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10 Foods to Boost the Immune System

Summer colds are blowing in like a song by Seals & Crofts.

Eat strategically.





A BITE OF BIOLOGY

The body depends on its immune system to combat antigens (viruses, bacteria and allergens). These harmful agents are attacked by white blood cells that, when victorious, enable the body to maintain its health.


Optimal nutrition leads to a stronger immune system because the white blood cells are strengthened and increase in number in response to certain vitamins and minerals.


If you design your diet in such a way that it includes the proper amounts of these vitamins and minerals, you boost your immune system, empowering it to ward off infection.


DIFFERENT STROKES

Different people will see their White Blood Cell count increase at different paces. For example, vegans, some studies have shown, tend to have lower White Blood Cell counts, overall. As a result, they have to work a little harder to see some return on the investment.


Here are ten vegan options to consider when you set about prepping your next meal -- or go nuts (heh heh) and use them all together in one amazing dish to put up your best fight.





1) Cruciferous Vegetables

  • Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Kale, Cabbage, Bok Choy

  • Vitamins A, C and E as well as fiber and antioxidants, including glutathione

  • Healthiest raw or lightly cooked



2) Capsicums & Citrus

  • Bell Peppers, Oranges, Mangoes, Grapefruits

  • Vitamin C in abundance



3) Almonds

  • Vitamin E, Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, and Niacin

  • Richest of all nuts in nutrients



4) Berries

  • Blueberries: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, Fiber, Manganese, and Flavonoids that reduce cell damage

  • Elderberries: Antioxidants; reportedly fights inflammation, blocks Flu virus



5) Mushrooms

  • Selenium and crucial B vitamins Riboflavin and Niacin

  • One of very few plant-based sources of Vitamin D



6) Garlic

  • Antioxidants, Organosulfur Compounds

  • Fights bacteria, viruses and fungi




7) Ginger

  • Antioxidants, Anti-Inflammatory Compounds

  • Stops growth of certain bacteria




8) Yogurt (Plant-Based)

  • Probiotics (live, active bacterial cultures)

  • Good for the gut, reduces inflammation from bacteria



9) Spinach

  • Antioxidants, Folate, Fiber, Vitamin C

  • Superfood that repairs DNA



10) Sweet Potatoes

  • Beta-carotene in abundance, which is converted to Vitamin A

  • Combats free radicals and pathogens


My favorite line in Gertrude Stein's poem "Vegetable" asks/says: "What is cut. What is cut by it. What is cut by it in."


Consider this as you boost away. Cheers!


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