Top Weight Loss Products

Eating to Strengthen Your Immune System

These Healthy Eating Habits Strengthen Your Immune System

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Doing what you can to strengthen your immune system is always a great idea, but it’s important to understand just what you’re doing and how.  Despite the name, it is not a group of organs in your body that works together to fight off all illnesses. Instead, it is a combination of the way your entire body functions that helps it to keep infection at bay. It involves the participation of a number of organs, but also your tissues, and over 15 different specialized cells and basophils. They all work together to defend the body from pathogens such as harmful viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that can cause us harm.

How to Strengthen Your Immune System

The complexity of the network of organs, tissues and cells that must work seamlessly to defend your body mean that being able to strengthen your immune system can take a number of improvements to your lifestyle. Fortunately, none of them are difficult, and some are quite convenient and enjoyable!

Aside from taking an immune system support supplement, which can also be very helpful, there is a great deal you can do with your diet to give your body a hand at fighting off pathogens. By adding those supplements and the right dietary changes to a lifestyle including physical activity, adequate sleep and stress control, you’ll be giving yourself every advantage possible.

To be clear, this won’t guarantee that you won’t ever get sick.  Whether or not you are infected by a virus or bacteria doesn’t have to do with the strength of your immune system. It’s just not how it works.  It has to do with exposure. That said, the severity of your illness and its length can often be affected by the strength of your immune system.

Great Foods and Eating Habits to Strengthen Your Immune System

The following are some great tips for being able to strengthen your immune system so that it is best able to fight off pathogens.

Eat Foods with a High Nutrient Density

This refers to choosing foods that have a high nutrient content when compared to their calories. So, for every calorie you eat, you’re getting vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, proteins, fiber, and more.  The nutrients most commonly associated with the immune system include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K
  • Selenium
  • Lycopene
  • Protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Probiotics

Of course, this is not a complete list, but it does include some of the nutrition superstars in this area.

Choose Plant-Based Meals

This doesn’t mean that you need to suddenly adopt a vegan lifestyle. However, replacing a few animal-based meals with plant-based dishes on a regular basis has been shown to offer a spectrum of health, nutrition and overall mortality-reducing benefits.  Even if you do eat meat and other animal-based foods on a regular basis, concentrate on getting 5 to 8 servings of colorful produce every single day. The colors matter, so mix them up.  Reds, yellows, oranges, greens, blues and whites are all often fantastic for the nutrients they contain. On top of that, don’t forget mushrooms!

Watch Your Added Sugars

The keyword here is “added”.  Sugars naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables are not the culprit here. Added sugars are the ones that don’t naturally occur in foods but that are added to the ingredients, such as sugar, honey, agave nectar, syrup, and a long string of other names you’ll find in product ingredients lists.  They’re high in foods like pop, baked goods and candy, but can slip into a whole range of other foods too, such as sauces! 

Added sugars can cause inflammation in your body and may be harmful to your immune response. They might also alter your microbiome in a way that reduces your body’s defenses against pathogens. It’s best to keep that to a minimum each day.

Think of Alcohol as a Rare Treat

There’s nothing wrong with having a drink now and again. However, drinking alcohol on a regular basis has been associated with immunity-related issues.  Drinking regularly or heavily can make it more difficult for your body to defend itself against respiratory diseases, as well as the common cold and the flu (influenza). It alters the beneficial bacteria in your microbiome as well, which can also alter your body’s defenses.  Therefore, if you want to strengthen your immune system, one of the easiest things for you to do is to limit your alcohol intake.