The body’s immune system is a powerful mechanism which is almost single-handedly responsible for the protection of the body against diseases. AIDS, the deadliest of diseases, doesn’t directly affect the body. It works by decimating the immune system, which in an inoperative condition allows other illnesses to wreak havoc upon the body, which eventually causes death.
The immune system is a collection of disparate units of the body that work together to combat the diseases which enter our body.
It works in a strange but fascinating way. When a body encounters a non-self substance in the body, the immune system sends its soldiers to attack these substances. When a pathogen is encountered for the first time, it stores the ‘footprint’ of the illness. When the illness is encountered for a second time, the body recognizes the pathogen and can fight better against it.
There are a variety of daily activities and behaviours that can damage the immune system, most of which we all suffer from. Insomnia, depression and stress all take a heavy toll on the immune system. You might have heard the awareness being raised by medical experts on how to curb and handle these illnesses, and it certainly not without reason.
Why Is The Immune System Important?
It is fairly clear: a weak immune system is a weak body. If the immune system can’t fight effectively against diseases, then the body becomes more vulnerable to the effects of the pathogens. A strong immune system makes it less likely for a person to get sick. If you find yourself getting sick very often, then it could mean that you have a weak immune system.
Can the diet affect the strength of your immune system? It certainly can, like it does with many other parts of the body. Your body gets its essential nutrients through food and it is through these nutrients that it builds new cells, repairs damaged areas and combats diseases.
Here is a list of foods and substances that help bolster your immune system:
The benefits of carrots are many and frequently sung, but a slightly less known benefit of carrots is that it plays an important role in the prevention of bacteria’s attempts to undermine the body. The beta carotene in carrots is used by the membranes in the body’s intestines and respiratory tract. This membrane performs the task of filtration, preventing bacteria from entering the bloodstream.
So eat your carrots! Other sources of beta carotene are sweet potatoes, Spinach and apricots.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps the body repair damage and boosts the body’s ability to fight off infection. It is rich in antioxidants which eliminate harmful free radicals from the body.
You can get your filling of Vitamin E from many kinds of nuts, like the almond, and also from spinach and Sunflower Seeds.
Garlic is a wonder ingredient, the benefits of which have been known to the Indian civilization for the longest time. Many other cultures are aware of its medicinal properties as well and all of these cultures seem to agree upon its ability to boost an individual's health. There is some scientific backing to garlic’s ability to boost the immune system.
Ginger is another ingredient that is well known to India and which offers a sling of medicinal benefits. Ginger contains capsaicin - the spicy substance in chillies - which has been found to strengthen the body’s defense systems. You would probably know of the ginger remedy that one is advised to undertake when the common cold is attacked. That comes from ginger’s immune boosting capacity.
Among minerals, zinc plays the biggest part in protecting and strengthening the immune system. The scientific evidence for the impact zinc has on the functioning of the immune system is very conclusive.
Get your zinc from spinach, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and cashews.
If you want to give your immune system a hand, make sure you have some of these foods on your plate!