An immune system is a collection of mechanisms within humans that protects against infection by identifying and killing pathogens. It detects pathogens ranging from viruses to parasitic worms and distinguishes them from the organism's normal cells and tissues. Detection is complicated as pathogens adapt and evolve new ways to successfully infect the host organism. Thus we can say that the human immune system is a truly amazing constellation of responses to attacks from outside the body.
Our immune system is remarkably effective, most of the time. It may be interesting to know that our immune system has a series of dual natures. The most important of which is self/non-self recognition. There are others like general/specific, natural/adaptive, innate/acquired, cell-mediated/humoral, active/passive, primary/secondary. Parts of the immune system are antigen-specific which means that they recognize and act
Immune System Health in the Diet
One of the easiest ways to increase the efficacy and power of the immune system is choosing foods carefully. Many foods contain important nutrients to increase the number and strength of the various cells which help to fight off foreign infections. Vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids are of particular use to build immune system health. Some of the top sources for these nutrients are:
Guava, papaya, stawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, orange, grapefruit, and pineapple for vitamin C
Seeds, vegetable oils, and whole grains for vitamin E
Beef, oysters, crab, turkey (dark meat), and beans for zinc
Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme for carotenoids
Citrus fruits, red and blue berries and grapes (esp. black grapes), onions, garlic and buckwheat for bioflavonoids
Cereals, nuts (esp. brazil nuts), legumes, beef, and tuna for selenium
Fish (esp. tuna), flaxseeds, walnuts, beans, winter squash, and olive oil for omega-3 fatty acids
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Supplements are also needed because it is a challenge today to get sufficient nutrition from the foods we eat. The foods we eat are over-processed and void of many essential nutrients, grown in soils that have been over-planted and saturated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Vitamin and mineral deficiency subjects us to more diseases, aging, sickness, resulting in a weaken immune system . The good news is that it is possible to significantly boost the immune system and obtain the nutrients your bodies need from vitamin and mineral products.
These "friendly bacteria" help to keep your digestive tract healthy and appear to have some beneficial effect on your immune system. Probiotics may be found in dietary supplements or as a nutritional ingredient in yogurt and other foods. Research supports the use of probiotics for reducing the symptoms and duration of the common cold. Your best bet for keeping healthy and reducing your risk for catching the cold or flu is to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise and enough sleep each night. You can also reduce your risk of influenza by getting a flu shot at the beginning of the flu season.
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