Seven Best Foods and Supplements to Enhance

Your Immune System

which have been clinically proven to en- hance immunity, improving your response to a variety of illnesses and infections. By adding them to your daily meals or week- ly regimen, you can easily and affordably strengthen your immune response Researchers have been studying natu-


ral compounds that provide immunological support for decades, but several of these compounds stand out for their therapeutic potential in the stimulation and protection of the immune system. Try adding these seven natural substances to your diet for immune enhancement:

1. Vitamin C In addition to its role in various meta-

bolic and physiological functions, your body uses vitamin C to protect your im- mune system, and researchers have studied the effi cacy of vitamin C as a therapeutic treatment in the prevention of cancer, dia- betes, atherosclerosis, the common cold, stroke and heart disease. Vitamin C improves neutrophil che- motaxis, a process that betters the ability of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) to move toward sites of infl ammation or infection and increases the body's ability to fi ght disease. Finally, vitamin C also


oping to improve your immune system? Look no further than these seven foods and supplements,

protects against reactive oxidant species, reducing the risk and severity of a variety of illnesses.

2. Korean Ginseng Korean ginseng, also known as Panax ginseng, possesses strong antioxidant and immune-stimulating properties. Korean ginseng helps regulate immune cell func- tion, including macrophages, T cells, B cells and natural killer cells, and improves infl ammation through its high content of a variety of pharmacological compounds, like ginsenosides and acidic polysaccha- rides.

In most cases, it is ginseng root extract

that is used to maintain immune homeo- stasis, although the other parts of the plant can be used as well.[viii] Ginseng root is often consumed raw or as a juice, tea or powder, and some studies have suggested that daily consumption of Korean ginseng may decrease oxidative damage and im- prove immunomodulatory activity while presenting no adverse side effects.

3. Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid antioxi- dant that possesses potent immuno-mod- ulation properties, including the ability to increase interleukin production, a type of cytokine expressed by white blood cells. Additional studies have found that

dietary intake of astaxanthin may heighten immune response while also reducing DNA damage and inflammation, and astaxanthin may play a protective role in immune function by limiting free radical damage to immune cells.

4. Shiitake Mushrooms Medicinal mushrooms and their ben-

efits have been studied extensively for many years, however, recent research has revealed that this traditional oriental ther- apy may also modulate the immune re- sponse by activating lymphocytes and dendritic cells, thereby up-regulating the production of cytokines. In fact, scientists discovered that len- tinan, an immunostimulant derived from shiitake mushrooms, may have prophylac- tic potential in the treatment of malaria, hyperhomocysteinemia, gingivitis and cancer. In one study, daily consumption of shiitake mushrooms drastically improved the immunity of healthy adults by improv- ing cell proliferation and secretory immu- noglobulin, a powerful antibody found in saliva.

5. Curcumin Curcumin is best known for its anti-

infl ammatory and antioxidant properties, but researchers have become increasingly interested in this curcuminoid's ability to

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