The Human body is very complex. We sometimes take it for granted. Having the ability to heal itself under the right circumstances is in itself a miracle. They key component to that statement is under the right circumstances. This means that we have to give our body what it needs to operate properly.
In America there is a major issue with people being not only obese but also malnourished at the same time. Why is this? Maybe the pollution in the air or the hormones in the water are the culprits. The truth is there are so many environmental factors that affect our health but we have more control that what we think
Our health is a combination of many things, from the environment we live in to the food we eat and even our genetics. It was once believed genetics are the primary cause of most health related illnesses but with decades of new research we now know that genetics really plays about a 20-30% role in our health.
The other primary factors are environmental/social factors (20%), healthcare access (10%) and the big one is behavior and lifestyle choices (40-50%). Since what we eat plays such a big role in how long we live and how healthy we are we should take it more serious.
Today we will talk about one of the most important functions of the body, the immune system. We will discover the natural foods that boost the immune system.
What is the Immune System?
Other than the nervous system your immune system is the most complex system in the body. The immune system is made up of tissues, cells and organs including your tonsils, digestive system, bone marrow, skin, lymph nodes, white blood cells, your spleen and the inside of your nose and throat.
All of these parts of the immune system work together none stop to actively fight infections and diseases. The immune system remembers each microbe that it defeats by coding it into the white blood cells so that the same microbe will be destroyed quicker the next time it enters the body. The reason people can get sick with the flu every year is because the virus itself mutates making the prior anti-bodies non-resistant.
Most of the immune systems work is done in the gut or the stomach area. This is where the digestion happens and where around 100 trillion live microorganisms promote normal GI (gastrointestinal) function, protect the body from infection, regulate metabolism and the mucosal immune system.
Maintaining gut health is the best way to keep your bodies immune system functioning at 100% so that it can do its job of preventing you from getting sick. This is why it is important to eat natural foods that boost the immune system and support a healthy gut flora that can thrive.
Do supplements really work?
The quick fix or the easy way out as I sometimes call it usually never works. Short cuts usually lead to a worse circumstance down the road. I believe some supplements work but when it comes to gut health and the immune system it only makes sense to keep it as natural as possible.
With that being said there are some products that use natural ingredients to get you the right stuff you need. I always prefer to try to give my body what it needs from foods sense most supplements are only trying to mimic nature and make it as easy as taking a pill.
The other factor to this is that through studies we have found that most supplements do not allow for maximum absorption of the nutrients. This is in my opinion due to the fact that the supplement is almost like a foreign object to the gut when it enters and also because the concentration of nutrients is so dense that before the body can absorb it all you have already emptied it out as waste.
So some supplements are okay and maybe even needed if you are on a plant based or vegan diet like B-12. The biggest thing to remember is to research the brand and check the label to be sure the product is legitimate and also never try to completely replace natures healing with a man made supplement.
The best way to boost your immune system is naturally with real food.
The Best Immune Boosting Foods
Food has become more than just something I need to not starve or to have energy to get through my day, it has become the primary agent for good overall digestive and immune health. To know what foods you should eat for immune health you need to know what nutrients you need. We all hear about vitamin C for immune health but there is so much more to it than that.
We need more than what the processed food labels tell us the daily value is for good health. Our bodies need to get more than protein and fiber to thrive. The body really craves a number of amazing vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, C, E, Iron, folate, zinc, selenium and many more.
These amazing vitamins and minerals can be found in abundance in these foods :
Spinach– That’s right Popeye knew what he was doing when he downed that can of spinach, although the raw form is obvious the best option. Spinach is high in folate, vitamin A, fiber, magnesium and Iron.
Garlic– The vampires will stay away but more importantly garlic has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. The bulbs are high in antioxidants to fright free radicals that can lead to cancer and other diseases. We use garlic in almost every meal ans so should you.
Ginger– The antioxidants in ginger cause it to have a strong anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. Ginger also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. We use ginger in our juices, smoothies and even grated over stir fries.
Turmeric– Similar to ginger this root has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can help with treating arthritis. The secret is in the yellow color which contains high levels of curcumin. Curcumin has major immune boosting properties.
Citrus Fruits– Fruits like lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits are all high in vitamin C and other vitamins that are great for a delicious quick immune boost.
Sunflower seeds– Seeds in general have so many amazing nutrients to offer. Often seeds are overlooked but should be used more often. Sunflower seeds are high in phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin b-6 and E.
Mushrooms– Mushrooms are a fungus. The idea of eating fungus can be difficult for some people but these fungi has a lot to offer. Mushrooms are high in selenium and B vitamins like niacin and riboflavin. These along with the polysaccharides help boost the immune function.
Cruciferous Veggies– We have all heard eat your veggies before. That is because at one time it was common knowledge that greens are the best source of immune boosting nutrients in the world. They all have high levels of antioxidants as well as vitamins A, C and folate. The best part is the bio active compounds that optimize immunity in the gut.
How to get more!
Now that you are familiar with some of the best foods to eat to boost your immune health, how do you get them in your body? The truth is buying the right foods is easy but preparing and cooking them can be where the real problems come in. The idea is to be creative and have more than a few ways to be sure to get as much of the right foods in your body as humanly possible.
Attempting to eat one stalk of celery throughout the day on top of my regular meal routine it would be a real struggle. That is why we like to juice. Juicing allows us to get all the amazing benefits from the immune boosting foods like greens, ginger, turmeric and spinach all in one easy to drink glass.
Another great way to get a lot at one time is to stir-fry some veggies. Mushrooms mixed with some onions and some greens like spinach or maybe broccoli over some rice or quinoa is a great nutritious immune boosting meal.
If we aren’t boosting our immune systems with a delicious juice or a tasty stir-fry we will be enjoying a nice green smoothie. We always use a lot of greens as the base because they breakdown well and then add berries and ginger to make it an amazing immune boosting combination.
Boost your Immune System with Food
When it comes to boosting your immune system there are so many ways to go about it. The food we eat is so much more important than most people realize and the secrets to health can be found in foods that are high in nutrient density. We eat a nutritarian diet for the most part. We try to completely avoid meat, dairy and processed foods.
Even with us eating mostly plant-based, juicing and making smoothies we still come up short on a few things we all need to function properly. Vitamin D is hard to find in food unless the food is fortified like dairy milk or cereal that we do not eat or recommend eating. Also, most people are deficient of vitamin B-12 which is important in red blood cell formation and preventing anemia. Vitamin B-12 is also helps to improve mood and fight against depression.
The idea is to try your best to incorporate as many of the immune boosting foods you can into your diet. If you can’t get everything you need from your food, you can use some form of natural supplement to help out. If you are eating the right way then great, but I would recommend taking a Vitamin D and B-12 supplement sense they are hard get from food.
You may pick want to start juicing or making smoothies and we want to help. If you have any questions about getting started with juicing or smoothies feel free to ask. Send us an email or comment below with any feedback or questions.