Foods that boost immunity
The body’s immunity is its capacity to withstand and ward off disease-causing germs (pathogens) when they enter the body through the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. How well our white blood corpuscles (wbc) are developed would determine how effective our anti-bodies perform. They act like the soldiers of the body, protecting its territorial integrity.
Good enough, it has been found that some foods are powerful in contributing to the body’s immunity. We need to know them, eat them regularly in this age when new diseases such as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Ebola virus are prevalent.
One is also well-advised to live cleaner and healthier lifestyles. Avoid being exposed to frequent smoke, dust, dangerous factory chemicals and gas, fumes from insecticides, generators and even the smoke from cigarettes and mosquito coil.
Listed below are immune-boosting foods and their functions.
Eggs? Yes, eggs because they are packed full with useful amino acids, zinc and B-vitamins. One boiled egg per day is recommended. Contrary to previous belief, Harvard scientists have proved that eggs do not raise blood cholesterol levels.
Eggs also build white blood cells (wbc) and antibodies, which the body needs to fight off illnesses. Eat them boiled for maximum effect. An egg a day increases blood levels of lutein by 26percent and zeaxanthin by 38percent without raising cholesterol.
Eggs may not contain as much lutein and zeaxanthin as we have them in the eye-friendly anti-oxidants present in dark green, leafy vegetables but are better able to absorb them says nutritional bio-chemist, Elizabeth Johnson.
It contains pro-biotics that strengthen the immune system. In one research, it was found that people who drink three-quarters of a cup of yoghurt daily for a year had 25 percent fewer colds than those who didn’t.
3. Brightly coloured fruits (tomato, water melon, purple apple, mango) and dark green vegetables (efo, ugu, bitterleaf).
They contain cell-protective flavonoids and anti-oxidants that are both anti-aging and immune-boosting.
4. Red ball pepper
One pepper contains a whopping 200mg or more of vitamin C (an orange provides 70mg). It helps in both the building and protection of body cells.
For centuries, the Chinese had used ginger as a cure-all for cold. Fresh ginger fights viruses by helping your body to sweat out toxins.
To enjoy it, peel it, chop to small pieces and add to shrimp mixed with vegetables that are stir-fried.
You don’t like the smell, do you? However, it is nature’s own anti-biotic. This is because it contains sulphur-based compounds that keep your body free of infection. Peel, crush it and mix with mashed potatoes.
Garlic also has anti-viral and anti-biotic properties. Two cloves a day will keep your immune system in top form. Do not cook for long to keep it potent.
7. Raw cocoa and dark chocolate
Eating raw cocoa and dark chocolate is good for one’s health as they contain very useful anti-oxidants known as flavonoids that provide numerous health benefits.
8. Sweet potatoes
Unknown to some people, sweet potatoes do not belong to the same family as the common white potato. Like other brightly-coloured, orange-yellow vegetables they are rich in beta-carotene that enhances good eyesight.
They also contain potassium, foliate, some iron. They possess plant sterols that assist to lower blood cholesterol because of the excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre.
From the Stone Age period to modern times, mushrooms have been known and used by man for medicinal purposes. Asians adore it. The Japanese, particularly have taken their time to study them. They are natural flavour enhancers in dishes because of monosodium glutamate (MSG). They are fat-free, low in calories, but rich in chemicals, especially glutamic acid that boosts the body’s immunity.
They are also powerful in fighting cancer, arthritis and lupus. Rich in copper, a single dose contains 20-40percent of daily need. All mushrooms contain good amounts of potassium, helpful in lowering blood pressure. White mushrooms are sources of selenium that prevents prostate cancer. It works with vitamin E to clean up the free radicals.
Some species of wild mushrooms are poisonous to human beings. You can grow your own mushrooms with species obtained from FIIRO, Oshodi. Generally, any mushroom you grow that is not eaten by ants or insects is poisonous. Farmers in the olden days used this to identify fruits that should be avoided by man.
10. A mixture of carrot, apple, pear and mango helps to clear the body of heat, toxins, decrease blood pressure and fight oxidation.