Around 9.6 million people are now vegans, as found in a new study undertaken by Ipsos Retail Performance. Concerns for animal welfare, a wish to battle climate change, and personal health are the top reasons why people are embracing this lifestyle, with a vegan diet containing so many immunity-boosting foods. Indeed, immunity is the buzzword in the health sector during these challenging times. If you wish to do all you can to help your body battle viruses and bacteria, the following tips may help.

The Importance Of Regular Mealtimes

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have found that eating causes a hormone called VIP to activate immune cells in response to potentially harmful incoming bacteria. They also found that immunity builds up when your body anticipates that mealtime is near. The findings show that enjoying meals at the same time every day is more important than was previously thought.

Consuming Green Vegetables, Fermented Foods And Mushrooms

Green vegetables, fermented foods, and mushrooms are just three paths to stronger immunity. One study published in the journal Cell Press, for instance, has shown that green vegetables produce a chemical sign the immune system needs to function well. Another study by researchers at the University of Florida has shown that shiitake mushrooms are linked to the optimal working of gamma delta T-cells. A third study published in PLOS Genetics, meanwhile, found that consuming lactic acid bacteria fights inflammation. What you avoid is as important as what you eat. University of Gothenburg scientists conducted a lab study showing that a consistently high-fat diet impaired the body’s ability to fight bacteria in the blood.

Fiber And The Immune System

A 2019 University of Sydney study found that a fiber-rich diet could help reduce the preeclampsia risk of pregnant women. Preeclampsia is a complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to organs (typically the kidneys and liver). High fiber diets can prevent this condition by enabling ‘good gut bacteria’ to thrive. Researcher Ralph Nanan stated that “The mother's gut bacteria and diet appear to be crucial to promoting a healthy pregnancy.” Balance is already important; Nanan recommends that pregnant women eat real, whole foods (mostly plants) and that they avoid overeating.

Staying Active

Research undertaken this year at the University of Bath has found that regular, daily exercise benefits the immune system. The researchers reported that in the short term, physical activity can help the body find and deal with viruses and bacteria. In the long-term, meanwhile, it can slow down the rate of the changes that take place in the immune system as we age. They stated that people should not overlook the importance of staying active and healthy. Lead author, James Turner, said, “Provided it is carried out in isolation - away from others - then regular, daily exercise will help better maintain the way the immune system works - not suppress it.”

Having a healthy immune system depends, to a great degree, on the nutritional choices you make. Research has shown that plant-based foods and specific vegetables such as greens and shiitake mushrooms can be particularly beneficial. So, too, can staying active, and enjoying workouts on a daily basis.