11 Best Foods For Your Immune System

Explore Everyday Health

Superfoods That Fight Colds
The water extract and the polysaccharides fraction of reishi exhibited significant anti-tumor effect in several tumor-bearing animals mainly through its immune system enhancing activity. And who is Vicky Budd's new mystery man? Differential effect on cell-mediated immunity in human volunteers after intake of different lactobacilli. Immune boosting pumpkin pie spices. The best water for your health is one that filters all harmful contaminants, helps to balance pH levels and gives you the added benefit of antioxidants. Bing Site Web Enter search term: Vitamin D-enriched mushrooms are best made from June until September and can be dried as the high vitamin D levels generated will last for more than a year!

Health Topics

20 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

Stress of any kind, psychological or physical, increases our need for this vitamin. When you think vitamin C, think more than orange juice. You may be surprised to learn that broccoli contains three times as much vitamin C as citrus. Even potatoes are packed with this helpful nutrient. Shiitake mushrooms appear to be powerful immune stimulants. They contain an antiviral substance that boosts T-cells and macrophages, large cells that engulf and destroy foreign particles.

This beefy mushroom is becoming more readily available in many supermarkets as demand for it increases. Several studies indicate that the "fragrant bulb" does as much for our immune systems as it does for our taste buds. It appears to increase not only the numbers of natural killer cells but also their potency.

T-cells, as well, are stimulated by garlic intake. This mineral positively affects many immune mechanisms, from the thymus to antibodies to T-cells. An Italian study found that small amounts of zinc quickly raised blood levels of T-cells in elderly people to those usually seen in much younger people. Since borderline zinc deficiencies are quite common, it's important to eat plenty of legumes such as black-eyed peas and pinto beans, and adequate amounts of whole grain breads; the yeast helps make the zinc available.

Pumpkin and squash seeds are particularly rich in zinc, and make a delicious snack. Although beta carotene is best known in the huge carotenoid family, there is evidence that many members of this antioxidant group are helpful to our immune systems.

Studies indicate that a high intake of carotenoid-rich foods orange-colored vegetables and fruits, in particular increase T-cells, natural killer cells, and antibody response. Pumpkins and winter squashes, as well as carrots, peaches, and cantaloupe, are especially good sources, though many green vegetables are also rich in carotenoids.

Several herbs have extensive folk histories that indicate they can help us fight a variety of diseases. And, in the last few decades, laboratory studies have shown that indeed many of these herbs contain substances that work specifically to boost the immune system in various ways. Echinacea purple coneflower is perhaps the best known of the Western immune-stimulating herbs. This attractive perennial grows in many cultivated gardens, but was originally a wildflower commonly found in the Midwest.

Native Americans used echinacea for anything from blood purification to snake bite. Laboratory studies show echinacea to enhance the immune system through several mechanisms, most notably through activating T-cells and increasing virus-fighting interferon.

It's particularly helpful with yeast and ear infections, and the common cold. This pungent root stimulates the production of interferon, besides aiding with nausea and being just plain delicious. Grate some into vegetables, or treat yourself to small pieces of the candied root. Licorice has been used for thousands of years, in Eastern as well as Western cultures, by people wishing to benefit from its medicinal properties. It's particularly helpful in fighting viruses such as influenza and herpes.

If you like your licorice sweet, read labels when buying licorice candy. Many of those tasty black twists are flavored with anise rather than the real thing. And a word of warning: Approximately 50 million people in the U. Some people are even at risk of dying from severe allergic reactions to various substances that are benign or only slightly irritating to most people. Even when allergy symptoms like hives, sneezing and migraine are not life-threatening and thankfully, they usually are not , they can certainly affect our ability to enjoy life.

Health professionals often disagree about the precise definition of what constitutes an allergy. Some call any sensitivity reaction an allergy, while others claim that only reactions involving a specific antibody called IgE are true allergies. And there are many opinions in between these definitions. In general, it is agreed that an allergic reaction is one that involves the immune system in varying ways. The immune system is designed to attack threats to the body such as bacteria and viruses.

In the case of allergy, the immune system reacts to a harmless substance as though it were a threat. It mobilizes antibodies which attach themselves to the allergen as well as to basophils and mast cells -- defensive cells packed with histamine.

The combination is explosive: Symptoms can appear virtually anywhere in the body; a skin rash may be the result of poison ivy or something you ate.

Sneezing, and itchy eyes. Eczema and other rashes. Bloating, diarrhea, headaches, usually from food sensitivities. Anaphylactic shock, a rare but severe allergic reaction that can lead to death. Growing on decaying wood, or worse cow patties, anyone? In addition to being loaded with vitamins, Maitake has a special polysaccharide component called Beta 1,6 glucan , a very close relative of the Beta 1,3 glucan in the Shiitake see below.

Beta-glucans stimulate the immune system. Many of the compounds in the cell structures of mushrooms are actually used as adjunctive cancer treatments throughout Asia—in fact, Maitake is approved by the Japanese government for just this purpose. The Shiitake mushroom is one of the most widely cultivated specialty species of mushroom in the world, and is deeply valued for its medicinal effects, not to mention the fact that it tastes delicious.

It contains enzymes and vitamins that do not normally appear in plants—like all 8 essential amino acids and one of the essential fatty acids, linoleic acid. The caps contain more nutrients than the stems. This superstar mushroom contains beta 1,3-glucan , a polysaccharide that has potent immune-stimulating effects, 2 and a close relative of the beta 1,6 glucan found in Maitake see above.

When beta glucans bind to immune system cells like NK cells, T-cells and macrophages, the activity of these cells is increased. Mushrooms are, after all fungus, and maybe the cells think the harmless little critters are dangerous. It also appears to help inhibit tumor growth in mice. In traditional Chinese medicine, Reishi is still considered to be among the highest class of tonics. Even the conservative and highly regarded Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has Reishi mushroom listed on its website, stating that Reishi mushrooms stimulate the immune system through their positive effect on macrophages and other immune compounds.

Keep alcohol consumption low or moderate. Drink more tea up to mid day - D rinking tea appears to boost the immune system. Non-tea drinkers who downed two to four small cups of black tea per day for two weeks appeared to be better able to fight off bacterial infections.

As an explanation for tea's benefits, experiments in the lab revealed that an ingredient found in black, green, oolong and pekoe teas boosted the ability of immune system cells to attack a bacterial invader. The experiments used ethylamine, which is produced when the tea ingredient L- theanine is broken down in the liver. Massage therapy reduces cortisol levels. Pray, meditate, listen to music, or find a way to still your mind.

Do yoga , or relaxed breathing and stretching, at least once or twice a week. Herbs and nutrients that influence or boost the Immune system On this page I mention certain herbs and nutrients that have an influence.

I wish to emphasize that the research in this area is quite incomplete and we need to learn much more before making any definitive recommendations. As a general rule it is best to use these immune system booting herbs for a limited time or with breaks, as opposed to uninterrupted daily use for months and years.

Too high a dosage or taking these herbs for too long without a break may actually reduce immunity or have positive or negative effects that we are not yet familiar with.

Please realize that fruits for instance berries and vegetables contain many natural antimicrobial agents. There are countless supplements involved in supporting or boosting a healthy immune system, at least initially. The ones mentioned here are only a small fraction. You can visit each site to learn more.

If you have an immune system deficiency or a weak immune system, discuss with your health care provider before taking any of these immune system supplements for prolonged periods. Also, please keep in mind that the term "boosting" is not a scientific term.

The immune system is incredibly complicated and while certain aspects of it may be enhanced by a particular herb or dietary supplement, another aspect of it may be harmed. This whole issue is extremely complicated and it is very very difficult, practically impossible, to measure all the various factors and influences and the outcome from the use of the medicinal herbs and mushrooms. There are countless types of immune cells, globulins, hormones, different kinds of proteins and other substances that have an influence and it is nearly impossible to measure all their interactions and effects on the body over time.

Each person is different depending on their genetics, diet, lifestyle factors, environment, sleeping habits, etc. For an excellent, comprehensive, daily multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement, consider MultiVit Rx. Flavonoids -- Most flavonoids, including Quercetin , have anti-germ activity. Colostrum has immune influencing compounds that could boost the immune system in certain individuals. Garlic bulb has many medicinal properties, including anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral..

Vitamin C is known as ascorbic acid Vitamin D supplementation is helpful to those who do not get enough sun exposure. Vitamin E natural complex is preferable to synthetic dl alpha tocopherol Zinc mineral is particularly important who are zinc deficient or have a diet which provides little amounts of this mineral.

Andrographis has become popular in Scandinavia for use during winter upper respiratory infections. Astragalus is used by traditional Chinese doctors to stimulate the immune system. In a test tube study, Astragalus was found to have anti herpes simplex virus activity. Beta glucan -- one mouse study shows daily ingestion of Beta-Glucan may offset the increased risk of upper respiratory infection associated with stress. Cat's Claw Uncaria tomentosa or Una do Gato is a medicinal plant from the Amazon River basin that is widely used for inflammatory disorders.

Cat's Claw is found in Joint Power Rx. This product contains glucosamine and chondroitin. Echinacea plant extract is widely used for upper respiratory tract infections. Elderberry has a number of important compounds including anthocyanins which are powerful antioxidants and have immune system boosting properties. Major isolated constituents in Olive-Leaf-Extract strongly inhibit the classical pathway of the complement system.

Oregano -- Numerous laboratory and animal studies indicate oregano has immune system stimulating effects, blood sugar control properties, antioxidant, and anti-fungal, anti-parasite, and anti-bacterial activities. Probiotics including acidophilus and bifidobacterium -- Probiotics have been defined as live microorganisms that when ingested have a beneficial effect in the prevention and treatment of specific medical conditions.

These microorganisms are believed to exert biological effects through a phenomenon known as colonization resistance, whereby the indigenous anaerobic flora limits the concentration of potentially harmful mostly aerobic germs in the digestive tract.

Prebiotics have also been found to be of benefit in reducing the odds of catching a cold or flu. Propolis from bee hives. Propolis supplement is sold over the counter. Cordyceps could be of benefit. Maitake mushroom or extract could be of benefit.

Reishi is a the common medicinal Chinese herb , a fungus with a variety of biological activities. Reishi has long been used as a folk remedy for promotion of health and longevity in China and other oriental countries. The most attractive character of this kind of medicinal fungus is its effect on the immune system and anti-tumor activities. Immune-enhancing effects of Maitake Grifola frondosa and Shiitake Lentinula edodes extracts.

MultiVit Rx Supplement Facts: Products formulated by a medical doctor Mind Power Rx - for healthy brain function and memory enhancement Passion Rx - highly popular sexual enhancement product for men and women Prostate Power Rx - for optimal prostate health with saw palmetto herb Eyesight Rx -- for healthy vision, results sometimes seen within hours.

Nutrient intake and immune function of elderly subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. Food intake, aging, and immune function share complex influences.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine relationships between nutrient intakes from food and dietary supplements and a biomarker of immune function. Excess vitamin A intake was associated with worse immune response. Prevention of infection Proper washing with regular soap and water works just fine to prevent the spread of germs and there is no clear evidence that antibacterial soaps, wipes and other products are any better.

Common words used to describe parts of the immune system Antibody: A protein, made by B lymphocytes, that reacts with a specific antigen. Any molecule capable of stimulating an immune response. The smallest living unit of tissue, composed of a nucleus and cytoplasm surrounded by a membrane.

The nucleus houses DNA, and the cytoplasm contains structures organelles that carry out the cell's functions. A synonym for antibody. A white blood cell. Lymphocytes and neutrophils, among others, are leukocytes. The main immune cell of the lymphatic system, further categorized as B lymphocytes which produce antibodies and T lymphocytes which help the body distinguish self from nonself. A large cell that engulfs ingests microbes after they have been targeted for destruction by the immune system.

A group aggregation of atoms chemically combined to form a unique chemical substance. A type of lymphocyte that can kill certain microbes and cancer cells.

A large white blood cell leukocyte that ingests antigens and other substances. Two or more amino acids chemically bonded to form a single molecule. A large number of amino acids chemically bonded in a chain. Proteins are large peptides.

Powerful New Technology For The Immune System - Request My #1 Recommendation!