Health & Nutrition

Boost your Immune System

A person’s immune system is its protector against viruses and illness. It is important to build your body’s immunity in order to bolster its ability to fight off illness and disease. A weak immune system makes the body vulnerable to new strains of viruses, causing one to become sick. A body’s immune system does recognize virus strains that it has encountered before, but it has to fight harder to rid the body of new virus strains, or mutated viruses. A strong immune system may be able to fight these new strains off, but a weakened one will have more trouble. In order to boost your immune system, enhancing the nutritional value of your diet is essential.

Boost Immune System

The best way to boost your immune system is to feed it. There are many immune system boosters that can be found in foods and vitamin supplements. They work to increase the number of white blood cells, which help form a better immunity to illness and disease. The three most beneficial vitamins for your immune system are Vitamin C, Vitamin E and carotenoids.

Vitamin C has been widely researched as the most effective vitamin for boosting the immune system. It is easy to add more Vitamin C to your diet; the supplements are inexpensive and Vitamin C is found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C increases infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies in the immune system. Vitamin C also raises the number of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces and disallows the entry of viruses. The recommended dose of Vitamin C is only 200 milligrams per day, easily attainable by taking supplements or eating foods high in Vitamin C each day, among your six servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C. Kiwi fruit also contains Vitamin C, even more than an orange.

Vitamin E is also an effective antioxidant and immune system booster. Vitamin E bolsters the production of B-cells, which are the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. The recommended dose of Vitamin E is 100-400 milligrams a day. Consuming that amount of Vitamin E can be difficult. If you diet is rich in seeds, vegetable oils and grains, then you have a higher chance of getting the recommended daily dose. However, if not, supplements may be the answer. The dose also varies depending on your lifestyle. If you smoke, rarely exercise or consume a lot of alcohol, you may need to take in more Vitamin E for the nutrient to have the desired effect.

Rounding out the top three vitamins to boost your immune system is the addition of carotenoids to your diet. Beta carotene is the most readily available carotenoid found in foods. Beta carotene increases the number of T-cells and is a good antioxidant as well. Research has shown that T-cells also can fight off cancer cells. Aside from being an immune system booster, beta carotene is also a protector against cancer cells. Beta carotene stimulates macrophages, which are the cells that produce tumor necrosis factor, a cancer-killing cell. Beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Too much Vitamin A is bad for the body, so it is best to intake beta carotene and let the body determine how much Vitamin A is enough, rather than taking Vitamin A supplements.

There are many other vitamins and nutrients you can add to your diet to bolster your immune system aside from Vitamins C and E and carotenoids. Biofalvenoids protect the immune system against environmental pollutants. Bioflavenoids act as barriers against pollutants trying to attach to cell membranes. If your membrane cells are filled with bioflavenoids, there is less room for a toxin or pollutant to attach to the cell membrane. In order to intake bioflavenoids, be sure to have at least six servings of fruits or vegetables a day.

Zinc is also a powerful mineral to add to your diet to increase immunity. Zinc increases the number of white blood cells. Zinc vitamin supplements are readily available, but it is also found in many foods. Oysters, beans, turkey, beef and zinc-fortified cereals are all good sources of zinc. Vitamin B6 is also helpful in boosting the immune system. It can be found in bananas, tuna, salmon, whole grains and carrots. Garlic is also good for the immune system, along with omega-3 fatty acids found in flax oil and fish including tuna, salmon and mackerel. Selenium, also found in fish, including tuna, red snapper, lobster and shrimp are excellent for the immune system.

Hydration is also important for the immune system, and for general health. It is critical to drink eight classes of water each day and to maintain hydration. It will also improve your immunity. Avoid carbonated beverages, and opt for water instead to make sure you are staying hydrated and drinking the proper amount of water each day.

Boosting your immune system is not connected solely to diet choices and vitamin intake. Exercise is also important to improve immunity. Obesity is a cause of depressed immune systems, as well. Excess weight negatively affects the production of white blood cells to make antibodies and fight off infection and disease. Smoking is also a bad habit for the immune system. If you are a smoker, you will need to add even more nutrients to your diet to maintain a healthy immune system. Consuming too much sugar also has a negative effect on your immune system. The ability of white blood cells to kill germs can be significantly reduced by excess sugar consumption.

Also, excessive consumption of alcohol is detrimental to the immune system. Drinking alcohol provides no nutritional value, and actually deprives the body of important nutrients. In addition, alcohol is converted to sugar in the body. Over consumption of sugar is hard on the immune system and stifles the body’s white cell growth. If you drink heavily, the damage to the immune system will be greater. Research shows that one drink does not have a negative effect on the immune system, but three or more drinks can be harmful.

In conclusion, remember to balance your diet with nutrients and maintain a healthy lifestyle with exercise and stay away from smoking and excess drinking to improve your immune system.

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