5 Immune-Boosting Tips
Below are five supplements that may help improve immune health while offering several other benefits. Many of these have been frequently researched for their immune benefits, however, they cannot replace a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy, sleeping well, and exercising are the most important things for your body’s immune system.
1. Eat foods high in vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient to the health and functioning of your immune system. This vitamin is necessary for the absorption of calcium to maintain bone health. Many people are deficient in this vitamin, which can harm the immune system. Low vitamin D levels are associated with a risk of respiratory infections and influenza. Supplementing with vitamin D decreases the risk of respiratory infections in people deficient in this vitamin.
Vitamin D Boosters
- Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, shrimp, and sardines
- Egg yolks
- Exposure to the sun (with sunscreen of course)
The exact vitamin D content of the foods mentioned above may vary depending on their sourcing. For example, research shows that farmed salmon contains only a quarter of the amount of vitamin D compared to wild-caught salmon. Additionally, wild mushrooms exposed to sunlight contain more vitamin D than commercially grown types. The findings are also similar to eggs. Some research suggests that eggs from free-range or pasture-raised chickens offer up to 4 times more vitamin D depending on how much time the animal spends outside and what their typical feed is.
Zinc is a mineral that is essential to immune system function. Supplementing with zinc may protect against respiratory infections like the common cold. A study shows that people who take 30mg of zinc per day decrease the total duration of their sickness. 2 billion people worldwide are affected by the deficiency of zinc, especially in older adults. Legumes, seeds, nuts, and dark chocolate are just a few of the many foods high in zinc.
Lemons are high in vitamin C, providing 51% of the recommended daily amount in one lemon. Lemons also improve the absorption of iron from plant foods such as spinach, which can prevent common iron deficiencies. Lemons and other citrus are full of antioxidants.
Consuming antioxidants reduce the number of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are formed in the body based on the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe. By consuming things that contain pesticides, chemicals, and pollutants; the cells of the body are harmed. This overall weakens the immune system and affects overall health. The consumption of lemons or other similar foods high in vitamin C will work to release these toxins from the body.
Elderberry extracts have shown to prevent bacteria responsible for respiratory infections. Historically, the flowers and leaves of the tree have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes. The dried berries have been used to treat infections, influenza, and reduce inflammation. They are also high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which work to prevent chronic disease. Elderberry can be taken as a cold supplement found in lozenges, gummies and pill capsules. Some of the best supplement options can be found here.
Tumeric is the spice in curry powder that gives it a yellow color. The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has incredible anti-inflammatory effects. According to researchers, turmeric is said to be one of the most effective nutritional supplements, providing many major benefits.
Some of these benefits:
- Fighting chronic inflammation that is caused by disease
- Potent in antioxidants, resulting in immune defense
- Increases brain levels and improves memory
- Effective as an antidepressant
Curcumin is poorly absorbed by the bloodstream, but taking black pepper with it will increase the absorption into your body. Turmeric is also fat-soluble, meaning it is best to take it with a fatty meal such as eggs, avocados, or nuts. To reach the full effects of curcumin, taking a supplement would be most beneficial. It is hard to consume significant amounts of it by using turmeric in your food. However, it still offers some benefit.
The best way to keep a healthy immune system is to maintain high levels of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise daily. These foods can supplement your immune system past that and keep you healthy through flu season and beyond!