Our immune systems are very complicated and they are still not fully understood, so there is not a single thing that can be done to keep them functioning properly; there are many and they work together holistically.
Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can lead to a significant decrease in the function of our immune system, thus allowing the invasion of our body by a virus. The good news is that certain plant foods can help prevent – and even treat – the common cold and flu. Of course, if you develop a high fever, have trouble breathing, or have a sudden worsening of your symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately.
1. Cruciferous vegetables
Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustard, kohlrabi, and turnips are just a few of the vegetables in the cruciferous family known for their anticancer properties. What many people don’t know is that these foods also support the immune system when isothiocyanates are released.. Isothiocyanates are created when vegetables are chewed or cut, which is one reason why a green smoothie is recommended every day. These crisp cruciferous vegetables also support the immune system’s interferon activity. Interferon is a protein released by the cells of the body when it has been invaded by a virus or other pathogen, altering neighboring cells to increase their defenses. Therefore, interferon “interferes” with the virus’s ability to replicate.
What are cruciferous plants?
Cruciferous plants are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E and K; folate; and minerals. They are also a good source of fiber.
In addition, cruciferous plants contain a group of substances called glucosinolates, which are chemical compounds with sulfur. These chemicals are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter taste of cruciferous plants.
Garlic does more than keep vampires away as it also improves the immune system. Chopping the garlic and letting it rest for 15 minutes before cooking and eating it is necessary because crushing the plant cells triggers the enzymatic reaction that activates the healthy compounds. Garlic stimulates certain types of immune system cells such as macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer cells, dendritic cells, and eosinophils.Each of them has an important role in maintaining our health: macrophages engulf cellular debris and act as scavengers, cleaning the body of debris and foreign substances, while lymphocytes and eosinophils are types of white blood cells that respond to different types of infections or inflammations (such as viral infections and allergic reactions); natural killer cells are a type of lymphocyte allied in the fight against viral infections; and dendritic cells are messenger cells of the immune system.
3 . Mushrooms
In addition to being delicious, nutritious yeast and mushrooms also help you when you are sick, as mushrooms break down dead organic material and provide medications like penicillin. Nutritional yeast stimulates the immune system but also suppresses the inflammatory response that could arise when the immune system raises its defenses.A tablespoon of nutritional yeast a day reduces the recurrence of the common cold by 25 percent, so don’t worry! Furthermore, mushrooms are also beneficial by increasing the activity of natural killer cells. Natural killer cells are a type of white blood cell that attaches to and kills virus-infected cells (hence their name). Don’t forget to eat mushrooms cooked, not raw, as they contain natural agaritin, a potentially toxic substance that is deactivated by cooking.
When consumed by the elderly (typically those over 65 years of age), kiwi consumption can reduce the severity and duration of a cold from five to one day. For preschool-age children, kiwi lowers the risk of catching a cold or the flu by 50 percent. Therefore, adding sliced kiwi to your salad is not only sweet for your taste buds but also for your immune system.
Berries like Indian gooseberries, wild blueberries, strawberries, currants, and goji berries are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells by neutralizing free radicals that cause damage from oxidative stress. The antioxidants found in elderberry juice can shorten the duration of the flu, while resveratrol in grapes prevents the flu virus from replicating. Adding berries to oatmeal or a teaspoon of Indian gooseberry powder (also known as AMLA) to your morning smoothie is not only a great way to start your day, it could also help prevent the next cold virus or the flu will attack you.