Foods to protect your immune system

AT THE MOST basic level, the function of the immune system is to protect us from the harmful effects of noxious agents, including bacteria, viruses, environmental contaminants and a whole host of toxic products, as well as from exposure to various daily stressors, from disease to strenuous exercise. So, how do we protect the immune system? Here are a few ways.

Whey protein. Whey is the only protein that contains powerful substances called immunoglobulins, or immune peptides, that play a vital role in keeping your immune system ready for action.

Cultured yogurt. Look for yogurt that contains important active cultures (aka probiotics) that line the entire intestinal tract. Since your intestinal tract is the largest immune organ in the body, probiotics play a vital role in immune response, act as natural
antibiotics and help fend off the bad bugs that keep you sick.

Mushrooms. A good deal of research has brought new life to mushrooms, once thought to be nutrient void. Naturally occurring antiviral constituents called polysaccharides are found in most varieties and have the ability to support healthy immune response.

Elderberry. Cooked to make jam or syrup, or mixed with cranberries for a special sauce, elderberries have been shown to prevent replication of the flu virus and a few studies have shown they may help you recover more quickly from flu.

Garlic. Use garlic judiciously in your meals as it contains several potent constituents, such as allicin, that have proven antimicrobial effects. Using garlic to ward off some of the nasty bugs you are exposed to can help prevent flu’s onset and keep your resistance strong.

Oats. Oats are already popular for their cholesterol-lowering effects. Studies have shown that beta-glucans, powerful immune-regulating compounds found in oats, have positive effects in animals and humans.

Honorable mentions go to fish for the omega-3s, nuts for zinc and selenium, sweet potatoes for beta carotene and citrus fruits for vitamin C—all important players to keep your immune system ready for battle!

By Carl Germano – CostcoConnection

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