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Eat Your Way To Ultimate Immunity

Eat Your Way To Ultimate Immunity

What if it were possible to fight disease and rev up your immune system, all by changing the way you eat?

Diet is one of the most important contributing factors to overall health and plays a vital role in how effectively we can fight off illness and disease. Whether we chose whole foods or superfoods, what we put into our mouth will have a direct impact on how efficiently our immune system functions.

Learning about some of the most important, immune-boosting foods is an excellent way to protect ourselves from the barrage of germs that we are exposed to daily but first, we must take a brief look at the complexities of the immune system to understand just how it works.

How Does The Immune System Work?

Every day we are under attack. Our bodies are fighting a war that we are oblivious to. Bacteria, viruses, diseases, and other pathogens are constantly attempting to infiltrate our heavily armed lines of defense. Luckily, our immune system is always hard at work, thwarting off impending attackers.

Chemicals on our skin, such as oleic acid and lysozyme, are toxic to many germs, killing them and breaking them down on contact before they have the chance to penetrate our bodies. If an invader happens to break through this first line of defense, the mucus lining in our nose and throat and the tiny hairs that line our respiratory system called cilia will attempt to capture them and expel them.

If a virus succeeds in getting past these two primary defense mechanisms, our entire immune system will let out a battle cry and wage war. Immediately, a message is sent throughout the body to rally all the white blood cells (also known as leukocytes). The body goes into overdrive, producing and releasing as many white blood cells as possible and shuttling them to the war zone. Some of these white knights surround the invading cells and devour them while others get to work taking notes and memorising exactly what the pathogen looks and acts like so that they will be able to effectively fight them off again, in the future.

Next, the body’s acute phase response kicks in. A protein, called interleukin is released and acts as a beacon, sending out messages to all other parts of the body, giving detailed updates on the battle that is raging. The body quickly responds by raising its temperature and creating a warm environment that isn’t conducive to viral or bacterial growth. It also releases specific proteins, neutrophils, and eosinophils which head to the front line, ready to initiate a brutal attack.

When the war is over, the body’s healers (known as macrophages) set to work. They shuttle blood through the area, initiating healing and repair damaged tissues and remove any remnants of the invading pathogens from the battlefield.

Taking A Look At Our Microbiome

Belly

Did you know that inside your gut, ranging from your mouth through your esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and to the outer reaches of your large intestine straight through to the other end, your body is home to a complete, bustling city?

This city is known as our microbiome and is made up of a whole range of different organisms including good and bad bacteria. When our gut is in perfect harmony, our microbiome works to keep us in optimal health and helps keep us free from disease. When our microbiome is out of balance, we can become more susceptible to getting sick from bacterial or viral infections or other illnesses. Plus, studies have shown that there is a link between our mental health, our moods and the health of our gut!

Frequently using antibiotics, eating an unhealthy diet, smoking, drinking alcohol, certain environmental factors, and lack of exercise can all have a direct negative effect on our microbiome and since a vast majority of the body’s immune cells reside in the gut, dysbiosis can have a direct impact on our immune system, leading to poor health, frequent illness and a whole host of other symptoms.

It’s easy to see that the body is an amazing machine, capable of keeping us healthy and fighting off disease. but did you know that there are many things that you can do to help your body’s immune system? By making just a few easy tweaks to your diet, you can make it stronger, giving you the upper hand when it comes to fighting off dangerous viruses and bacteria.

Boosting Your Immunity

Your body can be compared to a fancy new sports car. To keep it purring like a kitten, you want to make sure you use high-quality motor oil and fill it up with premium petrol. You would never think of putting cheap, low-grade fuel into your expensive car, it just wouldn’t perform like it’s supposed to.

Consuming low-quality ingredients, lacking in nutrients is a sure-fire way to reduce the effectiveness of your immune system and when this happens, it’s just a matter of time before you experience more frequent illnesses.

A nutrient-rich diet contains all of the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health and will leave you feeling energized, giving your immune system the ammunition it needs to fight off any pathological invasion.

Let’s delve into the world of nutrition to see what changes we can make to our eating habits to best boost our immunity.

Choose Whole Foods Whenever Possible

Fruit and vegetables

Whole foods are those that come straight from Mother Nature and onto your plate. They require very little processing and seldom have any preservatives or harmful additives. Reducing the number of processed foods that we eat and increasing our consumption of whole foods will provide exceptional amounts of vitamins and minerals. Highly processed food and fast food is high in refined sugar, fats, sodium, and other chemicals and have very little nutritional value. Reducing the number of these foods in your diet will not only have a positive effect on your immune system but on your waistline as well!

Putting The “Super” In Superfoods

Superfoods are the superheroes that line the shelves of our grocery stores, pantries, and refrigerators. What makes them so amazing is the level of micronutrients that they contain. Superfoods are chock-full of important vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory and antioxidants that protect our bodies from free-radical damage and pump up our immunity, giving added defense against illness.

Include these superfoods in your diet daily and feel your superpowers grow:

  • Berries - They may be small, but they’re mighty. Berries, of all kinds, are potent superfood machines and pack a powerful punch. They contain high levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids plus they are high in fiber.

Berries
  • Dark Leafy Greens - There was a reason that Popeye ate his spinach every day. This incredible superfood, along with kale, collard greens, and swiss chard, has exceptional amounts of folate, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, and fiber, to name just a few!

Green leafy vegetables
  • Garlic - It may not be good for your breath, but it is excellent for your immune system. Garlic contains manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and selenium and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries as a remedy to fight off colds and the flu.

Garlic
  • Turmeric - If its bright colour isn’t enough to show how super it is, then its long list of immune-boosting properties should be. Turmeric is a seasoning that is rich in vitamins and minerals and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric
  • Probiotics – Adding probiotics to your diet is a great way to balance your gut’s microbiome, doing wonders to rev up your overall immunity. Not only will it make it easier for your body to fight disease, but it can do wonders for your mental health, boosting your mood as well! Try foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and kombucha.

Probiotics

    Other amazing superfoods to consider include ginger, avocado, sweet potato, cranberries, maca, green tea, salmon, mushrooms, and seaweed.

    Taking Your Immunity To The Next Level!

    Making small changes to the way that we eat by adding nutrient-dense whole foods and superfoods to our diet can give our immune system dominance over the germs that we are bombarded with every day.

    Implementing healthy lifestyle changes and choosing high-quality fuel for your body can go a long way to feeling healthy and keeping you free from illness and disease.


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