This is because they are rich in vitamin C, with about 75 mg per medium orange, states Dr. This tool does not provide medical advice. Socialize More People with richer social lives enjoy better health and longevity than loners do. The answer is "yes" if you're uncomfortable, or if you're going to be outdoors for an extended period where such problems as frostbite and hypothermia are a risk. Propolis Propolis is a bee resin and one of the most broad-spectrum antimicrobial compounds in the world, if not the broadest spectrum, according to master herbalist Donnie Yance.
Malnutrition impairs immune function. Adequate protein intake is also important; the source can be plant or animal. Medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake and reishi contain beta-glucans complex carbohydrates that enhance immune activity against infections and cancer and reduce allergies cases of inappropriate immune system activity. One substance to avoid is simple sugar. Brigitte Mars, herbalist and author of The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicines , notes that sugary foods and juices impair immune function; research bears her out.
Compared with formula-fed babies, those nourished at the breast have fewer serious infections. While acute stress pumps up the immune system, grinding long-term duress taxes it. For instance, psychological stress raises the risk for the common cold and other viruses.
Less often, chronic stress can promote a hyper-reactive immune system and aggravate conditions such as allergies, asthma and autoimmune disease. Stress-reducing activities such as meditation produce positive changes in the immune system.
Massage has shown to improve immune function in studies of Dominican children with HIV. Quiet music can aid recovery from everyday hassles and may therefore buttress immune function. Moderate exercise discharges tension and stress and enhances immune function. In a study, researchers took obese, sedentary, postmenopausal women and assigned half of them to stretching exercises once a week and the other half to at least 45 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.
At the end of the year-long study, the stretchers had three times the rate of colds as the moderate-exercise group. Sleep is a time when growth-promoting and reparative hormones knit up the raveled sleeve of daily life. Sleep deprivation activates the stress response, depresses immune function and elevates inflammatory chemicals which cause you to feel ill. Chronic sleep deprivation raises the risk of the common cold. Mothers whose small children interrupt their sleep have more respiratory infections, particularly if those wee ones go to day care.
People with richer social lives enjoy better health and longevity than loners do. You may think that the more people you interact with, the more chances you have for picking something up. Compared with the lone wolves, the social butterflies were less susceptible to developing common colds, and, if they did get sick, they had fewer symptoms for a shorter period of time. Many of us count furred and feathered companions as friends, and it turns out they do us a world of good.
Animals such as dogs and horses get us outside exercising. Stroking an animal stirs feelings of well-being, lowers blood pressure and, according to recent research, boosts the immune system.
Researchers assigned college students to pet either a stuffed dog or a live dog. Those who petted a real dog had a significant increase in levels of salivary IgG, an antibody immune protein that fights infection. Those who petted the stuffed dog just felt silly.
While having lots of friends is healthy, science also shows that intimate, sexual relationships have immune system perks. Tobacco smoke triggers inflammation, increases respiratory mucus, and inhibits the hairlike projections inside your nose cilia from clearing that mucus. Children and adults exposed to tobacco smoke are more at risk for respiratory infections, including colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis and middle ear infections.
Beneficial microorganisms colonize our intestinal, lower urinary and upper respiratory tracts. You can consume such bacteria in the form of live-cultured products such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Probiotic supplements, available at natural food stores, may reduce the risk of antibiotic-induced diarrhea, viral diarrhea, vaginitis and respiratory infections.
Vitamin D plays a number of roles in promoting normal immune function. Vitamin D deficiency correlates with asthma, cancer, several autoimmune diseases e. One study linked deficiency to a greater likelihood of carrying MRSA methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the nose.
Unfortunately, nearly one-third of the U. Because few foods contain much vitamin D, your best bet is to regularly spend short periods of time in the sun without sunscreen , and to take supplements in northern climes during the colder months. Studies link deficiencies of zinc, selenium, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E to reduced immune function. But scientists have yet to pinpoint exact levels of these nutrients for optimal immune function, much less whether dietary supplementation really helps the average, well-fed American.
For instance, research on vitamin C for prevention and treatment of the common cold has been inconclusive. Some micronutrients, notably vitamin A, can be toxic in overdose. Excessive levels of zinc paradoxically suppress immune function. A varied, plant-based diet and a good multivitamin supplement should meet your needs. Routine vaccinations have had a huge impact on reducing, and in many cases nearly eradicating, a number of infectious diseases.
Most immunizations occur during childhood. Vaccinations for adults to consider include yearly influenza vaccines, tetanus boosters, the shingles vaccine for people 60 and up, and the pneumococcus vaccine for people over the age of A long list of medicinal plants contain chemicals that enhance immune system activity, including echinacea, eleuthero also called Siberian ginseng , ginseng Asian and American , astragalus, garlic, and shiitake, reishi and maitake mushrooms.
Garlic is the favorite choice of many. When someone in my family sniffles, I make an immune soup based on a recipe Brigitte Mars shared with me years ago:. Sauté onions, shiitake mushrooms and chicken, adding just enough water to keep the chicken from drying out. Add fresh vegetables such as carrots and celery. Cover with plenty of water. Toward the end of cooking, add Italian seasonings thyme, rosemary, oregano , which are tasty and antimicrobial, and the chopped, cooked chicken.
Before serving, add fresh, pressed garlic one to two cloves per person and remove the astragalus roots. Some people respond to front-page news about microbes — bird flu, flesh-eating bacteria, pathogenic E.
But the science says to get a little dirty. Feeding your body certain foods may help keep your immune system strong. If you're looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store.
Plan your meals to include these 15 powerful immune system boosters. Most people turn to vitamin C after they've caught a cold. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells. These are key to fighting infections. Because your body doesn't produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it's easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy. Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table.
The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all. Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world.
It adds a little zing to food and it's a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses.
Ginger may also help decrease nausea. While it's used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. Ginger may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties, according to recent animal research. Spinach made our list not just because it's rich in vitamin C. It's also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
He recommends consuming 15 to 25 mg of zinc a day for a strong immune system and states that 3 oz. Broccoli is another healthy food for boosting the immune system. The Cleveland Clinic states that pollution, excess exposure to sunlight and cigarette smoke all damage the immune system by releasing free radicals.
Yet eating vegetables such as broccoli helps to negate that damage and keep the immune system strong. Broccoli can be steamed, sautéed, grilled or even eaten raw with dressing for taste. Video of the Day. Does Dairy Impair the Immune System?
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