Immunity or the ability to resist the injury caused by microorganisms and their products is inbuilt within us. . Immunity is natural, that is everyone is born with a general type of protection. For example, the external barriers of the body, like the skin and mucous membranes. . Immunity can also be adapted; it develops throughout our lives. Adaptive immunity involves the white blood cells or lymphocytes and develops as we are exposed to diseases or immunized against diseases through vaccination. . Passive immunity is derived from other sources. Though it lasts for a short time, it does have an impact on the body. For example, antibodies in a mother's breast milk provide immunity for the baby and the food we eat has an impact on our immune system.
Let's try to build our passive immunity by including certain foods that can help us fight infection. Citrus Fruits . Citrus fruits include oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pomelo and limes. . Nobiletin and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), the two flavonoids in citrus fruits inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and suppress the growth of tumor blood vessels. . Various observational studies have found reduced incidences of lung cancer and colorectal cancer in people who consume large amounts of citrus fruits on a regular basis. . Citrus fruits have chemopreventive potential and promote immune and cardiovascular health.
Red Bell Peppers . Red bell peppers contain the highest amount of Vitamin C, and are a source of vitamin A, vitamin B6 which help contribute to a healthy immune system. . One of the causes of cancer is a high level of free radical production in the cells that damages the DNA. Red bell pepper is an amazing source of antioxidants that suppresses the production of free radicals and thus helps in the management of cancer. . Flavones, flavonol, alkaloids and polyphenols (health-promoting compounds) present in bell pepper are very effective against an array of microorganisms. . Capsaicin, an active compound present in bell pepper, shows pharmacological properties.
Broccoli . Broccoli is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which act as powerful antioxidants in enhancing the body's immune responses to various infections and foreign pathogenic invaders. . Zinc and selenium in broccoli also improve the overall immune status of the body. . Broccoli contains essential cancer-fighting nutrients such as glucosinolates, which break down on cooking to form active cancer resistant chemicals such as indoles and isothiocyanates. . The beta-carotene, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, zinc and some amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in broccoli help to enhance skin health, by regeneration of new skin tissues. . Broccoli helps boost production of detoxification enzymes in the liver, which helps in the effective elimination of xenobiotic substances from the body.
Garlic . Garlic is an herbal immunity booster that protects the body from catching the seasonal flu and common cold. It enhances the body's ability to fight against flu viruses. . Sulfur present in raw garlic prevents infection and helps in reducing inflammation. . The allium content in garlic is found to exert protective effects against free radical oxidation reducing the risk of developing cancers. . Garlic is known to have antibacterial and antibiotic properties. It helps in eliminating bacterial and fungal infections like diarrhea, candida infections, athlete's foot, and sore throat.
Ginger . Ginger plays a vital role in relieving indigestion. It stimulates secretion of digestive juices, helps break down the proteins in food and protects the stomach against ulcer by promoting mucus secretion. . Shogaol in ginger induces cell death in colorectal carcinoma cells. . Manganese in ginger builds resistance to disease, protects the lining of the heart, blood vessels and urinary passages. . Topical application of gingerol provides protection against UV-induced skin disorders. . Gingerols inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that is associated with indigestion (dyspepsia), peptic ulcer and the development of gastric and colon cancer.
Spinach . Greens such as kale, spinach and Swiss chard are immune-boosting foods that contain high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants that help fight off infection and regenerate other antioxidants in the body. . Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary magnesium, which is needed for a healthy immune system, energy metabolism, and for normal muscle and nerve functioning. . Vitamin A helps maintain healthy lymphocytes and cell membranes, which combat the invasion of foreign bodies and fight infection. . Spinach contains an antioxidant called lutein that has been found to reverse symptoms of macular degeneration and improve vision. . Spinach also supplies flavonoids, a type of powerful antioxidant that protects against disease by fighting free radical damage within the body.
Yogurt/Fermented foods . Yogurt contains friendly bacteria, which keeps the colon healthy, which in turn decreases the risk of colon cancer. . Yogurt is an amazing immune-boosting food that fights cold, flu and staves away digestive problems. . Calcium plays a positive role in colon health. The calcium in yogurt binds bile acids with unhealthy cells so that irritation on the colon wall is reduced. . Taking 7 ounces of yogurt can be just as effective as pills to boost the immune system and a daily intake of yogurt reduces the sick days by 33%.
Almonds . Almonds increase the immune system's defense against viruses. . Naturally occurring compounds in the almond skin stimulate the immune response and thus contribute to an antiviral immune defense. . Almonds increase white blood cell production that fights viral infections such as flu and common cold. . High amounts of vitamin E found in almonds also help boost the immune system and stave off infections. . The skin of almonds contains probiotic components that aid in digestion and healthy bacterial growth within the gut flora.
Green Tea . Green tea is rich in catechins, polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant. . EGCG in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells as well as kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. . Drinking green tea helps prevent tooth decay. It kills bacteria that cause dental plaque. . Green tea has bacteria-destroying abilities and can help prevent food poisoning.
Kiwi . Kiwi fruit is rich in vitamin E, potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium and has more vitamin C than equal amount of oranges. . Five to 7 portions of kiwi fruit reduced the chances of developing wheezing by 44% in children. . The green kiwi fruit has enzyme actinidin which improves digestion and is recognized as a natural digestive aid. . Kiwi influences biomarkers of oxidative stress and reduces the incidence and severity of sore throat, sneezing, stuffy nose and cough.
Sunflower Seeds . Sunflower seeds supply good amounts of vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, copper, potassium, folate, vitamin B1, vitamin B6 and niacin. . Vitamin E in the seeds acts as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. . It is a remedy to cure lung-related ailments and also to treat infections like common cold and coughs. . Vitamin C and E are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals that damage skin. . Sunflower seeds contain selenium that induces DNA repair and DNA synthesis in damaged cells and thereby inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells.
Shell Fish . Shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams are plentiful in selenium that helps white blood cells produce cytokines proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body. . Sea food, in general, contains B vitamins, minerals and Vitamin D. . The high-quality protein in fish supports a healthy immune system. . Salmon are rich in vitamin A, which helps protect vision and boosts the immune and the reproductive system's capabilities. . Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, mackerel, and herring reduce inflammation, increase airflow and protect lungs from colds and respiratory infections. . Selenium is a potent antioxidant found in seafood that is known to heal inflammation which may lead to heart disease, lung disease and cell death.
Barley . Barley is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber and selenium. It is also a good source of phosphorous, copper and manganese. . Barley boosts immunity, speeds wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better. . β-glucan in barley has antimicrobial properties that keep cold, flu at bay. . Barley has antioxidant capabilities.
Mushroom . Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, minerals like phosphorus, potassium, antioxidant nutrients like selenium, copper, zinc and contain all 17 essential amino acids needed by the body. . Selenium in mushrooms has been linked to a reduced risk of severe infections. . White button mushroom enhances natural killer cell activity in mice suggesting that its intake can offer protection against tumors and viruses. . Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive and disease resistant. . Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch.
Oats . Whole grain oats have a high fiber content, which aids digestion. . The fiber in oats assist the immune cells to detect harmful bacteria. . Avenanthramides, an antioxidant present in oats, exerts an anti-inflammatory effect which protect the blood vessels from the damage of LDL cholesterol. . Oats contain beta glucan, which has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties that help reduce the risk of influenza, anthrax, and herpes. . Regular consumption of oats may lead to accelerated wound healing and speedy function of antibiotic medicines.
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