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Do Vegetarians Have Stronger Immune System?

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:36pm

Rev up your immune system by eating all kinds of fruits and veggies. Plant foods contain a vast amount of compounds that can boost immunity, including vitamin C and beta carotene.

A study at the German Cancer Research Center compared the blood of male vegetarians and meat eaters. They found that vegetarians' white cells were twice as deadly against tumor cells as those of carnivores. This means vegetarians needed only half as many white cells to do the same job as meat eaters did. Why vegetarians' white cells are more deadly is not clear. Researchers speculated they may yield greater armies of natural killer cells or more feroious (natural killer) NK cells.

Not surprisingly, the vegetarians also had much higher levels of carotene in their blood. Beta carotene from fruits and veggies is a documented friend of your immune system.

Eat spinach and carrots and other fruits and veggies rich in beta carotene. Studies show carotene boosts immune defenses against both bacterial and viral infections, as well as cancer. Garlic is also great to stimulate immune function. Don't forgot the yogurt, shiitake mushrooms, and foods rich in Zinc.

Foods that may lower immunity:
Polyunsaturated oils; corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oils, refined sugar.

Vegetarians may have stronger immunity against infection but there must be a balance of adequate protein. Dr. Heidi Dulay Holistic Weight Loss Expert recently spoke about being vegan for years and started getting lots of colds. Her doctor found she was not getting enough protein. Plant foods are very healthful but don't forget the balance.

Featured on Reuters.com

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