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Building a strong immune system


It has been established that one of the most important factors in supporting a healthy, balanced immune system is good nutrition. Nutrition plays a major role in both the production and action of both the cells and soluble factors of immune system.

Lack of high-quality protein leads to depletion of immune cells, inability of the body to make antibodies and other immune related issues. Immune system can be 25 per cent compromised in protein deficiency.

Essential amino acids (glutamine and arginine) deficiency or imbalance can compromise the immune system especially in the pre-surgery patients.

Eggs, fish, poultry, whole grains – sources of excellent immune stimulating amino acids so also nuts, seeds, pulses and legumes

Free radicals and other damaging molecules are formed at the sites of infection and inflammation. These are needed by the body at the site of infection to kill unhealthy cells.

When your antioxidant systems are not functioning and when not enough antioxidants in your diet, these molecules are not disarmed after they have done their jobs and can be damaging to healthy tissues as well.

It is imperative to get a regular supply through diet. The sources are fruits, veggies, especially colored ones i.e. strawberries, cherries, tomatoes, carrots. Nearly all the vitamins are essential to promote and maintain some aspect of your immune system.

While Vitamin C reduces the length of time and severity of symptoms linked to the URTI, promote phagocytic cell functions, support healthy T cell function and provide antioxidant activity to support healing of inflammation sites.

Vitamin B is very important in supporting a healthy immune system, promote production and release of antibodies from B-cells, deficiencies lead to decrease in T cells and impair normal antibody response.

Some of the lifestyle guidelines to enhance the immune system are to eat a well-balanced and varied diet with whole grains, proteins, essential fats and ensure substantial servings of fresh fruits and veggies.

Limit consumption of processed foods, aerated drinks, sweets, salt, sugar and nutrient deficient foods.

Avoid too much fried, spicy foods. Keep your body hydrated with plenty of water intake for best immune function.

Smoking and alcohol adversely affect immunity and increase the risk and severity of infections; hence must be avoided.

Maintain healthy body weight; both underweight and overweight impair immunity.

Exercise regularly and indulge in yoga, meditation to manage stress.

Whole grains, fruits, vegetables especially romaine lettuce, cauliflower, turnip greens, mushrooms, red bell peppers, oily fishes. Vitamins A, D, E, K also play very important roles in strengthening the immune system.

The sources here are turnip greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, leafy greens, carrots, sweet potato, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach

Iron- Deficiency leads to impaired response to antibodies and defective phagocytic cell functioning.

Spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, dry fruits, lean meat, collard green, turnip greens

Copper (nuts, seeds, greens), Selenium (fish, tofu, whole grains), Manganese. Garlic does It does a lot of our immune system; increases not only the number of natural killer cells but also their potency. Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory property.

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