We hear so much about our immune system, but actually, we truly know very little. Most of us are aware of its importance to our health, but we may not know why. The immune system in simplest terms is our body’s method of defense. There are organs, cells, and tissues that work in conjunction with one another to protect us from infections and keep us healthy.
The way our bodies are designed, they become the perfect environment for certain bacteria and parasites to survive. The immune system is what keeps too many of these bacteria and fungi from invading our bodies. This is why when our immune system is compromised, we can become seriously ill, because our defense team is not working properly.
Here are some ways that we can help strengthen our immune system to support our overall health:
There are certain foods that can be added to your grocery list that work with the cells in your body to keep your immune system strong.
Yogurt acts as a probiotic, the opposite of antibiotic, meaning that probiotics add the good bacteria to your system and supports good gut health, which is everything that happens in your digestive system and its processes.
A food most of us enjoy in casseroles and sauces; garlic is like medicine to our immune system. Garlic’s active ingredient, allicin kills off infections from “bad bacteria” within the body. During a British study, 146 people were given a placebo and some were given actual garlic extract for four months. The results say that those who were taking real garlic were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold or virus that season.
What your grandmother said was true; chicken soup is has great powers when it comes to your immune system. A study at the University of Nebraska concluded that after testing 13 brands of chicken, all but one stopped the migration of inflammation producing white cells. Why does this matter? It is the build-up of these white cells in the bronchial tubes that cause cold symptoms.
* The only chicken soup out of the 13 brands researched, that didn’t produce these positive results was the common pack of ramen noodle chicken-flavored soup.
Though many people are getting into tea drinking, the benefits to the immune system is not normally the reason why. Tea feels good when you’re sick with a cold or virus, but drinking tea beforehand on a daily basis is the wisest thing to do, particularly black tea. Studies have shown that those who drank black tea, hot or cold, approximately 4-5 times a day for two weeks, decreased their chances of getting ill, 10 times more than those who drank the placebo. Black tea does come in caffeine-free blends, so no need to panic about the caffeine intake. It is the amino acids that help to boost the immune system and these amino acids are also in caffeine-free teas.
For the carnivores out there, normally the most diagnosed condition for vegetarians, is zinc deficiency. Even a mild deficiency in zinc can make a person more susceptible to colds and infections. Zinc is responsible for developing white blood cells and these are the cells that fight viruses and what we call, the bad bacteria”. If you just cannot eat meat for any reason, taking a zinc supplement may be a good idea.