Immunity is the buzz word now globally for quite a long time. After a year-long of sufferings due to COVID-19 pandemic the 2021 has arrived like a fresh dawn Though the new year does not guarantee the situation to get any better, but we can at least say that we are now more mature to handle the pandemic situation. Certain habits – washing hands frequently, use of masks and sanitizer have become integral part of life. Along with this we have learnt that this illness can be averted if we internally can boost our immunity system. There are so many supplements available in the market to increase the immunity power of our body, but when your foods can work as potent immunity booster, we can control taking such synthetic supplements by adding more immunity boosting foods into our daily diet.
So, in today’s article, we will first understand the basic immune functions and how our foods can be saviour by acting as natural immune booster if we can incorporate those foods in our meals.
What is immunity system and how does it work?
Human body has amazing capacity to detect any danger that might harm the body. If it senses any such situation body has its own defensive mechanism to fight against those odds. There are mainly two types of defence line available, one is innate immunity, that includes: human skin to mucus layer- they act like a barrier & try to stop foreign intruders from coming inside the body, but if somehow any particles, be it virus, bacteria, protozoa enter the body there are more specific kind of defensive action taken by the body- this innate immunity is very prompt in action. Whereas. another type of immune response is the delayed one, that is called – Adaptive immunity. These are T-cells and B-cells mediated immunity, these cells are found in white blood cells (WBCs).
Though there are some abnormal situation might initiate by faulty immune actions, like-
Allergies– body responds to some particles (certain protein comes from foods like prawns, eggs etc) which are not at all harmful and if the situation worsens, might lead to severe health hazards. Allergic reaction may also start in presence of polluted air, pollens, sunlight, dust etc.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: a chronic inflammatory situation in joints of hands and feet experienced by individuals with this auto-immune disorder.
Lupus: In this diseased condition, body’s own tissues get damaged by faulty immune response.
There are so many other diseases can take place due to flawed immune function, thus it can be said that there is profound importance of human immunity system.
How to boost the immune system?
There is evidence that show that one can boost the immunity by adding good foods in their plates. Food plays pivotal role in regulating immune functions.
Best foods for immune system:
One should incorporate as many colorful foods possible to their daily diet. t will not only increase the amount of vitamins and minerals- integral part of uninterrupted immunity mechanism , but also adds flavors and makes the foods palatable. Here are a few nutrients that should be in your daily meals abundantly to ensure good immunity:
Vitamin- A helps to provide “first level of defense” against invading micro-organisms , as vitamin – A protects the epithelial layers (the outer surface of organs). Not only this, Vitamin A helps in humoral (antibody mediated) and cellular immunity as well. In children with HIV, Vitamin-A supplements are proven to be beneficial for reducing morbidity and mortality rates.
Food sources of Vitamin -A :
Plants: carrots, spinach, peppers,apricots, papaya, mangoes, sweet potatoes,
Animals: oily fish, egg yolk, milk, yougurt livers (but only once in a week), cod liver oil.
There are also some vitamin-A fortified foods available readily ion the market. But always prefer to include Vitamin-A from natural foods.
Iron deficiency leads to increased susceptibility to infections. Iron helps in cell-mediated immunity and phagocytic activities of neutrophils( component of Red Blood Cell). if there is less amount of iron in diets, then it starts to affect Immune system, thus enhances the chances to get easily infected.
Food sources of Iron:
Though, both the plants and animal sourced foods can meet the daily requirements of iron, but animal sourced iron are better absorbed than that of the plants. 50 gm of green leafy vegetables in diet daily, can easily fill up fairly the iron requirements.
Plants: soybeans, lentils,legumes, peas,
Animals: livers of chicken and lamb, egg yolk, meat, sea-fish- like sardines
Do you know that iron content in foods can be increased by cooking in the iron vessels!
Cell-mediated immunity hampers in absence of sufficient Zinc in daily diets. Even mild Zinc deficiency can lead to impaired immune functions.
Food Sources of Zinc:
In case of Zinc as well, absorption of Zn from animal foods is much faster than it is from the plants .
Plants: Outer layers of grains, nuts, fruits, like- and vegetables (
Animal: Oysters, meats, eggs, dairy products.
Vitamin -C also contribute to maintain a good immunity response to humans. it helps to protect body from seasonal flu and other infections.
Food Sources of Vitamin-C:
Vitamin- C easily gets destroyed by heat and light if over exposed. Thus, it should be stored properly. It is widely available in fruits and vegetables.
Plants: sprouts, amla, citrous fruits, like orange, guava, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, cabbage.
Animals: in fish, meat, eggs.
To conclude, there are naturally abundant foods which helps to promote good immunity . Unnecessary supplements can be avoided if proper guidelines regarding foods can be followed. there are professionals who can help you with all these. Do not hold back and just check for a professional , if needed and ensure a healthy disease free life, as you know by now that Food can be your medicines!
If you have any queries related to foods, feel free to ask us.
Food Science, B. Srilakshmi
Nutrition Science, B. Srilakshmi
Read the First Episode of this series here : https://getinsight.blog/let-food-be-your-medicine-know-the-terms-1st-episode/
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