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Immune System Booster – Food, Herbs and Activities

The Lymphatic System

As recently as 75 years ago the majority of the world’s population were using mostly herbs to heal themselves. Even now the majority of people in third world countries depend on indigenous plants for medicine and many of this medicinal plants are very effective. Some times we forget food is also a healer and not just something that provides nutrition to our body. In many developing countries the practice of herbs and foods to boost the immune system and to heal is used widely.

Now a days we eat overly processed food full of chemicals that has lost its vital nutrient. We eat to much fast food that is full of unhealthy fat. Our fruits and vegetable are not usually fresh. No wonder chronic disease has risen to epidemic proportions and our children are obese and some even have type 2 diabetes already.

We need to return to a more natural and holistic way of life. The trend towards small local farms to grow our food is a step in the right direction. We can get fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables right off the farm. It is good to know where our food comes from and to connect to the land and nature.

We have also forgotten herbs can heal and keep us strong and healthy. they do not work as the modern pharmaceutical medicine which usually targets certain part of the body and has side effects. Herbs work in holistic manner and that is hard to prove scientifically because there are too many variables. But thousands of years of experience with them tell us they do work and we should use them. But we do need to be knowledgeable about them and know how and when to use them.

Twelve Immune system boosters

1. Get outdoors and into the sun. For twenty to thirty minutes daily, get direct and/or indirect sunlight.

The best times are before 9:00am and after 3:00pm in the winter, or after 6:00pm in the summer. Allow the full-spectrum sunlight to enter your eyes by not wearing sunglasses during this time. The sun is most powerful immune system builder.

antibody mediated immune response on black background

Antibody Response

2. Consume adequate oxygen. Put yourself in or neat oxygen-rich environments-oceans, forests, running streams, greenhouses-and learn to breathe deeply. Eat plenty of oxygen-rich green foods. If you are indoors for most of the day, purchase an oxygen – producing air purifier.

3. Drink pure water. The best water purification processes are distilled or molecule organized. Consume in ounces the amount equal to one – half your weight in pounds. Add safe, oxygen – enhancing products to your drinking water.

4.  Eat a totally vegan diet that is comprised of 75 percent or more raw food by volume. Sprouts and green vegetables are the most balanced and nourishing choices.

5. Drink freshly made beverages form sprouted green vegetables twice a day.

6. Use “regular” blue-green algae. Super blue-green algae or Hawaiian spirulina, along with chlorella, are high-concentrated foods that enhance immunity.

cytotoxic response

Cellular Immune Response

7. Stop using immune – suppressing ingredients. These include salt, refined sugars and flowers, dairy products, vinegars, heated oils, and food preservatives, additives, stabilizers, and colorings.

8. Avoid microwaved and fried foods, which can suppress the immune system and lead to cancers and heart and circulatory disease.

9. Eliminate alcohol and drugs. Unless your prescriptions are absolutely essential to your survival, stop taking them. Alcohol and drugs do not mix, except to undermine our immune system.

10. Exercise moderately. Engage in stretching, aerobics, and resistance exercises at least five times a week for thirty to sixty minutes a day.

T-Cell B-Cell communication

T-Cell B-Cell communication

11. Get adequate rest. Sleep and rest helps to recharge the immune system. As part of this strategy, rest the entire body once a week on a juice – and –water fast. This enables the immune system to do a weekly cleanup.

12. Keep a smile on your face. Maintaining a positive attitude is a key to having a belief system that supports immunity, read a book anatomy of an illness by Norman Cousins for a primer on how laughter and humor can enhance the human immune system. Nature, color, sound, and laughter can positively affect the immune system

Foods to Stregthen the Immune System

Feeding your body with immune system boosting foods helps its natural fighting and resisting powers. Immune boosting foods increase the number of white cells in the blood and immune system.

All foods high in Vitamin C, A, B1, B3, B6, B9 B12 and Vitamins D and E help to boost the body’s immune system, as well as foods high in zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, beta-carotene, Omega-3 fats and sulphur, carotenoids, bioflavenoids and selenium.

Anti-oxidants and the Immune System

Anti-oxidants are nutrients that minimize the damaging effects of free radicals, which are molecules that cause cellular damage. Anti-oxidants stabilize free radicals, protect the body from free radical damage, and boosts the immune system.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A has excellent anti-oxidant properties, and foods high in Vitamin A helps to rebuild and strengthen the immune system.  Foods high in Vitamin A content are:  cabbages, broccoli, spinach and al dark green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that empowers the immune system.  Vitamin C rich foods increase the immune systems ability to combat bacterial and viral infections.  The immune system uses Vitamin C to produce antibodies that are essential in order to fight infections effectively.  Foods high in Vitamin C content are:  cauliflowers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, capsicums (bell peppers), brussel sprouts, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins etc) kiwi fruit, strawberries, blueberries and guava.

Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex includes Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12.  These vitamins are potent and powerful immune system boosters.  Foods high in Vitamin B Complex are:  tuna, avocadoes, brazil nuts, bananas, legumes and oats.

Vitamin E
Foods containing Vitamin E have high antioxidant activity.  High Vitamin E content foods are:  sunflower oil, walnuts, popcorn and sweet potatoes.

Proteins

Protein helps to support the immune system.  Protein rich foods enhance and boost the immune system function and include:  tuna, salmon, almonds, peanut butter, skinless chicken breast, eggs, dairy products such as milk and yoghurt.

Minerals
Minerals contribute to boosting the immune system.  The two most important minerals are selenium and zinc.

Selenium is found in crab meat and shellfish (crabs, lobsters, oysters) and is also present in whole wheat bread, brown rice, barley, cashew nuts and onions.

Zinc exhibits anti-oxidant properties which promotes proper immune function.  Zinc is found in pecan nuts, sunflower seeds, wheat bran and raw peas.

ALMONDS
Almonds contain Vitamin E which is a natural immune system booster.

Whole Almonds

CAMU CAMU
The Camu Camu fruit has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C in comparison to any other food.  As Vitamin C assists with the formation of collagen it stimulates the body’s natural defences and the absorption of iron.

BROCCOLI
Broccoli is super-charged with Vitamins and Minerals.  It is packed with Vitamins A, C and E and contains numerous anti-oxidants.

Dandelion

common weed you find growing everywhere is dandelion. Dandelion leaves can be eaten raw as a salad or cooked. It is very delicious as well as very nutritious with a high amount of potassium among other nutrients. Another common plant nettle is also great for our immune system. It is usually thought of as an herb but It can be eaten cooked as any green leafy vegetable or the dried version can be made into tea. Both nettle and dandelion have plenty of folate and the B vitamins which are needed to make neurotransmitters such as serotonin.This helps lift our mood and energize us when we are overtired and under stress. Our immune system becomes compromised when we are overtired or in a sad. Just by lifting our energy level and our mood, these foods strengthen our immunity to disease. Both plants contain plenty of vitamin A, C, and Iron. All these aid in antioxidant activity.

GREEN TEA
Green Tea is packed with flavonoids which is a type of anti-oxidant.  Green Tea also contains another powerful anti-oxidant called epigallocatechin gallate.

Green Tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine which aids in the production of germ fighting compounds.

Green Tea in Open Infuser

HONEY
Honey is rejuvenating, revitalizing and invigorating and contains natural anti-biotic substances, and contains immune boosting compounds.

Honey contains a complex assortment of enzymes, anti-microbial compounds, organic acids, minerals such as iron, phosphorus, copper, sulphur, manganese, magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, silicon, iodine, zinc, chlorine, formic acid and hydrogen peroxide.

Honey contains Vitamin C, all the Vitamin B complexes, Vitamins D, E and K, pantothenic acid, niacin, folic acid, amino acids, hormones, alcohols and essential oils.

MUSHROOMS   –  SHITAKE and REISHI
Shitake and Reishi mushrooms are an immune system activating fungi. The body receives nourishment from fungi as the nutrients and medicinal properties of mushrooms penetrate deep into the bone marrow and throughout the entire body.

Shitake and Reishi mushrooms mobilize the immune system to fight off disease.  An immuno- stimulant, Shtake mushrooms increase activity of the human immune system against any invading organisms.  They have anti-viral and anti-tumour properties and have been used effectively to treat viral infections, parasites and cancer, and one of the most important constituents, ‘lintinan’ has been shown to stimulate immune competent cells, stimulates T-cell production and increases macrophage activity.Field Mushroom

Oats

Oats in all its various forms are all medicinal as well as nutritive. It has plenty of fiber that helps in lowering cholesterol. It has anti oxidant properties and plays an important part in lowering the chances of getting certain kinds of cancers such as prostate and breast cancer. Oates is also a central nervous system relaxant and lowers nervous tension and stress.

RED CAPSICUM  –  RED BELL PEPPERS

Red Capsicums (or Red bell Peppers) contain high amounts of Vitamin C and beta-carotene, making them an ideal immune boosting food.

ROYAL JELLY
Royal Jelly is a natural food concentrate that stimulates the body and cellular activity.  Royal Jelly is beneficial to the immune system due to the protein content of biological values in Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B8, B9, B12 and Vitamins A, C, D, E and M.  it also contains a series of minerals such as Calcium, Copper, Sulfur, iron, Phosphorus, Potassium and Silicon.

Royal Jelly is a nutritious tonic that stimulates the functioning of the endocrine glands and the immune system.  It contains anti-bacterial compouns the stimulate the production of anti-bodies which enhances collagen production and the repair of damaged tissues.  Royal Jelly also increases the flow of blood to the tissues.

SPINACH
Spinach is rich in Vitamin C and is packed with numerous anti-oxidants and beta-carotene, which increases the infection-fighting cells of the body’s immune system.Fresh Spinach Leaves in Bowl

YOGHURT
Yoghurts with live and active cultures stimulate the immune system.

Common Kitchen Herbs and Spices

  • Cinnamon is an antiviral. Use it extensively to cook and use it to spice up your tea
  • Turmeric is antioxidant and an antibacterial. Use it in your soups and cooking.
  • Holy basil relives stress, fever, bronchitis, asthma. Use it in your soup and smell the aroma.
  • Rosemary is a tonic ,stimulant, astringent, and a nervine. Use its essential oil as aromatherapy during time of stress such as interviews and exams. It helps to relaxes nervous tension and improves memory. I dilute the essential oil with jojoba oil and rub a tiny amount under my nose to help me relax and improve my memory when I have an interview. As a culinary herb it is great for roasting meat and to make sauce for pasta dishes.
  • Lemon has an antioxidant and anti bacterial properties. It reduces fever and has high amounts of Vitamin C and is an antibiotic and anti diabetic. Use it every day

Immune System

America’s Healthiest Superfoods for Women

 

Food is an important part of health but we must be clear that it is only a part. A holistic approach to health is required, taking other factors such as water, air, exercise, emotions, and mental state into consideration. What we eat significantly affects our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being. We all have different body types, ethnic backgrounds, medical histories, stress levels, caloric needs and physiological responses to food; therefore, no one philosophy is right for everyone.

Superfoods for superwomen

By Laurie Herr
From Health magazine

You love to eat, but you also love to feel great. You can do both if you choose foods that make you smarter, leaner, stronger—and then use them in tasty new ways.

We’ve made that easy to do with Health’s top 10 superfoods for women. They were selected by our panel of experts for their mega benefits—from bone building and energy boosting to fat busting and disease fighting.

What’s even more delicious: When you mix and match these America’s Healthiest choices, you get super combos with even more power—a breakfast that’s good for your heart, a dinner that fights cancer, a sweet treat that helps keep your tummy calm and mind sharp. Plus, we’ve rounded up 15 delicious, benefit-packed runners-up, too. So read on (and start eating) for a super you.

yams

Sweet potatoes

High in cancer-fighting antioxidants, sweet potatoes are loaded with energy-boosting carbs, plus fiber, vitamins, manganese, and potassium.

Tart cherries
One of the highest-antioxidant foods around, they help fight memory loss, heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Tomatoes
You can’t beat ’em as a source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help protect against cervical and breast cancers. The lycopene in tomatoes act like a sunscreen; eating them cooked can quadruple the SPF in your skin. And the polyphenols in tomatoes thin your blood naturally, so they’re good for your heart. Cook them with broccoli for even greater benefits.

fresh-salmon

Wild Alaskan salmon

“It’s all about omega-3s,” says health guru Andrew Weil, MD, explaining why fish like sockeye top his must-eat list for women. All of our experts agreed: wild salmon packs a wallop with two kinds of heart-healthy omega-3s, including DHA, a fatty acid essential for a healthy pregnancy.

Omega-3s also boost mood, fight depression, and may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Add in salmon’s lean protein and vitamin D (a critical nutrient many women lack), and you’ve got yourself a near-perfect food.

How much you need: Eat at least two servings of a fatty fish like salmon a week, the American Heart Association recommends. Can’t find it fresh? Canned wild Alaskan salmon is almost as good, says Steven Pratt, MD, author ofSuperFoods Rx andSuperHealth.

wild-blueberries

Wild blueberries

If berries are nutritional treasures, wild blueberries are the crown jewels. “They’re truly one of nature’s ultimate antiaging foods,” says Kate Geagan, MS, RD, author of Go Green Get Lean. Research suggests the tiny gems not only help prevent memory loss but also may improve motor skills and help lower blood pressure. Another reason to love ’em: they’re high in antioxidants that help fight wrinkles.

Why choose wild? When scientists at Cornell University came up with a new way of testing the antioxidant activity in foods, wild blueberries scored the highest. They have compounds called anthocyanins, one of the most powerful forms of antioxidants. Another plus: at only 80 calories a cup, you can eat them without guilt.

How much you need: Aim for a half-cup to one cup of any kind of berries a day, but mix in wild blueberries as much as possible. Many supermarkets carry them frozen

oatmeal

Oats

We all know that oats can help lower cholesterol. Now scientists say oats, rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, are also good for helping you feel full so you can control your weight. They keep you regular, too.

Which type of oats should you choose? If you’re making oatmeal, steel-cut oats take longer to cook than rolled oats but deliver more fiber, says Health Senior Food and Nutrition Editor Frances Largeman-Roth, RD. Always in a morning rush? Instant works, too.

How much you need: Add oats (and other whole grains) to your diet throughout the day. The American Heart Association recommends 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber a day—that’s about six times the amount of fiber in an average serving of oatmeal. So eat up!

cruciferous-veggie

Broccoli

This humble vegetable is a winner, thanks to research that suggests the chemicals in cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli, may help prevent breast cancer by fighting excess estrogen. Rich in vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, broccoli helps you feel full on less than 30 calories per serving. And it gets bonus points for fiber, folate (folic acid), calcium, iron, and potassium.

Cooked or raw, broccoli delivers a nutrient punch, says John La Puma, MD, host of What’s Cooking With ChefMD? and author ofChefMD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine.

How much you need: Eat two or more half-cup servings of cooked broccoli per week.

walnut-halves

Walnuts

“Protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s—what else is there to say?” asks David L. Katz, MD, MPH, associate professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

Eating just a handful of walnuts a day can help you lower cholesterol, boost brain power, sleep better, cope with stress, prevent heart disease, fight cancer, and more. In fact, a new study showed that walnuts appeared to lower the risk of breast cancer in mice.

How much you need: Have one ounce (about 12 walnut halves) daily.

avocado-half

Avocados

Yes, they’re high in fat. But in this case that’s not a bad thing. “We shouldn’t be so fatphobic,” says Cheryl Forberg, RD, nutritionist forThe Biggest Loser and author of Positively Ageless.

The heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in avocados can actually help you lose belly fat, a risk factor for heart disease and even some fertility problems. Avocados also pack high amounts of potassium, magnesium, folate, protein, and vitamins B6, E, and K. Add to that fiber and cholesterol-lowering plant sterols, and you have one nutrient-dense food.

How much you need: Limit yourself to one-quarter to one-half an avocado a day.

beans

Red Beans

Beans of any kind are nutrition dynamos. But red beans made our top 10 list for several reasons: they’re rich in antioxidants and packed with protein, folate, minerals, and fiber, including resistant starch. “That’s the hot new thing in fiber research,” says HealthContributing Editor Maureen Callahan, MS, RD.

Resistant starch seems to have several important benefits, like boosting the body’s ability to burn fat, helping you feel full, controlling blood sugars, and even reducing cancer risk.

Don’t have time to cook a pot of dried beans? Canned beans are a good option, too, says Liz Applegate, PhD, director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis.

How much you need: Enjoy three cups of cooked beans a week. Worried about getting gassy? Build up slowly, David Grotto, RD, suggests. Start with one tablespoon of beans a day and double the amount each week. Rinsing canned beans before using also eases the problem.

yogurt-superfood

Greek yogurt

We love its thick, creamy texture and tangy taste. But when it comes to yogurt, there are plenty more reasons you’ll want to go Greek. “It’s rich in calcium and good for our bones,” dietitian Kate Geagan says. In fact, one serving supplies nearly one-fourth of a woman’s daily calcium needs, and the fat-free variety is packed with twice as much protein as regular yogurt.

Fat-free Greek yogurt is also high in probiotics, cultures that can help ease irritable bowel syndrome, a condition that affects mostly women. And even though the evidence is inconclusive, some experts say probiotics help boost immunity—a plus during flu season.

How much you need: Have at least three servings of dairy a day; fat-free Greek yogurt is a good choice. “It’s a healthy swap for artery-clogging sour cream,” Geagan says.

healthy-oil

Olive oil

No list would be complete without this flavorful oil. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, it has long been linked to heart health and longevity. But mounting evidence shows that olive oil may be good for your brain, too. A study from Columbia University suggests that sticking to a Mediterranean diet not only protects against Alzheimer’s disease but also helps with mild fuzzy thinking.

And that’s not all: findings from a 2008 study in Spain suggested that compounds in extra-virgin olive oil seem to fight certain kinds of breast cancer. Want to get more of this healthy staple in your diet? Substitute olive oil for other fats: use it on bread instead of butter and in the place of less-healthy cooking oils.

How much you need: Get two tablespoons a day; it may lower your risk of heart disease.

chocolate-superfood

Dark chocolate

It’s “the food you love that loves you back,” Dr. Katz says. Rich in heart- protective antioxidants, dark chocolate can help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. It’s loaded with magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, and phosphorus—all important for strong bones.

Studies suggest chocolate may also help hydrate the skin, lower blood pressure, and sharpen thinking. And then there’s the fun factor. “Chocolate is a sensual pleasure, something women often don’t get enough of in their food,” Dr. La Puma says. We say, let the pleasure begin.

How much you need: Eat just one-quarter ounce a day. And be sure to look for kinds made with at least 70% cocoa.

Add these for even more power

These 15 runners-up are also full of healthy goodness.

Almonds
They  lower cholesterol and may help you lose weight. In fact, in one study people who added almonds to a low-calorie diet were better able to lose weight and keep it off.

Beef
The zinc in lean beef may help build immunity, while its high iron content fights fatigue and iron-deficiency anemia.

Eggs
Long underappreciated, eggs are a high-quality protein that’s rich in vitamins D and A and low in saturated fat. They also have choline, recently in the news for its importance in brain function. And they deliver two kinds of carotenoids essential for healthy eyes.

tea-superfood

Green tea

This beverage all-star may fight cancer and heart disease, and help prevent dementia, diabetes, and stroke. It hydrates like water, too, so it helps fight fatigue. Bonus: drink four cups a day, and you’ll kick up your calorie burn by 80 calories.

Kefir
Think of it as a smoothie that’s good for your gut. Rich in calcium and protein, the tangy drink has  probiotics  that help with digestion and can soothe intestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome.

Lentils
A great source of energy, lentils deliver protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

milk-superfood

Organic milk (fat-free or low-fat)

It’s a rich source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D (a nutrient women are often low on).

Pumpkinseeds
Packed with protein, zinc, magnesium, and selenium, pumpkinseeds help protect against depression and heart disease, and may ease motion sickness.

Quinoa
An excellent source of protein, quinoa  is also high in bone-boosting minerals like copper, phosphorous, iron, and magnesium. Plus, it’s a good source of PMS-fighting manganese.

dried-fruit

Raisins

Here’s a great snack with energy-boosting carbs, in addition to fiber, iron, and vitamin C. Raisins are high in natural sugar, yes, but their special phytochemicals help fight tooth decay.

Soybeans
They’re a terrific vegetarian source of protein. And eating moderate amounts of  natural soy foods may lower the risk of breast cancer and keep bones strong after menopause.

Spinach
This leafy green is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, and lutein—an essential nutrient for healthy eyes.