Diet can have a huge impact on your immune system with some foods helping our health more than others, according to an expert.
Immunologist Doctor Jenna Macciochi – on behalf of Berocca – explained the best hints and tips when it comes to food and a strong immune system.
Speaking to The Express, the expert noted the best and words foods for maintaining your health no matter the reason.
A strong immune system can fight off colds and flus and helps protect your bodies from invading viruses that may pose threat to our health.
Additionally, your immune system plays a major role in every aspect of your mental and physical health, according to research.
In short, your immune system is your greatest health asset meaning it is important to keep it strong.
When it’s working properly, your immune system will reduce your susceptibility to infection and disease, improve your ability to recover if you do get sick and stave off unwanted inflammation, age-related immune decline and chronic disease.
According to Doctor Macciochi, oily fish is one of the best types of food to be consumed.
“The astaxanthin reddish pigment that gives the pink color to salmon, trout and seafood has potent antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects, and through these and other mechanisms, astaxanthin can enhance and improve how your immune system functions are,” she added.
Dark green vegetables which include kale, chard, spinach, rocket, Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli should also be on top of the list.
“All of these types of vegetables provide a variety of beneficial micronutrients, such as vitamin A and magnesium, but also folate, an important nutrient in supporting methylation.
“They also carry many phytonutrients and chlorophyll, shown to reduce oxidative stress and stimulate production of new immune cells from the bone marrow.”
Other staples in your diet should include legumes and garlic.
Doctor Macciochi explained: “Legumes are rich in fiber to feed and fertilize your microbiome.
“They are also a good source of plant protein.
“Garlic is a rich source of fiber and of sulfur – containing compounds known as glucosinolates which are instrumental to optimizing immune function.
“Garlic contains chemical compounds proven to display antimicrobial activity.
“We also have evidence in humans that garlic may be effective in treatment and prevention of upper respiratory viruses.”
When it comes to the optimal health value for fruits and vegetables, opt for those which are orange as these are a form of plant-based vitamin A, said Doctor Macciochi.
“It acts as an antioxidant and is particularly important in the defenses of the body barriers: skin, gut and lung,” added Doctor Macciochi.
“It supports ‘oral tolerance’ the mechanism by which our body ‘tolerates’ food and other benign items in our environment’.”
For the foods which may be wrecking your immune system and increase sickness, the five foods to stay away from according to Doctor Macciochi include:
- Foods with added sugar
- Ultra-processed foods – for example, foods that don’t have whole grain in their ingredients or contain long lists of ingredients that you wouldn’t necessarily use if you were cooking them at home
- Sugar sweetened beverages
- Foods high in saturated fat
- Processed meats.
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