We live in a fast world, where we have no time for ourselves. Working all day, crowded parties at night, frequent traveling and 24/7 stress, everything is a prime reason to pick up a bug. During all these we are more prone to catch a cold or any other viral disease, so that is a reason you should boost your immune system for better working of your body, plus you won’t be missing out the fun of the season.
To fight of cold, many people use Airborne, which is a supplement that contains 17 vitamins, herbs and minerals and they also claimed as a true prevention and cure of colds. I don’t actually believe if such supplements work. In fact, someone filed a lawsuit against airborne for false advertising about their products and the company had to pay $30 million to consumers. That’s how Airborne lost their appeal.
After that I decided to consider science and know what things can actually work to boost our immune system. And I am writing few of them for you:
1. Few cups of Green Tea
I know a friend who is a food professor and an authority member of immune-boosting foods, he always has a cup of green tea on his table. As he says that green tea is one of the healthy drink with lots of health benefits along with strong immune boosting compounds, so he drinks 5-6 cups a day. Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins, which is basically a polyphenol that kills cold and flu bacteria. It also stimulates the immune system and inhibits the activities of disease promoting cells and inflammation compounds in the body.
Green tea tastes a little bitter and this turned off many people. But that’s still not a big reason to eliminate this amazing drink from your diet. Steeping a green tea tea-bag for 2 minutes in below-boiling water with few drops of lemon and honey can help minimize the bitter flavour. Make sure you don’t add milk because polyphenols combined with proteins are of no use.
2. Vitamin-Mineral Potions and Pills
As the label of the Airborne claim that they include vitamins A.C. E, zinc and selenium which are important for the better workings of immune system and nutrients like vitamin B6, B12, copper, folic acid and iron can worsen the immunity.
A normal healthy people, like us can meet the requirement of such nutrients with the food we eat but smokers, breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women have higher risk of having deficiencies, so they must consult their doctors before taking any of the supplement.
More is never better. Excess amount of nutrients are harmful. As the label of Airborne says that it has 1667% of daily recommended value of vitamin C and I have seen people consuming 5 tablets a day.
After doing few calculations, to my surprise, people are taking 2.5 times more vitamin C daily. Excess dose of vitamin C can cause kidney stones and gastrointestinal disturbance. And excess dose of vitamin A can be toxic for the body.
Glacéau’s Vitaminwater “Defense,” is a drink that claims that it contains nutrients that affect the immune system in all positive ways and it also doesn’t deliver the high dose of nutrients like Airborne does. A 20-oz bottle of this water contains 150% of the daily recommended value of vitamin C and 25% of four B vitamins. It also has 125 calories per one bottle.
Probiotics of good bacteria are known for helping us prevent gastrointestinal upset but according to a recent research prebiotics found in yogurt are also beneficial for stimulating immune system, prevents intestinal infections and it also improves digestion.
The colon has more than 100 billion microbes per gram, some are bad- some are good and the balance between them is where good health lies. GI tract upsets when there are lots of bad microbes because they collectively produces toxins.
Prebiotics in the body reduces the colon pH that reduces the growth of bad microbes and promotes good microbes that may stimulates immune system.
A cup of plain yogurt or kefir are the good sources of prebiotics especially when you look for the label that says “Live and Active Cultures”.
Some cereals and granola bars also contains prebiotics but it is not clear that how much good bacteria they contains but if you really want to know the amount then you must contact the manufacturer for the details.