Are there any foods for the immune system that will actually help it as we age?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes, and some of them may surprise you.
Our immune system is extremely powerful and very good at what it was designed to do, but as we age, just like the rest of our body, it starts to slow down somewhat.
It is a very complex unit and as discussed in aging and the immune system, sleep and stress are major factors in it not functioning at full strength.
There are, however, components of it, the T-cells and the Cytokines, which can really be helped with the right foods for the immune system.
Our T-cells are actually quite amazing as they have the ability to “remember” any type of invasion by bacterium, viruses, as well as any other type of foreign invasion.
Because of this ability, this system can react very quickly if any one of these invaders tries to attack again. This one simple component is the major reason we need to feed it the right nutrition.
As we age, these T-cells are not made by our immune system as quickly as they used to be, and the right nutrition can restore most of this process.
The next major component is Cytokines and they our released into our system while we are sleeping.
Their importance to our immune protection is in the role of messengers. According the Medical Dictionary, they are soluble messenger molecules that are made by our white blood cells.
They facilitate all aspects of communication between all the systems that protect our body.
As we start to age, this communication can be slowed down by any type of sleeping issues inhibiting their release, as well as the lack of proper nutrition.
Here is the first part of the list of foods for our immune system that can help, as well as why they help.
This very complex system must be fed by several key nutrients, and they include Vitamins C, E and B6, as well as Vitamin A, D and Folic acid.
It also must have a constant supply of three key minerals, Iron, Selenium, and Zinc.
The first part of the list includes:
Elderberries, which has been used to help fight infections for hundreds of years in the United States, and thousands of years throughout the world for one simple reason: antioxidants.
They are extremely rich in what is called flavonoids, which are organic in nature and are very rich with antioxidants.
Although it may not be as well-known as some other berries, it is also loaded with Vitamins A, B, as well as Vitamins C.
Next on the list is Acai Berry, and is loaded with nutrients referred to as anthocyanins. Acai Berry, because of anthocyanins, is gaining worldwide attention.
Not only are they good at feeding this system, they also help increase our energy levels, improves our blood flow, and helps our minds keep sharp.
All of these functions make them a valuable source of foods for the immune system.
Mushrooms are next as they are rich with the mineral selenium, which is very effective at fighting off, and preventing, colds and the flu.
They are also loaded with two other key B vitamins, niacin and riboflavin.
Both of these B nutrients also help keep our immune functions at or near full strength.
Oysters are well known for several health benefits for one major reason; zinc. Zinc is critical in not only making white blood cells; it also helps to activate the process.
Because of this, it will help your T-cells keep producing as we age, and assists your Cytokines in the communication process.
Watermelon is not only a great and refreshing food when it’s hot outside, it is also loaded with a special type of antioxidant referred to as glutathione.
Glutathione is considered in many circles as the “mother of all antioxidants” and helps lower your stress levels.
Spinach is often considered one of the ‘super foods” and at our age, we all remember the Cartoon Popeye and spinach. One of the major reasons it was featured on that cartoon is because it is rich in folate.
Folate helps your body with two major functions; making new cells and repairing our DNA.
The second list of foods for the immune system includes the following:
Tea, in any form, has also been used for centuries for several health issues, including this incredible system. It is loaded with two powerful antioxidants; flavonoids and polyphenols.
They have one major function in our body; they seek out and attack free radicals. Free radicals have only one mission once they enter our body; to destroy our cells in any form.
Sweet potatoes are well known for containing beta-carotene, which converts into Vitamin A in our body, but it preforms one other major function; it also fights free radicals.
However, it goes one step further as it also helps trigger oxidation, which speeds up the attack on free radicals.
Broccoli is considered one of the “basics” in foods that help the immune system, as it is rich in both Vitamin C and A, it also is loaded with glutathione like Watermelon is.
Pomegranate juice has been used since Biblical times to help treat several types of infections.
They used it topically as an extract, but it does the same thing internally, assisting this powerful system.
The final of the foods for the immune system is Ginger. It has been also used for centuries to ease the effects of the flu and it is also loaded with several antioxidants.
While this list is certainly not all inclusive, it had some powerful tools to help you feed this powerful system the nutrients it needs.
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