Food and Immunity
What you eat can strongly influence the performance of white blood cells, the front line warriors against infection and cancer. These are the neutrophils that engulf and kill bacteria and cancer cells, and the lymphocytes that include the T-cells, B-cells and natural killer cells. The B-cells produce critical antibodies that rush to estro foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria and tumor cells. T-cells direct many immune activities and produce two chemicals called interferon and interleukin that are essential in warding off infections and cancer. Natural killer cells are called the body’s first line of defense against the development of cancer, they destroy cancer cells as well as virus-infected cells.
Much research documents that various foods and food components help control the blood concentrations of white cells and their potency. Thus, food acts to stimulate the immune system to action and to boost its current functioning.
Immune Boosting Foods
Yogurt can kill and disable bacteria and works by giving a wide-ranging boost to immune functioning. Studies have shown that yogurt can stimulate production of gamma interferon, boost activity of natural killer cells, and rev up production of antibodies.
Only the yogurt with live active cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus, which is standard in yogurt worldwide boosted interferon.
Shitake mushrooms antiviral substance called lentinan is known to exhibited strong immunostimulating activity by stimulating macrophages to increase production of tumor-fighting interleukin-1, cytotoxic, cell-destroying activity, and T-lymphocyte cells, helper cells in their manufacture of interleuin-2. Helping the immune system combat and prevent cancer.
Garlic stimulates the potency of T-lymphocytesand macrophages, key players in immune functions. Garlic extract prodded macrophges to generate more agents to kill microbes and tumor cells.
Rev up your immune system by eating all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Such plant foods contain a flood of compounds that can boost immunity, including vitamin C and beta carotene.
Go for spinach and carrots and other fruits and vegetables rich in beta carotene. Carotene boosts immune defenses against both bacterial and viral infections, as well as cancer.
A diet high in carotene foods, such as spinach, kale sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots, could provide these immune-stimulating doses of beta carotene
Be sure to eat foods high in zinc. The mineral helps drive many aspects of immunity, including production of antibodies and T-cells, as well as other white-blood-cell activity. Adult and children deficient in zinc, for example, often have more colds and respiratory tract infections.
Wine may boost your resistance to some infections by destroying or disabling disease-producing organisms. Tests have shown that wine consistently kills a number of bacteria including Salmonella, Staphyloccus and E.Coli, common causes of food poisoning.
Immune-Boosting Diet Strategies
The best diet to build resistance to infections, as well as cancer, is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially, garlic and those rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C.
Go easy on meat and especially fatty meats.
Restrict omega-6 fatty acids of the type in corn oil, safflower oil and sunflower seed oil.
Eat seafood, especially fatty fish and shellfish, as well as other foods high in zinc.
Eat yogurt regularly.
Go easy on sugar. There is some evidence it lowered immunity.