“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
One important factor to understand about our immune systems’ response to infection is inflammation. This can be a byproduct of both acute (short term) and chronic (long term) infection.
Let me explain a bit further. When you are stung by a bee and the poison enters into your blood stream, the blood supply is increased. Blood vessels become more permeable, which permits white blood cells to rush to the site.
As the phagocytes (those Pacman-like cells) consume the microbes, oxidative products (waste) like hydrogen peroxide are released, and the area swells. After a short time, the body rids itself of the toxins, and then the inflammation goes down. This is a beautiful thing. Acute inflammation is healthy.
This cleansing process is the reason why consuming antioxidant-rich foods is so healthy.
Whenever chronic inflammation is present, the body is in a prolonged state of crisis (often due to diet or inherited factors). Toxins are not flushed out, which can lead to chronic diseases that include coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Eating a poor diet only increases the likelihood of more severe damage.
So, how can I boost my immune system?
- Pray the Lord helps you to steward your body well and that He would grant you a strong body
- Exercise – Like my husband Keith says, “Exercise is like breathing.” You can make it a priority and do it every single day (even if only for 15-20 minutes).
- Eat Well – Pray that the Lord helps you to desire healthier foods. We are the product of what we eat. If you want to feel great, you need to consume great.
Here are six super foods that have been scientifically proven to aid with boosting the immune system:
Yogurt – Believe it or not, this yummy treat isn’t just for strengthening your bones. It also contains probiotics (live strains of good bacteria) that keep your intestinal track clear of disease-causing microbes. Lactobacillus reuteri is specifically known for its ability to stimulate white blood cell activity. What many people do not know is that over 50% of all diseases can be traced back to the gastrointestinal system. These are a set of body organs you want to take really good care of while you can.
Garlic – This is a relative of the onion that contains allicin, an ingredient that acts like an antibiotic in fighting infection and bacteria. Research suggests that garlic lovers who consume more than six cloves a week have a 30% lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50% lower rate of stomach cancer. Talk about being proactive.
Fish – Salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fats (essential fats), which act as anti-inflammatories, aid the formation of cell membranes, and decrease high blood pressure. These are definitely wise to consume.
Green Tea – Both black and green tea (including decaf variants) contain an amino acid known as L-theanine, which stimulates the immune system. Green tea also carries a high content of flavonoids (plant-derived antioxidants). According to the Harvard Medical School, green tea is the best food source of catechins (an anti-oxidant). In test tubes, catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder. And that my friends, makes me feel much better about drinking my daily dose of tea.
Mushrooms – Just a handful of these tasty fungi can increase the production and activity of white blood cells, which is especially great when fighting an infection. They are also rich in dietary fibers, including those associated with lowering cholesterol (chitin) and healthy hearts (beta-glutan). You can add these in your pasta, salads, or scrambled eggs.
Photo courtesy of immunityboosters.com