Saturday, September 09, 2006


Food for a Healthy Immune System and for Overall Good Health
By Patsy Hamilton

Focusing on food for a healthy immune system can increase overall good health and nutrition. Foods that build your immune system are rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements and omega-3 fatty acids. Including these foods in your weekly diet can improve your energy levels and decrease the number of colds and other bugs that you get every year.

Some people rely on daily multi-vitamins and dietary supplements, instead of food for a healthy immune system and good supplements are always a good idea. It is not always possible to eat the right foods in the right combination every day. For instance, you may think of oranges or orange juice when you think of foods that build your immune system, but oranges are not the only foods that contain Vitamin C. And if you don’t have enough calcium and magnesium in your diet, then your cells cannot efficiently absorb Vitamin C. Complicating things further, if you drink a glass of orange juice and a glass of milk, then the acidic content of the juice can sour the milk, leading to stomach upset.

People who have frequent heartburn or are lactose intolerant may not be able to include either orange juice or milk in their diets. Citrus fruits are highly acidic and trigger heartburn in many people. Regular milk causes bloating, pain, gas and diarrhea in people who are lactose intolerant. So, what is a person to do?

Crabmeat, lobster and oysters are all rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamin C. Salmon is an important food for a healthy immune system and is often referred to as a “super food” by dieticians and nutritionists, because it contains numerous vitamins and minerals, plus a healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids, believed to be beneficial in preventing heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Broccoli, tomatoes, peaches and apples are good sources of Vitamin C and are all foods that build your immune system. Broccoli is another food that contains numerous vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and selenium. Not familiar with selenium?

Selenium is an essential trace mineral that may not be included in your daily multi-vitamin, but very important to human health. It is essential to proper immune system function, as well as numerous metabolic pathways. Remember chicken soup? Chicken is another good source of selenium and is one of the foods that build your immune system strength.

Like mushrooms? Researchers studying foods that build immune system strength by increasing white blood cell counts learned that shitake mushrooms worked. The study concluded that beta glucans found in edible mushrooms increased white blood cell counts. White blood cells are primary infection fighters. Don’t like mushrooms? Beta glucans are biologically active compounds found in numerous plant foods and some immune system dietary supplements.

So, in order to include some of the best foods that build your immune system in your weekly diet, eat salmon, tuna and/or seafood three or four times a week, chicken three or four times a week, a variety of fruits and vegetables including broccoli and mushrooms, whenever possible. Relying on food for a healthy immune system may not be enough, depending on where you live or work. A daily multi-vitamin can help and there are immune system supplements that contain beta glucans, herbs and other ingredients that can also help, particularly during cold and flu season. To learn more about food for a healthy immune system and supplements that can boost your immune system, visit

Patsy Hamilton has been a healthcare professional for more than twenty years and currently writes informational articles for the Immune System Booster Guide. Read more at

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