Archive for June, 2013

Food Sources for Immune Enhancing Nutrients

Food Sources for Immune Enhancing Nutrients
Below is a list of foods containing some of the major nutrients needed for healthy immunity. However, all nutrients play a role including the macronutrients – protein, fats and carbohydrates.
The secret is to have a healthy diet containing lots of fresh vegetables, some fresh fruit, lean animal foods (if you are not vegetarian/vegan), some nuts and seeds, and some whole grains especially the high nutrient grains such as quinoa. A variety of healthy foods is the key. It is also best to avoid the health damaging foods such as refined sugars and flours, packaged/processed foods, artificial food additives, also excessive alcohol and caffeine.

Check out my other blogs related to the immune system – Twelve Tips That Will Improve Your Immune System, Effective Everyday Actions to Improve Immunity, Herbs and Nutrients for Optimal Immune Function, Treat Flu Symptoms

Vitamin A
• Liver
• Paprika, Red Pepper, Cayenne
• Orange Sweet potatoes
• Carrots
• Dark leafy greens
• Pumpkin

B Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
• Whole grain cereals and breads, wheat germ
• Pulses/legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, chick peas
• Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli
• Animal foods including fish, egg, milk, meat, pork
• Nuts such as almonds and pecans.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
• Chicken, fish, eggs
• Pulses/legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, chick peas
• Milk and milk products such as yogurt and cheese
• Nuts
• Dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
• Chicken, salmon and in fishes like canned tuna
• Pulses/legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, chick peas
• Whole wheat, quinoa

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
• Potatoes
• Red meat, poultry, eggs
• Quinoa

Folate, folic acid, or folacin
• Leafy greens such as spinach, fenugreek, turnip greens, asparagus, etc and other fresh fruits and vegetables are all excellent sources of folate
• Liver
• Pulses/legumes such as lentils, kidney beans, chick peas

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
• Fish, shellfish
• Red meat, poultry, eggs
• Milk, milk products, cheese

Biotin
• Liver
• Egg yolks
• Salmon
• Pork
• Avocado
• Most fruits and vegetables contain some biotin, as do cheeses and whole grains

Pantothenic Acid
• Yogurt
• Avocado
• Smaller amounts in legumes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and broccoli

Vitamin C
All fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C. Some may be lost during cooking
• Berries, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, mango, pawpaw, pineapple
• Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens, sweet and white potatoes, tomatoes

Vitamin D
There are very few foods in nature contain vitamin D
• Fatty fish including salmon, tuna, and mackerel contain some
• Fish liver oils

Zinc
Many soils are low in zinc and some modern agricultural practices add to this depletion. The foods listed below will only be high in zinc if the foods are gown or the animals are raised in areas that have adequate zinc.
• Shellfish, particularly oysters
• Beef, lamb
• Nuts and seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds
• Whole grains

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Twelve Tips That Will Improve Your Immune System

Twelve Tips That Will Improve Your Immune System

When your immune system is functioning well, it is more capable of fighting infections, whatever the cause. There are also plenty of things that you can do in order to improve the strength of your immune system. Read on to discover twelve of the most effective tips.

1) Monitor your vitamin intake:
If you want to boost your body’s defenses, try to make sure that you have a balanced and adequately high vitamin and mineral intake every day. Studies suggest that resistance to disease is influenced by our nutritional status. All nutrients will have either a direct or indirect impact on the health of your immune system. Some specific nutrients include vitamin A, B Complex vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc. So, try to ingest more foods that contain these vitamins and minerals (or consider taking a multivitamin on a daily basis).

2) Be sociable:
Interesting new research has revealed that people who sustain close, affectionate friendships and relationships tend to have better health and longer lifespans. As a result, maintaining an active and fulfilling social life and trying to make new friends may help to improve your immune system.

3) Reduce your stress levels:
A range of studies on susceptibility to infection suggest that people who suffer from chronic stress end up with weaker immune systems, leaving them more vulnerable to infections like the flu. If you want to improve your own immune function, do your best to avoid stress and to find effective ways to cope with any stress that you do encounter. Try explicitly setting aside a regular block of time in which your only goal is to relax by reading, taking a bath, going for a walk or simply doing nothing.

4) Have more sex:
If you are in an intimate relationship, there are some surprising perks for your immune system. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. If you are not in a sexual relationship, all is not lost! Go back to 2) Be Sociable, and make sure this is a priority in your life.

5) Stop smoking:
In addition to making you more likely to suffer from cancer, strokes and heart attacks, studies show that smoking cigarettes can dramatically reduce your immune system’s ability to fight viruses and bacteria that you encounter.

6) Exercise more often:
Regular cardiovascular exercise improves the immune system and also helps to keep your cardiovascular system healthy at the same time. Ideal examples include swimming, cycling and using a rowing machine. Caution – over-exercising can deplete your immune system. Regular moderate exercise is best for most of us.

7) Practice good hygiene:
If you keep your hands clean by using a good quality antibacterial soap or hand wash, you will be less likely to end up falling ill after coming into contact with people who are carrying potentially dangerous viruses or bacteria.

8) Boost your intake of antioxidants:
There are promising studies that suggest that your immune system will be improved if you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables (due to the antioxidants that they contain). Although work on antioxidants remains somewhat contentious, they may protect you from toxins and help to improve your resistance to infection.

9) Adopt a good sleep pattern:
Your immune system is weakened if you sleep for less than eight hours most nights or if you regularly go to sleep in the early hours of the morning. Insomnia is a problem for many people but the good news is, there are many natural solutions that will improve the duration of sleep and also the quality of sleep.

10) Watch your alcohol consumption:
Excessive consumption of alcohol reduces the effectiveness of the immune system. If you drink alcohol try to have no more than 1 drink 4 to 5 times a week.

11) Work to improve your mood:
Recent research suggests that people who have an optimistic outlook also enjoy improved resistance to disease. This interesting result should prompt you to try and focus on the things that make you happy and grateful for the life you have.

12) Laugh often:
Finally, one interesting study found that participants had stronger immune systems shortly after watching video clips that elicited sincere laughter. This result warrants further investigation, but it may be the case that frequent laughter is correlated with a decreased likelihood of regularly falling ill.

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