Updated: Feb 25
Your immune system is one of the most valuable things you have – and it’s not just for warding off the sniffles and sneezes. It consists of an army of cells that work hard every single day to protect your body from all types of bacterial infections, viruses, food poisoning, autoimmune conditions and even cancer. Immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment and these foods play a vital role in helping our immune system to cope with daily attacks on it…
These nuts are a true immunity super-food as they contain good levels of both selenium and vitamin E, both of which are vital for a normal antibody response – a vital process that identifies and neutralizes pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
Unfortunately British soil is very low in selenium, therefore produce grown in it is also low in this mineral. If you have a weak immune system, ensure you are taking a good quality multi-vitamin that contains selenium.
Did you know that peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges? There is no question that this vitamin is absolutely essential for immunity. It can be bacteriostatic (hinder growth of bugs) or bactericidal (kill bugs), depending on the bug!
However, research suggests that it’s role in immunity may be purely prevention – in other words it will help prevent you from catching a bug, but it won’t help in getting rid of it once you’ve go it!
The gorgeous orange pigment of sweet potatoes is due to the phytochemical beta- carotene, which gets converted to vitamin A within the body.
This nutrient is responsible for maintaining an active Thymus (a key gland in immune health) and is highly anti-viral as it helps cells become resistant to viral attacks, making it a true hero in boosting immunity.
Ok, not technically a food – but the sun is by far the best source of Vitamin D, which is essential in activating our immune defense. Research suggests that when faced with bacteria and viruses, immune cells first search for vitamin D in order to do their job properly. If, however they cannot find enough vitamin D, they will not complete their activation process, which could mean the bug takes hold and reeks havoc.
According to the British Medical Journal, more than 50% of us have insufficient levels of Vitamin D, as many of us have problems utilising vitamin D from food sources. Fortunately however, we can store this vitamin in our bodies to get us through the dark winter months, so make the most of these hot sunny days!
Pumpkin seeds contain a good amount of the mineral, Zinc, which is involved in over 200 enzymes in the body, and it crucial for immune health. You should maintain a regular intake to prevent deficiency, partly because your body doesn’t have a dedicated storage system for the mineral. Other sources include legumes and whole-grains.