How a Plant-Based Diet Can Boost T-Cells and Your Immune System
T-cells play an essential role in supporting your immune system, and are responsible for defending your body against invading pathogens that could cause diseases and illnesses. In addition to relying on T-cells for immune health, there are other natural ways you can boost your immunity, like lifestyle changes, regular exercise, and consuming a plant-based diet.
In this article, we will explore the importance of T-cells and their relation to immunity, and how to strengthen your immune system with a vegan diet. For more information, keep on reading!
1. How T-Cells Support the Immune System
T-cells, a kind of white blood cell, work by scanning our bodies, circulating through our blood stream, to detect cellular abnormalities and invading pathogens. They are absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, and our bodies could be devastated by the loss or reduction of these white blood cells.
Although there a several types of T-cells, the most important two are called killer T-cells and helper T-cells. The killer T-cells work to destroy cells that are infected with germs or are potentially cancerous. They are able to do so because they basically have X-ray vision, allowing them to see inside our bodies’ cells with a simple surface scan. These cells are also referred to as cytotoxic T-cell.
Helper T-cells, on the other hand, help other white blood cells and also work to produce a immune response to invading pathogens. In so many words, helper T-cells are responsible for activating antibodies that will destroy infected cells.
These cells are so important to the immune system because they are responsible for eradicating cancer cells, scanning the body for foreign germs and pathogens, destroying infected cells, activating additional immune cells, and keeping a sort of database for germs that they’ve encountered across decades. They also are important for immune responses that include allergic reactions, autoimmune diseases, and organ transplant rejection.
2. How a Plant-Based Diet Boosts T-Cells and the Immune System
In order to maintain a healthy immune system, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle as well as adhere to a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. It is first important to note that lifestyle changes may need to be altered to boost your immune system. This includes working to minimize stress by including activities like yoga, exercise, and meditation into your regular routine. According to the Journal of Medicine and Life, this is important because stress can actually hinder the production of T-cells while limiting your bodies ability to produce antibodies. It is also good to think about avoiding habits like smoking and drinking excessively because these habits can significantly lower your immune system.
Above all else, however, a healthy diet will do the most for your immune system. Some even think that a plant-based diet may be even more beneficial to your immunity because it is a diet packed with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables, and grains, and possess antiviral capabilities. They can also stimulate the activities of certain immune cells, including T-cells. Increasing your intake of foods packed with carotenoids can also boost immune health as well as T-cells, because this antioxidant protects cells from oxidative damage, enhances T-cell responses, and boosts killer T-cell functioning.
When eating a plant-based diet, you are effortlessly increasing your intake of antioxidant packed foods that work systematically to protect the immune system and positively influence T-cell activity.
3. Foods that Aid the Immune System
There are certain plant-based foods that are super important to include into your diet if you are looking to elevate your immunity. These foods include:
- Garlic contains anti-viral compounds that effectively support immune cells to enhance their functioning.
- Ginger is a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory that is packed with phytochemicals that help support the immune system.
- Miso is a fermented food that gains beneficial bacterias in the process that help enhance gut health. It is also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and folic acid, nutrients that help you stay healthy!
- Turmeric has anti-inflammatory capabilities and can boost antibody responses.
- Carrots are packed with carotenoids!
- Berries of all kinds are loaded with flavonoids!
4. Vegan Recipes for a Healthy Immune System
Red Lentil and Mushroom Soup with Garlic and Ginger
This Red Lentil and Mushroom Soup with Garlic and Ginger by Jenny Marie is a relaxing and cozy dish for chillier days! The ginger gives it a lovely ‘spicy’ kick, and there’s a great peppery lentil taste. Blend the whole lot up into a very comforting thick and creamy soup!
Warm Blueberry Overnight Oats
Warm Blueberry Overnight Oats by Sophie Parker has a great contrast, as the oatmeal base is cold but the blueberry compote is warm. The oat base also has a slight caramel taste from the maca powder, which works perfectly with the juicy and tangy blueberry compote.
Immunity Boosting Miso Soup
Immunity Boosting Miso Soup by Crissy Cavanaugh should be served with steamed short grain brown rice that has been cooked with a little bit of coconut oil for added immune support. Sprinkle with gomasio and pink sea salt for extra yumminess! This soup can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is totally kid-friendly!
For more like 10 Foods That Will Boost Your Immunity During Flu Season, we recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead Image Source: Tina Franklin/Flickr