Nowadays, we all are hearing everywhere about immune-boosting foods in this pandemic period. We should be knowing about different immune-boosting foodstuffs available. But before that, what is meant by immunonutrition and what are the different immunonutrients which must be included in our daily diet is another important point to be considered.
What is meant by Immunonutrition?
Immunonutrition can be defined as modulation of either the activity of the immune system or modulation of the consequences of activation of the immune system by nutrients or specific food items fed in amounts above the normal requirements.
What is meant by Immunonutrients?
As the name indicates, immunonutrients are nutrients that have an effect on the immune system.
A healthy immune system can defeat invading pathogens. Choosing a healthy lifestyle is the most important factor in strengthening the immune system. Every part of your body, including the immune system, functions better when protected by healthy living strategies. Some ways of healthy living include:·
- Don't smoke
- Regular exercise
- Maintenance of healthy body weight
- Adequate sleep
- Minimize stress
- Taking steps to avoid infection such as proper hand hygiene.
A healthy immune system require good, regular nourishment. There are still relatively few studies on the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans. Now let's see the different immunonutrients which play a major role in regulating immunity.
Studies have shown that the deficiency of high-quality proteins can result in the depletion of immune cells, inability of the body to make antibodies and other immune-related problems. High quality proteins or High Biological Value proteins correlates to a high supply of the essential amino acids. Animal sources provide a complete source of protein whereas vegetable sources generally lack one or more of the essential amino acids. With a proper combination of sources, vegetable proteins may provide similar benefits as protein from animal sources. Egg, milk, fish, beef, soybeans, quinoa are some foods with high biological value proteins.
Reduced omega-3-fatty acids are associated with chronic inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases. Reduce the consumption of conventionally raised meats and dairy products, and refined foods. Increase the consumption of cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.,
Fiber and the Immune system
Fiber promotes the removal of toxins from the gastrointestinal tract and thus supports healthy digestive function as well as promotes immunity. Whole fresh fruits and vegetables make a healthy gastrointestinal system
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc play roles in maintaining immune function. Supplements containing these micronutrients are common as immune boosters but there is no evidence that such supplements have more effect than a healthy diet.