover faster, but the best cold or flu is the cold or flu that you don’t get.