Is there an immune-boosting diet? The simple answer is yes, but there is no need to download or print a list of specific superfoods for your next shopping trip. You won’t see the benefit that you want to see by eating a large amount of one single nutrient or food component. That's because the body's cellular immune response relies on harmonious interactions between different micronutrients found in a huge variety of whole foods.
Therefore, the best route to a healthy immune system is to eat a large variety of fresh and colourful red, yellow, orange, blue and green fruits and vegetables each day, along with some high-quality whole grains, a bit of lean protein and a splash of healthy oils. This recommendation might sound very familiar, and that's because it is. It comes from the healthy eating plate guide (as seen in the image below) you’ve probably seem a million times as recommended by Harvard Medical School.
Fill your plate with a majority of fruits and vegetables, the more the better. A wide variety of colourful foods is also the basis of the top-rated Mediterranean diet and DASH diet, which stands for "dietary approaches to stop hypertension," or high blood pressure. Both the Mediterranean and DASH diets avoid processed foods and focus on fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
UP THE NUMBERS
Numerous studies found the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk for high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer. Meals from the Mediterranean region have also been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart, longer life and weight loss.
If you want to maximize the impact of food on your immune system, you'll need to dramatically increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat each day. An investigation was conducted into the immune responses in animals fed 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies a day, and compared them to those who ate 5-6 servings a day or 8-9 servings a day.
The 8-9 servings a day was where the best effect was seen. So it was not just increasing the intake by a little bit, you've got to increase it substantially. People need to work at it in order to reach that level. Finding ways to insert fruits and veggies into every meal and snack during the day may do more than pump up your immunity.
A 2017 study found a significant reduction in the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death by eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Current dietary guidelines only recommend up to two cups of fruit and 2-3 servings of vegetables a day. Nearly 90% of people eat fewer than three servings of vegetables, while more than 70% didn't meet the daily recommendations for fruit consumption. A different 2017 study found that one in five deaths globally, that's about 11 million people, occurred because of too much sodium and a lack of whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds.