Nutrition to Increase Your Immune Response

Fresh garlic contains allicin, a sulfur-bearing substance that acts as a natural antibiotic in addition to being a potent antioxidant. You can use garlic in cooked vegetables, sauces, soups, and stews. The trick is not to cook the garlic, which lessens its potency. Cook your food and then add one or more crushed fresh garlic cloves for maximum effect. Use fresh garlic earlier during the day rather than late at night as some people report that fresh garlic can irritate their stomach, so be careful.

Yogurt and yogurt products that contain live active cultures can be a powerful intestinal probiotic. It reduces the ability of those pesky pathogens to colonize your intestinal tract. Lactobacilli can increase T cell production and protect against intestinal flu, yeast, and other nasty infections. If you are taking a lot of garlic, you should alternate your doses with plenty of viable lactobacilli.

Elderberries and their extracts are anti-inflammatory and may prevent the flu virus from replicating.

Certain nuts and seeds contain generous amounts of zinc, an antioxidant known to increase T-cells. Almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sesame, chickpeas, all contain good amounts of zinc as do baked beans, cheddar cheese, and yeast. Zinc is also found in many over-the-counter cold remedies.

According to NIH, “Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism. It is required for the catalytic activity of approximately 100 enzymes and it plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division. Zinc also supports normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence and is required for proper sense of taste and smell. A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized zinc storage system.”

Certain mushrooms may have an immune boosting effect. They include shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms. Make them into a good homemade soup.

Fresh, raw beet juice is said to be able to inactivate the flu virus

Flax seed
Flaxseed oil is an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which help strengthen cell membranes, improving resistance to infection.

All Tea is rich in antioxidants to protect cells. A Japanese study reports that tea acts as a vaccination against flu when used as a mouthwash. According to the UK Tea Council, green suppresses the growth of influenza cells and may actually kill the influenza virus.

Carrots contain high amounts of Beta-Carotene, a nutrient vital to the integrity of the mucosa of the respiratory system. Healthy mucous membranes are better able to repel invading bacteria and viruses. Any orange or yellow vegetable such as squash, pumpkins, etc. will contain good amounts.

Low Fat Protein
Protein is necessary for tissue growth and repair. Inadequate amounts of protein have been found to degrade the immune system and impair T-cells. Low fat diets increase immune response partly by reducing the lipid content of the blood, thus improving the ease of blood circulation and the motility of cellular components of the immune system. Low-fat cheese or cottage cheese, yogurt, and tofu are good sources.

Broccoli, like garlic contains compounds that may have an antimicrobial effect. Broccoli contains quercetin, a potent anti viral compound. According to a study published by The American Physiological Society, mice given quercetin were less likely to contract the flu.

Citrus Fruits
Citrus contains excellent levels of natural Vitamin C, which cannot be stored by our bodies. Vitamin C increases neutrophilic (white blood cell) motility thus increasing immune response. Citrus also contains anti-inflammatory bioflavanoids that can strengthen delicate capillaries and may have antiviral properties. Other foods containing good amounts of vitamin C include tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, pomegranates, artichokes, and strawberries.

A Word About Exercise
Stressful exercise can put a severe strain on the body’s immune system. Aggressive exercise has been shown to increase the susceptibility of mice to infection. We recommend T’ai Chi and Tantric Qigong as exercises that increase vitality and resistance to disease. For those of you doing Tantric Qigong, "Raise And Lower Each Hand Alternately" is the best qigong for balancing your immune response. More information at:

© 2009 Keith E. Hall & . All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Rev. Keith Hall has taught Tai Chi, Qigong, Tantra, & body / mind modalities for 30 years & is a senior student of Prof. Yung-ko Chou, with permission to teach. He has studied at East West Schools across the world & with Dhyanyogi Madhusudandas, S. Saraswati & others. He practices Bioenergetics, Bagua, Tumo, Vipassana, Zen, Spiritual Bodywork, various Yogas, & other East West disciplines. He has published articles on Tantra & Taoist arts in numerous journals & is the Founder of Jade Garden Tantra, 10 Minutes to a Healthier You! Tantric Qigong, Presencing for Emotional Freedom and Enlightenment(sm), and