A healthy eating regime can do far more than maintain your sylphlike figure. In fact, you can use the food you eat to wage war against illness and infirmity. The saying ‘an apple a day…’ could be expanded to include a whole repertoire of so called ‘superfoods’ that have excellent immune boosting properties.
Natural foods that boost immune system
Everyone knows the importance of wholegrains for the passage of food through the intestinal system. However some wholegrains, particularly oats and barley, also contain antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that can boost the immune system and help to ward off infectious diseases, and even boost wound healing.
The active ingredient in garlic, allicin, is a proper little warrior against bacterial infection. Studies have shown lower rates of colorectal cancer, stomach cancer and even less susceptibility to the common cold among regular garlic munchers. Aim for at least a couple of cloves per day for a beneficial effect – and expect to smell!
Containing high levels of vitamin A, sweet potatoes can help the body to produce connective tissue, important for healthy skin. This makes it one of the more important foods that boost immune system, as skin is the body’s first line of defence against germs, dirt and other undesirable elements. Other orange tinted foods have similar properties, such as carrots, peppers and orange fleshed melons.
Prepared foods that boost immune system
Yoghurt is full of probiotics, live bacteria beneficial to the health of your intestinal tract. If you can’t eat dairy products, you can take a probiotic supplement, but a couple of creamy yoghurts on a daily basis is a delicious way to maintain gut health and up your calcium levels at the same time.
Much has been made of the health properties of green tea, but black tea drinkers have also demonstrated high blood levels of interferon, known for fighting viruses. You’ll need quite a few cups per day though, strongly brewed.
It seems your grandmother may have been right to recommend chicken soup at times of illness, with scientists discovering it may have a protective effect upon the immune system. The benefits are thought to come from the release of the amino acid cysteine during the chicken cooking process – used to fight bronchitis, from the salty broth base that can thin mucus and from addition of other immune boosting foods such as onion and garlic.