Published: 11/26/2012 - Updated: 07/20/2017
Author: Miriam Reyes
Are you wrapping yourself to avoid off colds and flu? It is a good idea. But few people know that the best way to fight flu, is feeding the immune system with vitamins and minerals that you need. And it’s better to do this sooner to avoid illness.
It may sound simple, but it's true, poor diet is the main cause of the immune system fails.
Why is it so important to eat properly?
Since the immune system needs a lot of vitamins and minerals every few days, the body replaces actively a quarter of immune cells.
When viruses attack, a strong immune system can produce 10 million antibodies per hour to protect the bloodstream and attack the enemy. Therefore, only a few days of poor nutrition can weaken the body's defense capacity.
While all the vitamins and minerals are important in the role of protecting the body, there are some that are vital for the proper functioning of our immune system:
If you wish that the white blood cells, the soldiers that protect your immune system, become fierce warriors to fight the infection, you have to feed them properly. One of the main foods of the list is copper, a mineral that acts as an injection of growth hormone to white blood cells and makes them specialized forces such as phagocytes, which are the first to act when invading germs enter your body.
Do you feel weak? Although the recommended daily value of copper is 2 mg, the average man consumes only 1.27mg daily, and women 0.96 mg. Even a minimal deficiency can impair the function of the immune system in laboratory animals and cultivated human cells.
Copper-rich foods: canned oysters, canned squid, steamed lobster, roasted soybeans, cooked beans. Other sources include seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cereals and chocolate.
When invading viruses begin to make their way, they left behind a trail of free radicals, tiny time bombs that can destroy your immune defenses. Quercetin, a natural chemical substance contained in fruits and vegetables, is one of the best defenses to defuse these bombs destruction.
Foods rich in quercetin: Recommended six to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables, a sure way to get enough quercetin and many other botanical compounds that also fight free radicals (antioxidant).
To maintain a healthy immune system, zinc is the protagonist. Among many tasks, zinc works in the spinal cord, resulting in billions of white blood cells daily. It also oversees the thymus gland where white blood cells become what are called "T cells" that are programmed to recognize specific microbes.
Foods rich in zinc: canned oysters, lean beef, pork, beans. Other sources include seafood, meats, whole grains and legumes.
Indeed, vitamin E allows the immune system to double its army of defense against viruses.
Foods rich in vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, peanuts, wheat germ, cooked spinach. Other sources include whole grains, vegetable and fish oils, margarine, salad dressings, nuts, seeds, eggs, chicken and fish.
Folate and Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 and Folate are involved whenever cells divide rapidly, as the cells of the immune system do.
Folate-rich foods: cooked blueberries, cooked spinach, cooked asparagus, cooked red beans, orange juice concentrate. Other sources include green leafy vegetables, legumes, peanuts, sunflower seeds and whole grains.
Vitamin B12 is found only in natural products such as lean meat, milk, eggs and other dairy products and meat.
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