• Immune boosting foods

    Immune boosting foods

    FOOD See all FOOD posts

    These foods will help strengthen your immune system naturally and stay healthy through the winter. Including them in your diet can help you, improve your immune response to viruses. Vitamins and minerals are present naturally in food, and it is much better to get them from there, rather than as supplements. Enriching your diet not only with fresh fruits and vegetables, but also diverse other foods, full with healthy ingredients will help you stay healthy, fit and feel better. It ensures that you provide the body with everything it needs, so it can strengthen its natural protection powers through the winter.

    Here are 5 immune boosting foods, to stock up on through the winter.

    1. Yogurt

    Yogurt contains probiotics. These “good” bacteria are living organisms, which when eaten in moderation can result in a health benefit for a person. Probiotics help digestion and keep your gut healthy. According to a study, probiotics are playing an important role in development of a healthy balanced microbiota by infants, which helps avoid the development of allergic diseases. Studies suggest that bifidobacteria has a key role in development of a healthy balanced infant microbiota. Another study from Malmö University in Sweden, shows that Lactobacillus reuteri – a specific probiotic that stimulates white blood cells in the body promotes health. In the 1960s, when Lactobacillus reuteri was discovered, it occurred naturally in 30-40 % of the population. Today it is found in only 10-20 %. This is related to changes in our lifestyle – today we eat less fermented foods, that kill bacteria in the food and in the body.

    2. Garlic

    Garlic is used for over 7,000 years by humans and it is believed to be a natural antibiotic in many cultures around the world. Because of its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, it has a long history as an immune system booster. Although laboratory tests have shown, that garlic works against viruses, bacteria, and fungi, there is insufficient clinical research to confirm this. Garlic may have some infection-fighting capability, but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Allicin is the compound in garlic thought to have most antibacterial properties. It is also the defense mechanism of garlic against attacks by pests. A research concluded, that aged garlic extract reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms by improving the NK (Natural killer cells, which provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells, acting for around 3 days after infection) and γδ-T (cells, which are essential for sensing ‘danger’ signals from infections early) cell functions. During World Wars I and II, garlic was used by soldiers as an antiseptic for preventing gangrene.

    3. Green and Black tea
    Green Tea & black-tea

    Green and black tea contain L-theanine, which boosts the capacity of gamma delta T (γδ-T) cells to fight diseases. These T cells are the first line of defense in the body, against many types of bacteria, viral and fungal infections. They are responsible for the secretion of interferon, which plays a key role the body’s defense against infection. A study in which 11 volunteers drunk 5 cups of tea, and 10 others drunk the same amount of coffee daily, showed afrer 4 weeks, that the immune system blood cells from tea drinkers responded five times faster to germs than the blood cells of coffee drinkers. The immune cells of the tea drinkers secreted five times more interferon after 4 weeks, compared to the start of the experiment. By the volunteers who drunk coffee, there was no change in the secreted interferon. The amino acid, responsible for this boost of the virus-fighting interferon is L-theanine and can be found in both black and green tea.

    4. Berries
    Blueberrieselderberry red-grapes

    Berries, such as elderberry, blueberries and red grapes may help you fight flu viruses. Black elderberry has been used for hundreds of years medicinally. In a study, researchers found, that elderberry can reduce the duration of influenza B virus to 2 days in 93 % of the participants. Those who were given a placebo were ill for 6 days. Other studies confirm, that it is also effective against the more common influenza A virus. Results from a study show, that elderberry extract reduced both the duration and severity of flu within 48 hours of the first appearance of symptoms.
    Researchers from Oregon State University examined the influence of 446 different chemicals on the human immune system and found, that resveratrol – a compound, found in red grapes and pterostilbene – found in blueberries, combined with vitamin D have the ability to boost the immune system and fight illness.

    5. Mushrooms

    Antioxidants in many types of mushrooms make them a powerful food to boost your immune system and protect against illness. Of all fruits and vegetables, mushrooms are the only source of Vitamin D. Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and the activity of white blood cells, which helps fighting infections. Per 100g. mushrooms provide you with 37% of your daily recommended value of selenium, which influences inflammation and boosts the immune system. The B vitamins – riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3), found in mushrooms are also playing a role in boosting your immune system function. A study from University of Florida shows increased immunity in people who ate a cooked shiitake mushroom daily, in a period of 4 weeks.

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