By Hakeem Jibo

The bottom line: To boost your immune system, try a low-fat vegetarian diet accompanied by regular physical activity. Vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains contain nutrients and phytochemicals to strengthen the immune system. Fiber, which is readily available in plant foods, helps your body flush out toxins.The omega 3 fatty acids, found in flax oil, act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. Use flax oil as your base for vinaigrettes, drizzle it on top of vegetables, stir it into oatmeal, or whir it in your smoothies.Foods to boost your immune system:

Vitamin C
This well-known vitamin increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies and increases levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses. Reach for oranges, lemons, grapefruits, limes, strawberries, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, and sweet peppers.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells, those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. A diet rich in seeds, vegetable oils, and grains will give you plenty of Vitamin E.

Carotenoids
Beta carotene often found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, and tomatoes increases the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells.

Bioflavonoids
Bioflavonoids aid the immune system by protecting the cells of the body against environmental pollutants. A diet that contains a wide variety of peppers, berries, cherries and buckwheat will give you the bioflavonoids you need.

Zinc
This valuable mineral increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It’s safest to stick to getting zinc from your diet of nuts and seeds or cocoa powder.

Garlic:
This flavorful member of the onion family stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production.

Selenium
This mineral increases natural killer cells and mobilizes cancer-fighting cells. The best vegan food sources of selenium are whole grains, vegetables, brown rice, sunflower seeds and garlic.

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