Do you ever wonder as to why you are the first one to be affected by the slightest change in weather or food binge at the local chaat stall and most of your friends seem to be doing fine?
Our immunity is not only a result of good genetics, but a lot depends on stress, nutrition, exercise, and medication. The immune system is like the defense force of the body, which protects it from external toxins, chemicals, bacteria, and viruses as well as fights back and protects us from any trouble that brews within. Even the most health conscious people fall ill. However, by fine tuning certain aspects of our lifestyle, we can strengthen the immunity and protect ourselves from premature aging and degenerative diseases.
A host of recent studies has shown a positive correlation between diet and immunity. Like most of our organs, the basic composition of immune bodies is protein. Protein can be supplied through dairy products, lean meat, fish, and pulses. Amongst dairy products, curd and yogurt have particularly been in the limelight for its ability to enhance immune function.
The gut-friendly bacteria present in curds enhances the intestinal cells’ ability to release immunoglobulins and protect against various infections. Although our forefathers lacked the scientific knowledge, they were definitely right about having at least one source of fermented milk in each meal. Plant foods are naturally gifted with a host of immune modulating compounds.
A recent German study compared the white cells of vegetarians and meat eaters. The study added upon the piling evidence that white cells in vegetarians are more potent against cancer compared with non-vegetarians. For the immune system to work properly, it requires a whole range of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, E, carotenoids, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium working in concert with each other.
Although no single food contains all these nutrients, some foods are concentrated sources of these nutrients. Vitamin C, the ultimate immune booster is found in many foods other than citrus foods like chilies, guava, tomato, and melons. It increases the production of infection fighting white blood cells and cell surface coating interferon which prevents entry of viruses.