Can you really boost your immune system through diet "Eat more [insert superfood] to 'boost' your immune system!" This is a statement that you are going to see countless times in oakley sunglasses com the media over the coming months, as we move into the flu ridden Winter season. I will admit that it's one that I too, have used in the past. But after having recently read yet another article on the powers of a concoction of lemon, garlic and honey to 'boost' the immune system, I started to question what this ubiquitous phrase actually means. Is it possible to 'boost' the immune system, and is this necessarily such a good thing? Or is this, like 'detox your body' and 'cleanse your gut', just another buzz phrase that is full of promises, but delivers very little in terms of science based substance? The prospect of boosting your immunity and strengthening your body's defences against illness is certainly enticing. Who doesn't want to believe that a pesky cold can be stopped in its tracks by a dose of something green?! But by understanding exactly what the immune system comprises, we can start to understand that this might not be as simple as it sounds. "The immune system consists of a huge number of different types of cells, and a large number of molecular messengers, which have to act together like players in an enormous orchestra in order to combat bacteria, viruses and toxins," explains Charles Bangham, a professor of immunology and infectious oakley vault diseases at Imperial College London. And just like an orchestra, it is a very complex system that requires balance and harmony. The idea, therefore, that a superfood or dietary supplement has the singular ability to 'boost' immunity is grounded in misunderstood science. Whilst it is known that a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, is vital for the normal functioning of the immune system there is no evidence that any one food or supplement in excess is beneficial. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body, immune cells or others, may not necessarily be a good thing. "The problem is that, when the immune system is fighting a bug (bacteria or virus), there is always some collateral damage to your own tissues, as in any war" explains Charles. "That is why, for example, you get a sore throat when the immune system is clearing a common cold virus or flu virus." "The immune system has to strike a balance between making a strong response that clears the bug quickly and efficiently, and causing severe symptoms. If you do succeed in boosting your immune system, the danger is that the harm will outweigh the good." The point being made here oakley silver is not that the immune system cannot be supported through lifestyle and diet (it can), but that there is no magic bullet to do this. And that actually, boosting or enhancing the body's natural immune response is not necessarily something we want to do."A healthy diet is important to support the immune system, but there isn't one food alone that will do the trick," explains Accredited Practicing Dietitian Simone Austin. "Such a complex system requires many nutrients to function." She offers the following dietary advice: Look after your gut"Having a healthy gut flora can support your immune system's defences via the gut, helping to reduce invasion from pathogens. By eating foods that provide healthy bacteria like probiotics in natural yoghurt and other fermented foods, you can build your colony of flora. Consuming foods with resistant starch and other fibres also feed your gut bacteria. Resistant starch is found in grains, legumes, cooked cooled potatoes, bananas and cashew nuts." Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables"All fruit and vegetables will benefit the immune system with the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants they contain" says Simone. "Vitamin A and C in particular are important to the immune system. Red peppers and citrus fruits, along with kiwifruit, broccoli, parsley and berries are all good oakley dart vitamin C sources. Vitamin A can be obtained from sweet potato, carrots, mango, squash and kale." Eat foods high in zinc and iron"Zinc is important in fighting infection and in wound healing, so zinc rich foods like seafood, lamb, beef, wholegrains, pumpkin seeds and baked beans should be eaten regularly. Iron is important for the immune system also. If iron levels are low in the body, there is increased risk of infection. Iron is found in red and white meat, fish, green leafy vegetables and legumes." Maintaining a good level of general health is also important for your immune system. This includes: Getting adequate sleepExercising regularlyEating a moderate calorie intake, drinking alcohol in moderation and quitting smokingManaging stress levelsThe take home message is to remain sceptical and to be wary of claims that a certain superfood or dietary supplement can boost your immune system and protect you from illness. For such commonly made claims, quite simply, the evidence just isn't there. "A balanced, moderate diet is essential for a strong immune system but additional food supplements or 'superfoods' won't make it any stronger," concludes Charles. The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor for further information see our Terms and conditions.
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