Protein and Immune System

The backbone of your immune system is made from protein; without adequate protein your immune system can’t survive, and is less able to stay and fight cancer. It’s critical to include healthy protein such as fish, poultry and beans in your daily diet, because they provide plenty of protein yet without much saturated fat. Here I emphasize a few foods high in immune boosting protein.

Beef
Sure, a diet high in red meat is not good for your health. This doesn’t mean you should ban beef. Beef is rich in immune boosting mineral zinc, in addition to protein. Zinc in your diet is very important for the development of white blood cells, the heroic immune system cells that recognize and destroy invading bacteria, viruses, and other harmful foreign bodies. Zinc deficiency weakens your immune system; even mild zinc deficiency can increase your risk of infection. Since vegetarians and those who avoid red meat (beef and pork) let pass this major source of zinc, these folks should make sure to consume zinc-rich oysters, fortified cereals, poultry, yogurt or milk.

Fish and shellfish
Research showed that of all fats, omega-3s — found in fish such as salmon — created the highest blood levels of flu-fighting T cells and interferon-gamma cytokines. Cytokines are various protein molecules secreted by cells of the immune system that regulate the immune functions.

Shellfish like oysters, lobsters, crabs and clams contain plentiful of selenium. Getting adequate selenium can increase immune cell production of cytokines. Cytokines help clear flu viruses out of your body.

The bottom line:
Dietary deficiencies in protein and key micro-nutrients have long been associated with immune dysfunction.

Photo Credits: by Art By Steve Johnson and  TheBusyBrain

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