Having a strong immune system is important to good health and can keep us from getting infections and even cancer. Especially now with the threat of a bird flu epidemic, it is good to have a well functioning immune system. Various factors can influence one's immunity among which are diet.
Various food have been found to promote one's immune system. The foremost one is yogurt. Studies on animals and humans have shown that yogurt can stimulate the production of gamma interferon, increase the activity of natural killer (NK) killer cells and boost the production of antibodies. Georges M. Halpern, M.D., of the University of California School of Medicine at Davis in a study of 68 persons age 20 to 40 found that those eating 2 cups of yogurt a day for 4 months had 5 times more gamma interferon in their blood than non-yogurt eaters. A year long follow-up study also found that eating just 6 ounces of yogurt daily prevented colds, hay fever and diarrhea in both young and elderly adults. In another study, Joseph A. Scimeca, Ph. D., a nutritional scientist at Kraft General Food, Inc., suggested that yogurt stimulates immunity enough to block lung cancer in mice. He fed mice doses of ordinary supermarket yogurt and then injected them with cancer cells. Eating yogurt reduced the number of cancer by 30%.
Also, eat shitake mushroom to boost your immune system. Shitake mushroom an antiviral substance, lentinan, that have strong immunostimulating activity and can boost the functioning of macrophages and T-lymphocytes.
The common garlic can also help. Benjamin H. S. Lau, M.D. of the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University found that garlic extract stimulate macrophages to generate more agents to kill microbes and tumor cells. Tariq Abdullah, M.D., and colleagues at the Akbar Clinic and Research Center in Panama City ate large amounts of raw garlic, while others ate no garlic. He found that the blood from the garlic eaters had more natural killer (NK) cells than non-garlic eaters.
Eat lots of all kinds of fruits and vegetables. A study at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg found that vegetarians' white blood cells were twice as deadly against tumor cells as that of meat eaters.
Eat food high in zinc such as oysters. Zinc helps drive the production of antibodies and T-cells as well as other white blood cell activities. Zinc may even rejuvenate an aging immune system. Daily low doses of zinc can cause a significant increase in active hormones and T-cells that fight off infection.