Eat Right for a Strong Immune System
Flu season is upon us with more people affected by the flu than ever before. This may in part be due to our lifestyle and eating or drinking habits which can weaken our immune system and make a person more susceptible to infections, including influenza.
The complex immune system in the body functions to protect the body from infections, so the primary symptom of a weak immune system is more frequent infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis and even skin infections. But also digestive issues including loss of appetite and abdominal cramps can point to a less-than-normal functioning immune system. And as we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections.
One of the easiest ways for a person with a weak immune system to stay healthy is by practicing good hygiene, which includes washing the hands frequently. Proper handwashing significantly reduces illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing decreases infectious diarrhea cases by 58 percent in people with a weak immune system.
Other than obvious hygiene rules, one of the best ways to boost the immune system is to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies including a good diet.
What is Good?
Known immune boosters are foods and fruits that are heavy on antioxidants, such as blueberries, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes and dark chocolate. Especially spinach may boost the immune system, as it contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin C and vitamin E. Research also indicates that flavonoids may help to prevent the common cold in otherwise healthy people.
Ginger, turmeric and garlic are famous for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. Over the ages, garlic has been a common home remedy for colds and other illnesses. Sunflower seeds, almonds, kiwis and bell peppers form a powerful force to fight infections and boost the immune system.
Selecting those immune system boosters for your daily diet can give tremendous support for your body to stay healthy. And thy even taste good!
“As naturopathic doctor I have done extensive studies on the prevention of inflammation and the overall benefit of proper nutrition to achieve and maintain good health,” says Dr. Gashinsky. “And as a holistic dentist I have studied the relationship between the mouth and the body, and how a healthy mouth promotes a healthy body*. So it goes without saying that our practice and treatments are fully focused on allowing our patients to gain a healthier life.”
*See the Meridian Tooth Chart.
Questions? Contact us for a consultation!
NCBI: Effect of Flavonoids on Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Immune Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (May 2016); Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health (Oct 2017); Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence (Feb 2014)
Harvard Medical School: How to Boost Your Immune System
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Clean Hands Saves Lives
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy