As the age of information is at the forefront of so many of our decisions today, it’s no shock that it is forefronted when it comes to making decisions about our health and food. Statistics show that in the United States of America alone, over half of American residents said they would be mindful of the ingredients or nutritional value when shopping for food. The age group 25-34 years old appeared to be the most health-conscious when it came to the study. (Source: Statista)
The accessibility of information about our health makes it no surprise that younger age groups consider their health the most. With trending superfoods and balanced lifestyles being at the forefront of social media, they are informed of nutritious choices every day.
What Does our Body Need?
Our body is an amazing machine, it operates and functions just how we need it to and the types of food we put into our bodies are vital to be at our peak. From our digestive systems to our brain functionality, the food that we consume can have a very impactful effect on our bodies.
Our body needs two basic groups of food, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that our body requires in large amounts, such as carbohydrates and micronutrients are nutrients the body needs in smaller amounts, such as vitamin K.
The main macronutrient groups are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water. These all work together to allow different parts of our body to function. Proteins and fats are essential for muscle repair and warmth, whilst carbohydrates are needed as an energy source. Dramatically cutting one of these food groups could be detrimental to your health, but eating whole versions of the foods can be more beneficial than eating the refined option. For example, opting for a high carbohydrate fruit rather than bread. Of course, everything in moderation is deemed ideal if you have no specific dietary requirements, and making healthy choices is encouraged.
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals your body needs to aid your function. As the body cannot produce micronutrients, it is up to us to make sure we are getting them. These vitamins and minerals are vital for growth, immune function, brain development, and improve eyesight. You can opt for vitamin and mineral-heavy foods or take supplements every day to ensure that you are giving your body what it needs. There are a varied set of vitamins that our body needs that are key to our immunity and this of course comes paired with a range of foods that can give us those nutrients. Calcium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E are just some of the vitamins and minerals we need.
Why is our Immune System Important?
The human body and its immune system have a vital role in the grand scheme of bodily function. The immune system protects your body from harmful substances, germs, and viruses, resulting in us getting very unwell. Ultimately as long as your immune system is working how it’s supposed to, it can work to kill anything that shouldn’t be in your body or execute the functions that your body needs for you to feel better.
The immune system is activated by antigens that the body doesn’t recognize as its own. This can include bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Once the immune system recognizes this, it begins the process of recognizing and fighting it off as a way to build up the immunity and remember how to deal with certain foreign diseases and germs if they enter the body again.
The immune system doesn’t simply kill off the germs, it adapts and creates specific antibodies to fight off specific diseases. It is an extremely complex process and can save the breakdown of functionality in your body. This adaptive immune system is known as an acquired or learned specific immune response. The immune system is extremely adaptive and is constantly adapting to the new bacteria that we encounter in our everyday lives. It is a popular belief that exposing our body to as many different environments as we can strengthen our immune system as it has the opportunity and ability to remember different bacterias and viruses for future contact and can fight it off. There are steps we can take to aid our immune system, which includes exposure to different germs and bacteria and it also comes from how we fuel our bodies and what we are giving our body in terms of nutrients.
The Best Foods to Eat for a Healthy Immune System?
The expression ‘food is fuel’ is quite a literal and simplified way of looking at how our bodies rely on food and need food to make sure everything is working as it should do. When it comes to the immune system this is no different, ensuring that our body is getting everything it needs puts us in good stead to protect itself from any illnesses or bugs we might come face to face with.
A more holistic approach to food is becoming seemingly more popular and the types of food choices we make are becoming more and more important to us. Many different foods can help boost our immune system and give us the vitamins we need to keep our immune system fighting fit!
A balanced diet is that which is varied, and making sure we eat a range of foods means that the nutrition that we need will also be varied.
Vitamin C is a vitamin that is needed to help prevent infections to keep them at bay if they do enter our body without an invite. Great sources of vitamin C can come in the form of spinach kale, bell peppers, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, and papaya. Citrus fruits are known as the champion vitamin C source, so an orange a day most certainly will keep the doctor away.
Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that can help the body fight off nasty infections and viruses. You can normally find vitamin E in high plant foods and nuts and seeds. Paired with VItamin A fuelled foods, such as carrots and pumpkin makes for a sure-fire way to fuel your immune system!
These are just some of the ways our body can use food for a healthy immune system, and there are many more you can incorporate into your diet.