Foods That Improve Your Immune System

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Foods That Improve Your Immune System via David Kinsella from Revolution Personal Training

The stomach and immune system are very closely related. What we eat can have a significant effect on how we feel and how likely we are to become run down with an illness. This is especially important during the winter cold and flu season!

A simple internet search reveals certain foods that are reported to be extremely helpful in improving your immune system. While certainly not revolutionary, the following list of foods may assist. Here we’ll explain how they work and how you can incorporate them into your diet.

Please read on and stay healthy because with regard to getting a cold and flu – ain’t nobody got time for that!

What to eat: Green Tea

Why: Certain chemical compounds in green tea help prevent cold causing bugs from increasing in number. The amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost is called L-theanine.

Tip: Make sure you dunk your tea bag several times to ensure you get enough of the good stuff out.

What to eat: Turmeric

Why: A spice that can be added to many foods when cooking, turmeric includes the active ingredient curcumin which provides anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial benefits (includes manganese, zinc, B vitamins and iron).

Tip: Cover your chicken with this spice when cooking, toss your cooked vegetables with it, add it to soups… just add it to everything!  It also assists with muscle development.

What to eat: Ginger

Why: Ginger is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with antimicrobial properties. It boosts immune function and reduces cellular damage. Ginger stimulates digestion, potentially relieving bloating, cramping and nausea.

Tip: Create your own soup, stir-fry or tea with it to provide a boost to your immune system.

What to eat: Garlic

Why: Garlic is another immune system warrior, protecting the body from infections and illness. Garlic contains allicin, a potent phytonutrient that is great for cardiac health. It has been shown to help lower blood pressure, inhibit blood clotting and promote healthy cholesterol levels.

Tip: Add garlic to everything that you cook! Just make sure you brush your teeth or use mouth wash after eating it!

What to eat: Pineapple

Why: Pineapple contains B group vitamins including thiamine (B1) and B6, which are required for energy metabolism and nerve function. It also contains the enzyme bromelain, which aids in protein digestion, allowing your body to utilise immune boosting amino acids effectively. Pineapple also helps to prevent inflammation. Keep in mind however, that it is quite high in sugar, so don’t eat an entire pineapple in one sitting.

Tip: Add to fruit salad, yogurt, blend in a tropical fruit smoothie, or eat on its own as a post work out re-energiser.

What to eat: Protein

Why: Protein assists with repair. Enough said. Make sure you are eating combinations of foods that provide a complete protein source or amino acid profile. Animal food sources are the easiest way to get this however, a combination of plant based foods can still provide you with a complete protein food source.

Have your cut of meat with cooked green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus and peas for added ‘green’ protein.

What to eat: Wheatgrass

Why: Wheatgrass is an exceptionally nutritionally dense green food that includes nutrients such as chlorophyll, beta carotene, vitamin C, B complex vitamins, anti-oxidants, amino acids, calcium, potassium and magnesium.  This helps support liver and immune function by boosting the liver’s ability to flush out toxins. It is an also anti-bacterial food and helps maintain an alkaline state within the body to avoid inflammation.

Tip: Add it too your green smoothie, sandwiches or salads.

What to eat: Berries

Why: Berries are rich in vitamin C which is believed to prevent cell damage and offer immune system protection. They are also high in polyphenols that help promote healthy tissues and organs. As they contain flavonoids, berries have strong antioxidant capabilities.

Tip: try to eat a wide variety of berries, buy them fresh and freeze them to add to smoothies or yogurt.

What to eat: Vegetables (all of them, especially Orange ones)

Why: Orange vegetables include beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts into Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for fighting disease.

Tip: Sweet potatoes, sliced, baked and then coated in olive oil and Himalayan pink salt can taste just as good as fried potato chips. Also, try to eat carrot raw to maximise the nutritional value of the food.

In Summary:

  • Eat a wide variety of colours within each meal (especially orange).
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Focus on fresh vegetables and fruit.
  • Have smoothies and soups, which can be extremely nutrient dense food sources with a high nutritional value, a wide variety of food types and colours.
  • If feeling under the weather, increase your calorie intake, especially at breakfast. Your body needs more energy to fight infections so give it that energy.
  • Also, while unrelated to nutrition, make sure you are getting adequate levels of sleep as this can greatly decrease the chance of many common illnesses.

Author: David Kinsella | Revolution Personal Training


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