The immune system and food – what should you be eating?

The links between healthy food and a healthy body have been noted for many years, but still people turn to the fatty, unhealthy foods offered by junk and fast food restaurants, rather than going to the healthy, fresh produce aisle in their grocery stores and supermarkets to get what they need. When you bear in mind the great impact that your diet has on your immune system, and in turn your overall daily well being, you can understand why so many people these days are ill or sick, suffering from so much more than just the common cold and flu!

There are certain foods, often referred to as “super foods” simply because of their great immune system boosting properties. This is perhaps why these super foods have also been linked to certain medical conditions, and to be more specific, the positive benefits they can have on them. In short – if your immune system is as strong as it needs to be, you are less likely to become ill, with both chronic and minor illnesses, and thus the link between healthy food, (or super foods) your immune system, and daily well being has been formed.

Antioxidants are what most of these super foods contain. These come in various forms, but mostly are compounds within foods in the shape of minerals, vitamins and many other types of nutrients that your body will lap up and use to their full potential. Antioxidants are the best weapon to fight against free radicals, and it is these free radicals that are said to cause the most problems within the body – purging the immune system of the nutrients and ingredients it needs in order to be healthy, thus disallowing it from fighting off infections and medical complaints effectively.

There are a million and one ways in which you can increase the antioxidants in your body, which will in turn help to boost the strength of the immune system and thus giving you a better quality of daily life and well being. The list of antioxidant-rich foods is almost as long as your arm, but to name but a few we have:

  • Fresh foods that contain vitamin C – tomatoes, sweet potato, strawberries, peppers, (of any color) oranges, lemons, kiwi, broccoli, grapefruit and even snow peas
  • Fresh foods that contain vitamin E – red peppers, pumpkin, carrots, sunflower seeds and nuts
  • Fresh fruit – prunes, plums, apples, berries and raisins

As you can see, these foods are more than likely foods that you are going to eat anyway – we all love a good fruit salad in the summer and nice, fresh vegetables with our Sunday roasts with the family. It is now easier than ever to incorporate these fruits and vegetables in our diet, especially with more user-friendly steamed and frozen versions, that although do not have the same nutrient value as their fresh counterparts, are still better than nothing!

The reason that antioxidants are everywhere that you look these days, including your morning cup of tea, or in your mid afternoon snack, is because they have so many benefits. Take, for example, Quercetin. This is one antioxidant that scientists have studied recently and it has been shown to massively help your immune system but aiding in the fight against allergies, (something that can lower your immune system) and even helping to fight inflammation.

In short, antioxidants are the best things that you can think about if you want to boost your immune system and have a better daily well being. A strengthen immune system means better sleep, less in the form of medical complaints, and in general, a much better quality of life – something we could all use!