08 Apr

Food and Your Immune System

It’s difficult to overstate how important nutrition is in promoting a healthy immune system. You need a diverse group of phytochemicals (the bioactive chemical compounds in plants) to create a strong barrier against pathogens that would otherwise make you ill.

Because immunity typically declines as you age, it becomes especially important to eat more immune-supporting foods as you get older. Plus, there is considerable evidence that the immune systems of people who eat healthful diets abundant with fruits and vegetables do not decline nearly as rapidly with age.

Many studies have shown that nutrient deficiencies cause impaired immune function in the elderly. Even in people as young as 35 years old, poor nutrition wreaks havoc on the immune response.

But there’s good news, too! When elderly people eat at least five servings per day of fruits and vegetables, they have improved antibody response to stress.

Making healthy food choices is like recruiting a microscopic army of nutrients which are all trained to help your body fight off germs.

So, what foods should you be eating to get the nutrients you need and stay healthy?

G-BOMBS to the Rescue

Some of the healthiest foods for you and your immune health are what’s called G-BOMBS, a fun acronym developed by Food Revolution Summit speaker, Joel Fuhrman, MD. It stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds. G-BOMBS are full of critical nutrients to help your body fight off illness.


Greens, such as spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, broccoli, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts, are packed with the phytonutrients your immune system needs for optimal function. Green vegetables are rich in folate, calcium, and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. Folate is especially important for producing antibodies that work to destroy antigens that can make you sick. You can blend green veggies into smoothies, saute them, use them as a base for colorful salads, chop and mix them into pasta dishes, or roast them.


Beans, peas, and lentils are full of fiber and resistant starch (carbohydrates not broken down through digestion). The compounds in beans and other legumes can help enhance your gut microbiome, which is important because much of your immunity begins with the health of your digestive system. You can add beans, peas, and lentils to just about any dish, like spaghetti, on top of salads or pizzas, or in stews and soups.


Onions, which are part of the Allium family of vegetables along with shallots, scallions, leeks, garlic, and chives, are full of organosulfur compounds. These compounds have known benefits for immunity and are released when alliums are crushed or chopped. Onions contain quercetin, a compound that may have particularly powerful bacteria-fighting abilities, as well as prebiotic fiber that feeds only the beneficial bacteria in our large intestine. Onions and garlic make great kitchen staples because you can use them in so many ways. You might enjoy sauteeing them and adding them to soups, stir-fries, burritos, and homemade sauces.


Mushrooms, including the commonly consumed varieties, like white, crimini, and Portobello, have been studied for their immune-modulating and enhancing abilities. There’s so much evidence that mushrooms are good for your immune system that they’ve even been studied as a potential treatment for cancer. Additionally, mushrooms may increase an important immune-balancing compound called secretory IgA.

Note that you should only eat cooked mushrooms to reduce a potentially carcinogenic compound called agaritine. Cooked mushrooms are great on warm sandwiches, in noodle dishes, on salads, in soups, and on pizza. They can even serve as a base for plant-based burgers!


Berries of all kinds, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, are high in phytochemicals and vitamins that may help keep the immune system functioning at its best. The main antioxidant compound in blueberries is called pterostilbene, which has been studied for its ability to lower inflammation and fight disease. Berries are delicious eaten raw, but you can also blend them into smoothies, mix them into oatmeal or yogurt, make them into a homemade chia jam, or toss them into salads.


Seeds and nuts, like chia, flax, walnuts, and almonds, are rich in disease-preventing nutrients like fiber, healthy omega-3 fats, and micronutrients like vitamin E, iron, zinc, and calcium. Zinc — especially high in pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds — is a particularly potent nutrient that supports immunity, so much so that it’s called “a gatekeeper of immune function.” Nuts and seeds are a perfect afternoon snack and go well in homemade trail mix. You can blend them to make your own nut and seed butters and “cheezes,” or toss them into salads, stir-fries, and smoothies.

Other Immune-Supporting Foods

Stay healthy with a few other antioxidant-rich foods that strengthen immunity, including:

Beets: Beets are high in nitrates, which become nitric oxide in the body and open up your blood vessels, improving circulation and lowering heart rate. They also contain betalains, which can reduce inflammation, as well as fiber, an important nutrient to prevent a number of diseases.

Dragon Fruit: Dragon fruit is a good source of fiber and prebiotics, which are beneficial to gut health. They also contain antioxidants, like vitamin C, which enhance immunity. And they include heart-healthy compounds called flavonoids, like betalains.

Purple Veggies: Purple vegetables like purple cauliflower, purple carrots, red onion, eggplant, and purple cabbage, are loaded with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give them their coloring and heal your cells from damage. Anthocyanins may help prevent cancer, promote heart health, and boost your memory.

Zucchini: Zucchini contains compounds that can improve digestion, slow the effects of aging, lower blood sugar, promote heart health, and protect your body against oxidative damage that can lead to disease.

02 Apr

Immune Boost of Nutrition

You are what you eat is never so true when you are trying to fight off a virus.  The food you eat can depress or boost your immune system.  Make the best choices of whole plant based foods.  G-BOMBS is an acronym that might help remind you of good choices – Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms,Berries and seeds.

02 Apr

Immune Boost of Outlook

How you look at life, “the glass is half empty or half full” has a huge effect on our health and our immune system.  Look for the best in others and in our situation, avoid criticism, and complaining.  Spend some time looking at Bible promises, and find a real boost for your immune system.

02 Apr

Immune Boost of Relationships

How we treat others, spending time with others in loving and productive ways, brings joy to our lives.  Forgiving and clearing up strained relationships can be one of the most important immune boosters we can experience.

02 Apr

Immune Boost of Trust

In uncertain times, it is good to know there is someone we can always trust in.  God will see us through and give us peace.  Spend more time reading His word and talking to him.  Check out some of the instructions that he has given us for how to live, work, eat and you may discover some of the best immune boosters.

02 Apr

Immune Boost of Activity

When you are confined to home, it easy to just sit around, watch TV or movies.  Get out and walk or do exercises or activities inside.  This will get your circulation going and mobilize your immune system.  Hot and cold showers are another way to increase circulation and help fight this virus.

02 Apr

Immune Boost of Choice

Every good outcome starts with the right CHOICE,  Every choice we make has a consequence, either for good or for bad.  Making good choices for your health can become a habit, and the results will amaze you.

01 Apr

Immune Boost of Fiber

High Fiber and the Flu

A high-fiber diet protects mice against the flu virus

Date:May 15, 2018      Source:Cell Press          Summary:

Dietary fiber increases survival in influenza-infected mice by setting the immune system at a healthy level of responsiveness, according to a preclinical study published May 15 in the journal Immunity. A high-fiber diet blunts harmful, excessive immune responses in the lungs while boosting antiviral immunity by activating T cells. These dual benefits were mediated by changes in the composition of gut bacteria.


Dietary fiber increases survival in influenza-infected mice by setting the immune system at a healthy level of responsiveness, according to a preclinical study published May 15th in the journal Immunity. A high-fiber diet blunts harmful, excessive immune responses in the lungs while boosting antiviral immunity by activating T cells. These dual benefits were mediated by changes in the composition of gut bacteria, leading to an increase in the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) through the microbial fermentation of dietary fiber.

“The beneficial effects of dietary fiber and SCFAs on a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, including asthma and allergies, have received substantial attention in recent years and have supported momentum toward their use in clinical studies,” says senior study author Benjamin Marsland of Monash University. “But we were concerned that these treatments might lead to a general dampening of immune responses and could increase susceptibility to infections.”

From a public health perspective, influenza A infection is especially relevant because it is one of the most common viral diseases worldwide. Up to 20% of people are infected each year, resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality. In the new study, Marsland and his team found that mice were protected from influenza infection by a diet supplemented with either the highly fermentable fiber inulin or SCFAs.

Specifically, these treatments led to both the dampening of the innate immune response that is typically associated with tissue damage, and also the enhancement of the adaptive immune response that is charged with eliminating pathogens.

“We typically find that a certain treatment turns our immune system either on or off,” Marsland says. “What surprised us was that dietary fiber was selectively turning off part of our immune system, while turning on another, completely unrelated part of our immune system.”

Taken together with past studies, the new findings suggest that the modern Western diet consisting of food high in sugar and fat and low in fiber could increase susceptibility to inflammatory diseases while decreasing protection against infections. From a therapeutic standpoint, additional research is needed to determine how much fiber, and what type of fiber, would be most effective in humans.

For their own part, Marsland and his team will further examine how dietary changes influence the immune system, and particularly how changes in the gut can influence lung diseases. Currently, they are planning dietary intervention studies in humans to determine how their results could best be translated to day-to-day living.

“There is a need for carefully designed and controlled dietary or SCFA intervention studies in humans to address how these findings could be exploited to benefit people with asthma, or for preventing viral infections,” Marsland says. “We should also look further into these pathways as a means of supplementing other therapies or enhancing vaccine efficacy.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Aurélien Trompette, Eva S. Gollwitzer, Céline Pattaroni, Isabel C. Lopez-Mejia, Erika Riva, Julie Pernot, Niki Ubags, Lluis Fajas, Laurent P. Nicod, Benjamin J. Marsland. Dietary Fiber Confers Protection against Flu by Shaping Ly6c − Patrolling Monocyte Hematopoiesis and CD8 T Cell MetabolismImmunity, 2018; 48 (5): 992 DOI: 1016/j.immuni.2018.04.022