There are a number of ways that your lifestyle can boost your immune systemBut one of the most important things is to eat the right foods.
So how do we choose?
It seems like every few weeks a new immune-boosting superfood emerges. But like a immunologist and functional medicineI’m here to tell you that any nutrient-rich food rich in vitamins and minerals To be an immune superfood.
However, some foods seem to stand out from the rest because of their beneficial properties. Here are five miracle superfoods that I always try to add to my diet for a strong and healthy immune system:
Mushrooms have been a staple food in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. And now we have modern science to explain the effects of these amazing mushrooms that, depending on the species, can enhance, redirect or modulate our immune activity.
My favorite is maitake, also known as “hen-of-the-woods” or “chicken-of-the-woods”. Not only do they make delicious banh tet, but they can also increase Th1 . cytokinesHelps stimulate cellular immune responses when fighting bacterial infections.
I am also a fan of shiitake mushrooms. Learn showed a pattern of immune-enhancing benefits, such as an increase in NK cells and cytotoxic T cells – both of which are beneficial in conquering viruses and cancer cells.
Finally, there is the reishi mushroom, which has been shown in learn many times to increase Th1 cytokine responses and help make chemotherapy drugs more effective. In addition, reishi extract promote immune response against certain strains of the herpes virus.
Reishi mushrooms have a hard outer shell that makes them inedible, so capsules are the most convenient form.
Ginger has some potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The spicy, aromatic root contains compounds called gingerols, show promise in preventing cardiovascular disease by reducing oxidative stress in blood vessels, as well as inflammation in the heart region.
I often recommend ginger to patients who suffer from nausea, bloating, and other GI symptoms due to imbalance in their microbiota. You can incorporate fresh ginger in savory dishes, smoothies and ginger tea, or grab a bottle of ginger juice (available at many juice shops and cafes) to drink plain or dilute in water.
Recently, a lot of attention has been focused on broccoli sprouts, a potent source of one of the best immune-supporting biochemicals: sulforaphane.
On its own, sulforaphane has shown to increase levels of certain antioxidant compounds by creating a compound in our cells called NRF-2. This is sometimes referred to as the “master regulator” of antioxidants, which means it helps increase the production of other antioxidants.
NRF-2 may play a role in reduce inflammation seen in many diseases such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and liver disease.
Most cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli, contain large amounts of glucoraphanin, which converts to sulforaphane during digestion. However, young broccoli sprouts contain 10 to 100 times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli!
The best way to eat broccoli sprouts is to eat them raw – in a salad, for example – because sulforaphane breaks down easily when cooked. I always aim to eat 2 ounces of broccoli sprouts per week.
Not only does garlic make everything taste better, but this pungent vegetable is also packed with compounds that help regulate the immune system.
Research on garlic found that it had an immunostimulatory effect – increasing the activity of NK cells, a type of immune cell that has granules with enzymes that can destroy tumor cells or cells infected with viruses.
At the same time, garlic has anti-inflammatory properties and may protect the heart by lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
It’s also great for replenishing our gut, for a number of reasons:
You can incorporate garlic into almost any recipe – so use it whenever you can – and you can also find it in supplement form if you’re not a fan of the taste.
If I had to choose a culinary compound from a natural apothecary because of its immune-supportive effects, I would choose turmeric.
The bright yellow-orange root contains a miracle compound called curcumin, which has many key benefits:
Turmeric is a great spice to use in cooking, even though it gives a bright yellow color to the skin of your tongue and teeth. And, because it is not well absorbed in the digestive tract, you need to eat a lot of it to achieve its immunomodulatory effects.
Therefore, supplementing with curcumin is the best way to obtain this beneficial compound. Dosage varies according to need. For general health, I recommend about 1,000 milligrams per day in divided doses.
Dr. Heather Moday is a board-certified allergist, immunologist, and functional medicine physician. She is also the author of “Immune Breakthrough: Your personalized plan to balance your immune system, optimize health, and build lifelong resilience. “Follow her on Instagram @theimmunityMD and Facebook.
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