We all know that a strong immune system can help keep you healthy. Since the emergence of the novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, Americans (as well as people worldwide) are trying to eat healthy to maintain, and even boost their immune systems. In this endeavor, it is important to know that all foods are not created equal.
Some foods are just naturally better at boosting the human immune system. Fish is one of those foods. Let’s explore how eating more fish and taking some simple actions can help keep your immune system naturally strong.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is the body’s defense against infections such as bacterial and viral infections. The immune system attacks germs in an effort to keep us healthy. When the body senses foreign substances, called antigens, the immune system works to recognize the antigens and get rid of them. Our bodies do this naturally without us really noticing it… until we get sick with a cold, flu, or this current virus.
How Fish and Other Foods Play a Role
Some foods that help boost immunity and support our body’s natural ability to fight off these antigens include: colorful fruits and veggies, garlic, chicken soup, whole grains, ginger, green tea, and our favorite fish! Studies have shown that mice and other animals that were fed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were much less likely to develop the flu and other common illnesses. A diet rich in whole grains can help healthy gut bacteria flourish. This process can help tune up your immune system as well.
Many varieties of fish contain long chain omega-3 fatty acids which may help enhance the functioning of immune cells. There are a few different kinds of omega 3s. Oily fish, such as herring, salmon, mackerel, halibut, trout, and tuna contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Specifically, a study published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology showed that instead of suppressing the immune system by reducing inflammation, consumption of DHA and EPA-rich fish oil found in fish may actually enhance the function of immune B cells.
Fish is also a great source of zinc. Our bodies are unable to make zinc naturally, so it’s important that you find ways of consuming it. Zinc helps your immune system in repairing damaged cells, so try to include fish in your diet on a weekly basis.
Are you trying to boost your immune system by eating more fish in your diet? Check out the options on our website and more recipes that can add this healthy option to your menu weekly.