Waking up with a sore throat or a stuffy nose can be irritating. Many people attribute colds to changes in the weather, not getting enough sleep or not washing hands enough. While these are important factors, the number of colds you get depends more on your immune system than on anything else. Your immune system’s strength isn’t totally determined by genetics, you can help protect yourself by eating the right foods. Read on to learn how.
The best way to protect your immune system is to eat foods that help strengthen your gastro-intestinal lining. This is important, because this lining is like a second skin inside your body; it protects your liver, kidneys and other internal organs from stomach acid and protects your stomach from the byproducts of internal organ functions. It also protects your internal organs from toxins and contaminants in the food your stomach breaks down into nutrients.
Thus, the stronger your stomach lining is, the less likely toxins and contaminants are to get into your bloodstream and cause you to get sick. There are several categories of foods that can help strengthen your stomach lining.
- Vitamin rich foods, particularly foods rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps strengthen your gastro-intestinal lining and boosts immune system function. Carrots and apples are excellent sources of this vitamin.
- Essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids also help promote the gastro-intestinal lining. These fats are found in cold water fish, such as tuna and salmon. Eating these fish at least three times a week will help boost your immune system and make sure that you rarely get sick. Essential fatty acids also help protect you against depression, which is important because stress and depression can negatively affect your immune system.
- Monounsaturated fats. These fats, which are found in olive oil, help strengthen cell membranes, including the membranes of cells in the gastro-intestinal tract. This strengthens your stomach lining and provides extra protection against toxins and contaminants.
- Fiber-rich foods, such as whole-grain breads, fruits and vegetables. Fiber is important, because it helps promote regular bowel movements. Toxins and contaminants are eliminated from the body via bowel movements, so the more fiber you eat, the less likely toxins are to remain in your body and cause problems. Fiber also helps strengthen the stomach lining itself. Finally, the stomach converts fiber into useable fuel.
While ensuring that you ingest large quantities of these stomach-friendly foods, don’t forget to avoid potentially problematic items. Both alcohol and over-the-counter pain medication can weaken the stomach lining and make it more likely that you will get sick. Drink alcohol only in moderation to avoid this problem, and take aspirin sparingly, if at all.
It might seem strange to change your diet to avoid getting colds, but it does work. In addition, these dietary changes are not difficult. Simply add a few pieces of fruit, especially apples, and more vegetables to your diet while eliminating items that have no nutritional value. Not only will you lose extra weight, but you’ll feel much better and suffer less colds.