Saturday, February 28, 2009

Boosting your immune system

I found this cool information on my MSN today, check it out it just might help you beet the winter downs.

Eat right this winter and you might just reduce your chances of falling victim to the common cold.
For your health: Five immune system boosting foods to add to your weekly grocery list.

Garlic may be stinky but it just may help stave off the winter sniffles. A 2001 study found that people who took a daily garlic supplement that contained the compound allicin (allicin is produced when raw garlic is crushed or chopped) decreased their risk of cold by fifty percent. That’s not all. Those in the study who did have cold symptoms: sore throat, sniffles, etc sped up their recovery time significantly faster than those who took a placebo. Get allicin from the real deal: raw chopped or crushed garlic, anywhere from one to three cloves daily.

Shellfish & Beef
Oysters, crab, beef, even poultry and pork provide the body with the much needed mineral zinc, which in addition to its potent antioxidant power, also plays a significant role in cell growth and development and healthy immune response. Women should aim to get 9 mgs of zinc daily, men 11 mgs. Other zinc-rich foods: red meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, and wheat germ. For vegetarians, legumes, whole grains and nuts are good plant sources of the mineral.

Oranges like many other fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamin C. A number of studies have illustrated vitamin C’s beneficial effects on health. Though there’s no conclusive evidence to indicate that it can prevent a cold, vitamin C can support a healthy immune system and aid in your body’s ability to recover better if and when you do get sick. A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C further enhances health by taking on cell-damaging free radicals. Aim to eat 7 to 10 fruits and vegetables daily, or take a daily vitamin C supplement (500 mgs). Vitamin C-rich foods include: red pepper, cantaloupe, kiwi, orange juice, broccoli, kale and spinach.

Bacteria are good for you, or the active bacteria in yogurt and kefir appear to be anyway. A great source of calcium and protein, yogurt also contains healthy bacteria that some researchers believe contribute to a healthy digestive tract. These gut-friendly bacteria are believed to bolster the immune system’s response to unhealthy bacteria and increase resistance to immune-related diseases and infections. A yogurt a day or a daily probiotic may indeed keep you in cold fighting shape.

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A, specifically a group of compounds known as provitamin-A carotenoids. In addition to keeping bones and eyes healthy, vitamin A supports the immune system’s ability to fight bacteria and infection. Vitamin A-rich foods include carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach. Aim to get five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

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