Dr. Melhem Harmouch
Foods that enhance the immunity supply the body with what is needed not only to fight pathogens, but also other sicknesses linked to immunity such as Arthritis. In addition, chances of cancer are reduced if these foods are consumed according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Supplying the body more than 5 times fold the daily value of vitamin A, sweet potatoes are major immune boosting foods. By keeping the mucous membranes in our GI tract and lungs healthy, vitamin A fortifies the natural defense against germs. Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed baked, mashed, or sautéed while still retaining it nutritional value.
This calorie-poor fungus has an abundance of nutrients such as Vitamins B and D, selenium, and Potassium. However, it’s the beta-glucan found in mushrooms that strengthens the immune system and reduces cancer and tumor risk. Beta glucan is mostly found in shiitake, oyster and split gill mushrooms.. A daily dose of one ounce of mushrooms, cooked or not, is sufficient.
Historically, honey’s medical benefits have been praised..The combination of sugar levels, acidity, and phytochemicals help in the battle against bacteria. It is occasionally used to facilitate the healing of wounds The medical benefits of honey are attained from ingesting 1-5 tablespoons of unpasteurized honey. This can be done by replacing sugars and artificial sweeteners with natural honey. Mind that children beneath the age of one and those with very weak immune systems should abstain from raw honey.
Yogurt is loaded with pro-biotics that help improve the body’s immune response, lower symptoms of inflammation, and hinder the growth of harmful bacteria in the belly. These benefits are found in all yogurt products that have “live and active cultures” in their composition, such as Greek yogurt. Aside from getting the dose of bacteria that enhances immunity, consuming 4-6 ounces daily, Greek yogurt also supplies the body with Calcium, vitamin D, proteins, and potassium.
Green tea helps lowering the risk of different types of cancer due to its richness in antioxidants. A Chinese Medical review article suggests green tea also fights the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Although it helps the immunity, over consumption of green tea my affect iron bioavailability due to its richness in caffeine. One to two cups of green tea a day are sufficient to reap the benefits at no health cost.
Aside from its flavorful benefits, garlic is rich in a chemical called allicin that is thought to help fight off infections caused by Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Although no definitive proof is there, higher garlic consumption may help fight off the common cold. Eating one raw crushed clove of garlic a day boosts your immune system.
Blueberries are a valuable source for immunity boost. They offer a high fiber – low calorie option. They are also rich in Vitamin C and manganese and polyphenols, which act as both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components. Additionally, pterostilbene present in blueberries, which in combined with vitamin D, increases the Activity of genes relevant to immunity. Recommended daily dose for immune benefits is one cup.
Zinc is needed by the body to make T-lymphocytes, the infection fighting white blood cells. Insufficient zinc levels render the body unable to fight infection.
The amount of zinc present in three ounces of cooked oysters is almost 5 times the needed daily value. If oysters are not your cup of tea, zinc could be gained from Alaskan king crab, lean hamburger, or fortified breakfast cereal.