The strength of the immune system is an important factor in the response to infection. Nutrition plays a vital role in its functioning and a poor diet increases the body’s susceptibility to infection and exacerbates autoimmune diseases.
Even single nutrient deficiencies can compromise the immune system. Infections also increase the demand for nutrients to help fight infection and repair the damage to tissues. As well as being good for general health, a diet with plenty of organic fruit and vegetables (predominantly raw) is beneficial for the immune system. Milk and foods of animal origin often contain residues of antibiotics and steroid hormones that can weaken immunity.
The best way to keep the immune system working well is to stay in good general health. Diet, medications, pollution, toxic chemicals, stress levels and emotional state all affect the workings of the immune system.
Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently.
- Try to minimize stress.
Adequate stores of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6,C, D and E may improve the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. These are best sourced by a quality diet.
Some foods that can boost your immune function include: citrus, capsicum, broccoli, garlic, ginger, spinach, almonds, turmeric, green tea, sunflower seeds and papaya (preferably organic).