How to boost your immune system?
How to boost your immune system? In these turbulent times, you may sometimes ask yourself: ‘I am doing enough for my immune system? ‘ or ‘how can I strengthen my resistance?’ Again, we can do so much more than we often think! I have good news for you: you can start with that in a very easy way today. Working on your immune system is easier than you might think!
Simply by opening a kitchen cupboard or stepping outside. Because that’s where the ingredients for a powerful immune system lie for the taking. Simpler than you think. Just take a look at the everyday immune boosters in this article. You can find them below.
What is the immune system anyway?
Your immune system sounds like something floating around in your body. But your immune system actually consists of three parts, or rather: mechanisms.
The first-line immune system resides in your skin and the mucous layers of your body. Think about your airways and intestines. This system can prevent incoming bacteria, fungi and stop viruses. Sneezing, sniffling and extra mucus production are natural reactions to keep it out.
The second line immune system focuses more on the general defenses in the body. We also call this immune system ‘innate’ because you have it from birth. White blood cells are an important part of this. These are located in blood, tissues and lymph vessels. That is why many immune-boosting foods make the white blood cells stronger or help them to multiply. Your second-line immune system kicks in when your first-line immune system has been unable to stop certain microbes.
Then there is also a third-line immune system. This is somewhat slower in nature and only comes into action about 7 days after the intruder’s arrival. In fact, this immune system is only active when other barriers and the innate immune system could not overcome the infection.
This part of your immune system has a good memory! Subsequent infections with the same type of pathogen are recognized and cleared up more quickly. With vaccines, for example, we mainly rely on this third-line immune system. Your immune system is not just one system but consists of three mechanisms that work together in a complex way.
Nutrition to the rescue!
Sounds like a well-oiled machine right? Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Many people have a hitch. In other words: a reduced workable immune system. This can occur in all lines. A powerful immune system, on the other hand, quickly removes all (okay, by far the most) annoying invaders without you noticing much of it. It does not matter whether it is a known or unknown virus.
We keep our immune system (all layers) strong with enough sleep, plenty of exercises, good stress management and… nutrition! Especially vegetables, fruit, oily fish and healthy fats have a proven positive effect on keeping the immune system strong.
Your immune system is waiting in your kitchen cupboard
Foods that increase your resistance are not ‘special’ foods at all. Food that boosts your resistance is currently waiting in your kitchen to be used. It is also just in everyday products. Maybe they are so common to you that you hardly ever care about them. It could also be something just outside for the taking every time you stick your nose out the door. There are sure to be foods in your kitchen cupboards that can increase your resistance today.
How to boost your immune system?
Here are five cheap things to boost your immune system
Nothing easier than garlic. Everyone has it in the kitchen. Feel free to include a little more garlic in your food, because this small bulb contains a very healthy substance: allicin. It is a powerful ingredient and is considered a natural antibiotic.
Allicin protects the garlic plant against external enemies. When harmful microorganisms threaten a small bulb, the plant makes allicin very quickly to keep them out. Allicin is released from another enzyme. (2) Garlic must therefore be cut or crushed for it to be released. The protective substance allicin also provides the typical scent of a clove of pressed garlic. Crush or cut your garlic to release the protective substance allicin.
When allicin enters the body it increases the number of white blood cells, which are very important in keeping the immune system strong. In addition, it also multiplies another type of cell: the NK cells, or ‘natural killer cells’. You can think of them as a type of white blood cells with a piece of the innate immune system. These cells attack infected cells and even possibly cancer cells. This effect is mainly achieved with garlic extract or concentrated garlic in capsules.
The final benefit of garlic is alliin, the precursor to allicin. This substance is able to increase the phagocytosis process. This happens when one cell encloses another cell and, if necessary, makes it harmless. Very useful if you are attacked by ‘bad guys’ during a flu attack. Special white blood cells, the phagocytes or macrophages, are responsible for this.
In short: use garlic in your dishes where possible. Your immune system is happy with it!
An ordinary onion. We buy them because we just need them in the food. But if you only knew how healthy these bulbs are, you’d be putting them in your shopping cart in a lot more awe. Allicin is also contained in onions. You have read about garlic what all this is good for. In terms of quantity, onions contain slightly less, but we eat more of them than garlic. In addition, onion and garlic go together like twins in a dish, which means an allicin boost for you! Onion and garlic together: very healthy for you!
Onions contain another interesting substance: quercetin. It belongs to the family of powerful plant compounds also known as flavonoids. The onion has no less than 25 of them! This substance ensures that the immune response to an annoying invader is stimulated and any resulting inflammation is tempered. Harmful bacteria are particularly hard hit by the onion, especially the yellow onions.
Onions have another great property and that is that they can dissolve mucus. This happens in combination with the sulfur-like compounds that are released when you cut open an onion. Hence, a sliced onion next to your bed can really work wonders for a stuffy nose.
Fun fact: The first wave of corona had a significant impact on onions and garlic sales. In one week, thirty extra trucks with a total of 600,000 kilos of onions were needed to be able to meet the demand throughout Europe.
Everyone has a jar of curry in their kitchen cupboard. Popular in your meals or not, just pull it forward! Sprinkle it over soups, stews, dressings and stir-fries. Especially the spice turmeric (also turmeric called) in curry is very healthy. The spice mix owes its yellow color to this.
Curcumin, a powerful ingredient in turmeric, has strong anti-inflammatory properties; also on acute inflammatory processes. That may not initially sound like something to do with the immune system, but nothing could be further from the truth. An inflammation can be a reaction to an ‘attack’ on our immune system.
4. Green tea
A type of tea that has now become fully established and that we all drink from time to time. Green tea contains many fascinating substances that can mean a lot for your resistance. These fall under the catechins: a kind of antioxidants.
There are two that work very powerfully against annoying bacteria, fungi, and parasites: EGCG and ECG. In addition, a substance called L-theanine in combination with catechins in green tea gives the resistance a significant boost. It has a stimulating effect on certain white blood cells (T cells) that are part of our immune system. L-theanine can also be found in other (real) teas such as white and black tea.
Green tea contains many fascinating substances that can mean a lot for your resistance. Do not brew this tea with boiling water, let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Otherwise, it will taste bitter and some of the healthy substances will be lost.
5. Last but not least: go outside!
Besides the fact that the sun and outside air are very good for our general mood, the immune system also benefits. We produce vitamin D from the sun’s rays and daylight. In recent years a lot of research has been done into the role of this vitamin on our immune system.
Vitamin D is converted in our body into an active, absorbable form. This is done by the white blood cells. During this process, ‘cell immunity’ is triggered by the production of a type of protein that makes pathogens harmless. This shutdown prevents a malicious entry from growing into a full-blown infection. Very important if you want to avoid getting sick! So go outside, rain or shine. You can also find vitamin D in other everyday foods such as full-fat yogurt and Eggs, but we actually can’t get it enough from food. That is why vitamin D supplementation is highly recommended. Vitamin D together with K2 forms a powerful, mutually reinforcing combination.
Just act normal
Of course, there are more ways to work on your immune system. With this article, I wanted to show you that you can work on your immune system in an accessible and easy way. And how nice it is to reflect on the ordinary things in life more often.
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