10 Power Nutrients (and Foods) to Boost your Immune System and Kick Cold Away

This article was originally published with 11 Nutrient but one was later removed as it was a duplicate.

The healthier we are the more we can accomplish. A big key to being healthy is having more white blood cells. White blood cells are cells of the immune system involved in defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials. Simply put the more white blood cells you have the stronger is your immune system. The nutrients listed have been researched in my own quest to have a stronger Immune System. Here are the top nutrients to add to your diet to cut down on days missed from work and school because of illness. Along with the nutrients I have also listed the foods which are rich in those nutrients. Hopefully it will help you become stronger with less sick days every year.

1. Vitamin C
Helps protect the cells from free radical damage. It also helps if you have poor wound healing, frequent colds or infections and lung-related problems. Vitamin C serves a predominantly protective role in the body. The protective role of vitamin C goes far beyond our skin and gums. Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, joint diseases and cataracts are all associated with vitamin C deficiency and can be partly prevented by optimal intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C achieves much of its protective effect by functioning as an antioxidant and preventing oxygen-based damage to our cells.
Food Sources: Parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts. If you take vitamin C supplements, it's best to space them throughout the day rather than take one large dose, most of which may end up being excreted in the urine.

2. Vitamin E
Allow your cells to communicate effectively. Stimulates the production of natural killer cells. Vitamin E enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. It also helps if you have digestive system problems, Tingling or loss of sensation in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. Vitamin E has sometimes been described as the "lightening rod" of the cell, allowing reactive molecules to strike the cell, like lightening, without causing damage. This "lightening rod" function of vitamin E is particularly apparent in the case of the skin, since vitamin E directly protects the skin from ultraviolet radiation (also called UV light). In numerous research studies, vitamin E applied topically to the skin has been shown to prevent UV damage. When the diet contains vitamin E-rich foods, vitamin E can travel to the skin cell membranes and exert this same protective effect.
Food Sources: mustard greens, chard, sunflower seeds, and turnip greens. Very good sources include almonds and spinach. Supplements may be necessary to get enough vitamin E to boost your immune system.

3. Carotenoids
Protects your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Enhance the functioning of your immune system. It is recommend if you are regularly smoke/drink and have low intake of fruits and vegetables. The most commonly consumed provitamin A carotenoids is beta-carotene. The body turns Beta-carotene quickly into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for our skin, which is the first line of defense for our immune systems.
Food Sources: Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, winter squash, collard greens, chard, cantaloupe, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, cayenne pepper, peppermint leaves, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, and apricots. To maximize the availability of the carotenoids in the foods listed above, the foods should be eaten raw or steamed lightly.

4. Bioflavenoids
Bioflavenoids protect the cell membranes against the pollutants trying to attach to them. Along the membrane of each cell there are microscopic parking spaces, called receptor sites. Pollutants, toxins, or germs can park here and gradually eat their way into the membrane of the cell, but when bioflavenoids fill up these parking spots there is no room for toxins to park. Bioflavenoids also reduce the cholesterol's ability to form plaques in arteries and lessen the formation of microscopic clots inside arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Food Sources: Red grapes, onions, apples, and citrus fruits.

5. Zinc
Stabilize your metabolic rate. Prevent a weakened immune system. This valuable mineral increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It also helps if you have Impaired sense of taste or smell, Lack of appetite, Depression or frequent colds and infections.
Food Sources: calf's liver, mushrooms, pot roast, dark meat turkey, pumpkin and squash seeds, oysters ,spinach and shiitake mushrooms. A word of caution: too much zinc in the form of supplements (more than 75 milligrams a day) can inhibit immune function. It's safest to stick to getting zinc from your diet and aim for 15 to 25 milligrams a day.

6. Selenium
Protect cells from free-radical damage. Enable your thyroid to produce thyroid hormone. Prevention of oxidative stress. It also helps if you have weakness or pain in the muscles, discoloration of the hair or skin or whitening of the fingernail beds
Food sources: Button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, calf's liver, and salmon.

7. Omega-3 fatty acids
The omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes. A study found that children taking a half teaspoon of flax oil a day experienced fewer and less severe respiratory infections and fewer days of being absent from school.
Food Sources: Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts. Research indicates that omega-3s may be better absorbed from food than supplements. When taking essential fatty acid supplements, such as flax or fish oils, take additional vitamin E, which acts together with essential fatty acids to boost the immune system. One way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is to add one to three teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yogurt smoothie.

8. Flavonoids
Enhances the power of your vitamin C. Protects cell from oxygen damage. Prevent excessive inflammation throughout your body. It also helps if you get easily bruised, frequent nose bleeds, excessive swelling after injury and frequent colds or infections.
Food Sources: Green Tea, apples, apricots, blueberries, pears, raspberries, strawberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, and tomatoes.

9. Lactobacillus casei
This bacteria stimulates the immunity cells in your gastrointestinal tract. It also significantly improves the immune response and ability to fight off pneumonia. Daily serving of probiotic-rich yogurt bolsters your body's ability to protect you from infection.
Food Sources: Yogurt, Kefir

10. Folate or Folic acid
Supports cell production, especially in your skin. Allow nerves to function properly. It also helps if you have Irritability, Mental fatigue, forgetfulness, or confusion, Depression, Insomnia, General or muscular fatigue.
Food Sources: romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, calf's liver, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, and lentils.

If you will be working so hard to build all the cells then make sure you avoid the following foods in excess as they will kill the immune system even before you will be able to build it.
1)Avoid Excess sugar - About two cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.
2) Excess Alcohol - Excessive alcohol intake suppress the ability of the white blood cells to multiply. One reasonable size drink drink does not appear to bother the immune system, but three or more drinks do. Amounts of alcohol that are enough to cause intoxication are also enough to suppress immunity.
3) Excess Fat - Obesity can inhibit the ability of white blood cells to multiply, produce antibodies, and rush to the site of an infection.

The research for this article is based on the data from http://www.whfoods.com. Please consult a doctor before taking any supplements.