Best Foods to Improve Brain and Immune Health Naturally
We’re living in a more health-conscious society today, and many of us watch our weight, eating habits, and overall health. Since nutrition plays such a vital role in this process, the experts at Herbalife Nutrition emphasize the importance of incorporating beneficial nutrients in our diets. The brain and immune system, for example, require specific nutrients to perform optimally. So what are these vital foods, and how can they fortify the body?
Optimizing Brain Health and Function with Nutrient-dense Foods
Fish oils are a rich source of omega fatty acids, which promotes cognitive function, memory retention, and learning capacity. Ocean-caught trout, salmon, and sardines are examples of fatty seafood that have high omega-3 content. The brain’s fat content is about 60 percent. It needs these long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which the body doesn’t produce naturally, to keep healthy and function properly.
Choline, which is found in eggs, is another memory-boosting micro-nutrient. Some scientific studies also found a correlation between this essential micronutrient and mood regulation. The antioxidant, Lutein, a phytonutrient found in egg yolk, supports brain health. It helps the body produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which enhances mood and boosts memory. Together, the yolk (yellow) and white of eggs provide a group of beneficial vitamins (D, E, and B) and proteins, which also promote healthy memory activity.
Lutein-rich leafy greens and avocados
Kale and spinach contain Lutein, and avocados are another direct source of this phytonutrient, which supports eye health. The eye and brain work co-dependently through the optic nerve to support healthy brain function, a process that requires Lutein. Several studies found this phytonutrient beneficial in promoting brain health.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Organic olive oil contains hydroxytyrosol, an essential polyphenol antioxidant, known to support cognitive function and boost memory. Olive oil also contains oleocanthal, which is beneficial in pain management. It does this by numbing the receptors of the prostaglandin system, which is the central pain pathway.
Green or black tea
Both teas hydrate the body, which promotes a healthy environment for the brain. Also, they naturally boost energy levels and increase metabolic or thermogenic activity. Green tea has proprietary antioxidants that support cellular health and improve resistance against free radicals. Black tea has a similar effect on the brain and body.
Top 3 foods to boost immune health
Boosting immune health is a matter of eating the right foods to support its function. Healthy bacteria, vital proteins, vegetables, and fruits are the primary building blocks nutrients of the immune system. The body needs these nutrients to enhance immune response and support effector T (soldier) cells that protect various organs.
Friendly bacteria in food?
The digestive system thrives on friendly bacteria. Different strains of bacteria reside in certain areas of the body, such as the digestive tract and immune system. In essence, healthy bacteria support these systems to promote healthy organ function. Also, they ward off harmful bacteria from infiltrating the bloodstream and organs. Gut bacteria, for instance, break down certain food nutrients for proper absorption into the bloodstream. Others aid in producing essential vitamins, specifically B12 and K. Friendly gut bacteria also decompress intestinal gas that often causes bloating. Some healthy sources of friendly bacteria are cultured dairy foods like kefir and yogurt.
Proteins are essential for optimal immune system performance because they increase white blood cell count, which, in turn, produces antibodies that fend off foreign invaders, specifically harmful bacteria and viruses. If the body lacks essential protein, it cannot produce enough antibodies to boost immune resistance. Poultry, soy foods, fish, low-fat dairy, and lean meats provide the nutrients needed to produce specialized immune system-boosting proteins.
Immune health-boosting vegetables and fruits
Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, especially A and C, and phytonutrients, among other things, which can improve immune health. One well-known fact is that vitamins C and A protect against harmful foreign invaders. The phytonutrients in vegetables and fruits have similar benefits to antioxidants that inhibit oxidative stress response. Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals in the body, which puts the immune system in overdrive. A diet rich in both vegetables and fruits will help the body eliminate excess free radicals for a healthy balance.
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