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Super Foods to Boost Immunity System

Posted in Healthy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by rizkymygift

Yep… the weather lately just made us easily getting some common cold viruses and even influenza. Actually, it all depends on our immunity system and we do need supplements and vitamins to boost ours. But wait, you may put these foods below into your consideration before you buy such expensive supplements or vitamins. Check this out pal ūüôā

1. Elderberry

Sambucus Nigra

An old folk remedy, elderberry is worldwide used as anti-oxidant, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. The extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies based on WebMD reports. And a few small studies done in people show it may help you recover more quickly from flu. But scientists caution that further study is needed. The fruit itself is rich in antioxidants and may also have the ability to fight inflammation.

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Tip : Consume elderberry juice to supply vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of colds. Elderberry juice also acts as a demulcent to soothe the chest. So It acts to induce sweating (a property described as sudorific) which has been commonly held to be beneficial in the early stages of a feverish cold. Elderberry juice also has mild laxative and diuretic (the promotion of water loss) properties. For variety, try mixing elderberry juice with apple juice, blackberry juice or rhubarb juice.

2. Button Mushrooms

Agaricus Bisporus

Button Mushrooms,  better known as a white mushroom (Agaricus Bisporus) and also called champignon mushrooms. This fungus has a protein content and very low fat, rich in vitamin B complex (riboflavin, niacin and panthotenat), sodium (Na), potassium (K), selenium (Se). Button mushrooms is believed efficacious for patients with diabetes and hypertension, as well as to prevent and treat disease today, such as cancer. For children, this fungus is very useful to maintain and improve fitness and health, in addition to helping the regeneration of body cells, especially after illness. Mushroom can also be used as protective foods as vitamin B-complex which includes the complete riboflavin and amino acids essential to have a fairly complete. Besides that mushroom also useful for people with diabetes, anemia, to cancer.

You may not dismiss this one coz it has the mineral selenium and antioxidants. Low levels of selenium have been linked to increased risk of developing more severe flu. And the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system. Animal studies have also shown mushrooms to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects.

Tip: Add this fungus to your menu as a substitution of meat. Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). They have very little sodium and fat, and 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fiber. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.

3. Acai Berry

Claimed as a “super food” along with produce like blueberries, the little acai berry’s dark color signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. While the acai is not scientifically linked to specific disease- or illness-fighting ability, antioxidants may help your body fight aging and disease.¬†Acai berry also known as a weight loss supplement, although they have a number of other benefits such as reducing the aging process and helping cell recovery. The weight loss properties of acai berry can be largely explained by the increased metabolic rate it causes. This happens because of the very large amount of antioxidants (substances, which prevent oxidative stress and cell damage) it contains. This leads to faster fat breakdown, increases energy levels and fights fatigue. Combined, these effects make the process of losing weight faster and easier without any side effects usually associated with synthetic chemicals. Many research papers suggest that eating a diet high in antioxidants is the key to successful weight loss. So, you can boost your immune system while still keeping your shape ūüôā

Tip : Acai berries can be consumed most often in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.

4. Oysters

Oysters contains many things that would make us love it. Yes, it works as an aphrodisiac and also immune booster coz the mineral zinc that’s found in oysters. Low zinc levels have been associated with male infertility and zinc appears to have some antiviral effect, although researchers can’t explain why. However, they do know it is important to several immune system tasks including healing wounds.

Tip: Oysters natural are best served simply with crushed ice and seaweed. Fresh lemon juice or Worcestershire sauces are both good accompaniments. There are also two classic sauces to be served with raw oysters. The first is a mignonette sauce with shallots and vinegar and the second is a chili sauce. Oysters may also be cooked in many ways, such as poaching, marinating, frying, grilling or baked.

5. Watermelon

Yes, watermelon keeps us hydrating and refreshing, but ripe watermelon also has plenty of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. It’s known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection, glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.¬†Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.

Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. As a matter of fact, high intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown in a number of scientific studies to reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the airway spasm that occurs in asthma, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A cup of watermelon provides 24.3% of the daily value for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene, 11.1% of the DV for vitamin A.

Tip: For a great summer thirst-quencher, blend chunks of watermelon with a few ice cubes and a splash of lime juice. Serve with a fresh mint leaf.

6. Cabbage

Cabbage is another source of immune-strengthening glutathione. Besides that, It also contains vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage protects against stress, infection and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.

Tip : There are numerous ways to get¬†cabbage into your diet; toss it in a salad instead of lettuce, use cabbage in place of lettuce wraps, stir fry it in your favorite Asian dish, make some classic cabbage soup or juice it. To avoid gas after eating cabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cumin seeds before cooking. Cabbage is also a good source of blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber, and the raw juice of cabbage is a known cure for stomach ulcers. Cabbage is easy and inexpensive to find during the winter months when it’s in season. Try adding cabbages of any variety (white, red, Chinese) to soups and stews to sneak in extra antioxidants and boost your meal’s nutritional value.

7. Almonds

A handful of almonds may shore up your immune system from the effects of stress. A recommended 1/4 cup serving carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system. And they have riboflavin and niacin, B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress. Almonds are also a good source of magnesium, copper and phosphorus. Fortunately, although one-quarter cup of almonds contains about 18 grams of fat, most of it (11 grams) is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

Tip:¬†Spread some nut butter on your morning toast or bagel. Remember how many great childhood lunches involved a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Upgrade that lunchbox favorite by spreading organic peanut butter and concord grape jelly on whole wheat bread. Fill a celery stick with nut butter for an afternoon pick-me-up. Sprinkle a handful of nuts over your morning cereal, lunchtime salad, dinner’s steamed vegetables. Or just enjoy a handful of lightly roasted nuts as a healthy snack.

8. Grapefruit

Grapefruits have a good amount of vitamin C. But science has yet to prove that you can easily get enough vitamin C¬†through foods alone, without supplementation, to help treat cold and flu. However, grapefruit is packed with flavonoids — natural chemical compounds that have been found to increase immune system activation. Vitamin C-rich foods like grapefruit may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms; over 20 scientific studies have suggested that vitamin C is a cold-fighter. Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. As free radicals can oxidize cholesterol and lead to plaques that may rupture causing heart attacks or stroke, vitamin C is beneficial to promoting cardiovascular health.

Tip:  Instead of your morning glass of OJ, have a glass of grapefruit juice. Or try to combine diced grapefruit with cilantro and chili peppers to make a unique salsa.Then, to enjoy a salad with a tropical flair, combine chopped grapefruit pieces, cooked shrimp and avocadoes and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.

9. Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, so it is full of nutrients. Wheat germ is considered as one of the most healthiest food in the world.  It has zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ contains phytosterols which have been shown to lower cholesterol and promote heart health. In addition, wheat germ contains high amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from damaging free radicals. Wheat germ is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, are important for nervous system functioning, and help elevate mood. Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber which has many benefits including improved bowel function and may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes and prevent weight gain.

Tip: Substitute wheat germ for part of the regular flour called for in baked goods and other recipes. Wheat germ is inexpensive and can be easily incorporated into the diet. Toasted wheat germ, because of its texture and nutty, slightly sweet flavor is usually preferred over raw wheat germ for use in recipes or sprinkling on food.

10. Low-fat Yogurt

Low-fat yoghurt as a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin B2 and iodine. Yogurt also emerged from WHFoods analysis as a good source of vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. These 10 nutrients would make yogurt a health-supportive food. But some of the most interesting health information about yogurt comes from a different context-its potential inclusion of live bacteria. Lactobacillus casei, a strain of friendly bacteria found in cultured foods like yogurt and kefir, significantly improved the immune response and ability to fight off pneumonia in an animal study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

A daily cup may reduce your chances of getting a cold.¬† Look for labels listing “live and active cultures.” Some researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Also look for vitamin D. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cold and flu.

Tip: Top your daily cup of yogurt with a quarter-cup of granola, a handful of nuts, and some frozen berries or dried fruit for a quick, delicious and sustaining breakfast. For a creamy salad dressing or vegetable dip, just mix a cup of yogurt with a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices.

11. Garlic

Garlic offers several antioxidants that battle immune system invaders. Among garlic’s targets are¬†H. pylori, the bacteria associated with some ulcers and stomach cancer. Garlic is also an excellent source of¬†manganese. It is also a very good source of¬†vitamin B6 and¬†vitamin C. and . In addition, garlic is a good source of protein and thiamin (vitamin B1) as well as the minerals phosphorus,¬†selenium,¬†calcium, potassium,¬†iron and copper.

Tip: Peel, chop and let sit 15 to 20 minutes before cooking to activate immune-boosting enzymes.¬†Chopping or crushing stimulates the enzymatic process that converts the phytonutrient alliin into allicin, a compound to which many of garlic’s health benefits are attributed. In order to allow for maximal allicin production, wait several minutes before eating or cooking the garlic.

12. Spinach

Known as a “super food,” spinach is nutrient-rich.¬† It has folate, which helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. And it¬†boasts fiber, antioxidants, such as vitamin C. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E. In addition, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and selenium.¬†The nutrients in spinach can also help with conditions in which inflammation plays a role. For example, asthma, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis are all conditions that involve inflammation. Since beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K all have anti-inflammatory properties, they can be helpful for reducing symptoms in some patients. In addition, the magnesium and¬†riboflavin in spinach, two nutrients of which it is an excellent source, may help to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people who suffer from them.

Tip: Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most benefit. For example Toss steamed spinach with pressed garlic, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese.

13. Tea

Tea, whether green or black… Both are loaded with disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them.¬†A study, published online in the journal¬†Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals how substances found in tea may help prime the body’s immune system to fight off infection. Another report shows how substances in green tea may be linked to skin-cell rejuvenation. The findings “add to the enormous body of evidence that tea can make a contribution to a healthy lifestyle,” commented Bill Gorman executive director of The Tea Council, an independent tea-promotion body based in London, England.

Other studies have shown that antioxidant chemicals in tea‚ÄĒproduced from the aromatic plant¬†Camellia sinensis‚ÄĒcan help minimize the risk of developing stomach and other types of cancer. One study showed that drinking one cup of tea a day could also reduce heart attack risk by up to 50 percent.

Tip: Tea will fight flu and cold coz it contains antigens that prepare us for bacterial invasion. A study on black tea drinkers found that 5 small cups of black tea a day increases immunity. So, you can probably substitute your coffee with tea.

14. Sweet Potato

Just like carrots, sweet potatoes have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which mops up damaging free radicals. Sweet potatoes also boast vitamin A, which is linked to slowing the aging process and may reduce the risk of some cancers. In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C,  vitamin B6, which is needed to convert homocysteine, an interim product created during an important chemical process in cells called methylation, into other benign molecules. Since high homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, having a little extra vitamin B6 on hand is a good idea.

Tip: For a few quick serving, you can try to bake the sweet potato or making sweet potato pie, breads, muffin or pudding.

15. Brocolli

Broccoli is an immune-boosting basic. One study reported a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems of mice. Plus, it’s full of nutrients that protect your body from damage.¬† It has vitamins A, vitamin C, and glutathione.¬†Not only does a cup of broccoli contain the RDA for vitamin C, it also fortifies your immune system with a hefty 1359 mcg of beta-carotene, and small but useful amounts of zinc and selenium, two trace minerals that act as cofactors in numerous immune defensive actions.

Tip:  You can try healthy sauté broccoli and onion, then add to your favorite breakfast omelet and serve with grilled tomatoes. You probably like to add some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish with immune-enhancing B vitamins and vitamin D.

Have a nice try! Let’s Boost our immune system…

As taken separately from various source, you can click the link for in-depth nutritional information ūüôā