How to Improve the Immune System

Published: 27th July 2009
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How to Improve the Immune System

The human immune system is a unique. Its purpose is to recognise the body's invasion of viral enemies and bacteria and destroy them. It can recognise viral strains which it has encountered before and beat them off, but If the viral strain has mutated - changed, even the smallest variance can trick it into thinking that it is a different species for which it has no defence, consequently we become ill and suffer.

With the prediction that the swine flu pandemic is likely to return with a vengeance in the fall and winter months it is vital that we improve the immune system to withstand a sustained attack, particularly in small children and pregnant women. Those over 65 seem to have developed some natural immunity against the current pandemic; maybe it's the case of their immune system recognising this particular H1N1 strain.

Vitamin C is without doubt the super master immune boosting nutrient. This water soluble nutrient is unable to be stored by the human body; therefore we need a constant daily supply. If we have too much, then it just passed out of the body as a normal function.

Scurvy was once the scourge of the old sailing ships, where crews could be decimated on longer voyages without fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet. We can thank the Englishman Captain James Cook who realised the importance of vitamin C in the crews diet particularly limes, as a result, most British sailors became known as 'Limeys' in foreign climes.

It is a vital vitamin in creating healthy connective tissue such as the skin and walls of blood vessels and is an essential antioxidant.

Boost the Immune Systm

Boost the Immune System

So, fresh fruit, green and red vegetables are the order of the day. Some fruit in particular has a high proportion of Vitamin C. To name a few: Strawberries, oranges, lemon and limes, avocados, kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, gogo berries. Berries contain phytonutrients which boost the immune system. It would do no harm to snack on these berries!

It is not a bad idea to take a daily supplement in the winter months, available from all health stores. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C is 60 mg and 85 for pregnant women. Medical trials conclude that 1000mg roughly twenty times the RDA has a protective effect against colds and flu.

Vitamin B6 boosts the production of antibodies to fight infection. Recommended foods include bananas, carrots, fish, eggs, wholegrain cereals, and vegetables.

ZINC is an essential mineral to maintain a healthy immune system and resistance to colds and flu. The body stores only small amounts so a daily intake is required to maintain a healthy diet. The best sources are: Oysters, which contain more zinc per serving than any other natural food, also widely available in red meat, chicken, yeast and eggs, all seeds, nuts and wholegrain cereals. Pumpkin seeds and nuts provide an essential source of this mineral for vegetarians as the 'veggie' diet is known to contain less zinc than a meat based diet.

Over the counter lozenges which are available to help cold and flu symptoms contain zinc which can reduce the severity of the cold and reduce the time span of colds and flu.

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