Who couldn’t use a good immune boost these days? Strong immunity helps prevent illness, infection, lessen recovery times, and is the privilege that may see you through the other side of certain potentially deadly viruses like Coronavirus. But how do you boost your immunity and stay healthy?
You can increase immune strength with a balanced diet, exercise, and certain extracts and vitamins that have been shown to help keep us in top shape. But what specifically should be on your plate as far as a healthy immune system is concerned?
Here we’ll list several dietary components that can strengthen the immune system and are easily added to your diet.
Foods That Boost Your Immune System
Vitamin C has to top any “immune boosting” ingredient list, right? This vitamin is essential for proper immune functioning. It helps increase counts of white blood cells-- our main defense against foriegn bodies that cause illness like bacteria and viruses-- and promotes elimination of toxins. It’s found in all citrus fruits but you can also get it from papaya, strawberries, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, kale, spinach, and more. There are several foods that are great sources of vitamin C, so you don’t necessarily need to take it as a supplement. Just eat your oranges and tangerines!
Echinacea is one of the most well-known herbs taken to combat cold and flu illnesses. It’s an herbaceous flowering plant genus in the daisy family and has been used globally for medicinal purposes for many years.
Like vitamin C, studies have shown that Echinacea can increase the number of white blood cells in your body which will make it more effective to fight against infections. It’s taken often as a preventative supplement to avoid illness before it really strikes. Since it’s not found in your normal diet, you can take echinacea as a supplement in either capsule or liquid form, alone or in combination with other immune boosting ingredients like Envy Hemp’s Wellness line.
Read more on the benefits of echinacea.
Zinc is a mineral which has documented benefits for human immunity. It’s best known for helping to heal wounds (which lowers the risk of infection) and helps shorten the duration of common colds.
Zinc can be obtained from a healthy balanced diet, including red meat, poultry, grains, beans, and nuts. If you’re a vegetarian with certain nut allergies, however, it may be necessary to supplement your diet with additional zinc.
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption leading to healthy bones but also for a strong immune system. It’s been found to decrease the risk of infection and aid in autoimmune disorders.
Unlike most other vitamins, vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods beyond fatty fish such as sardines, tuna, mackerel, and salmon. It’s fortified or added to foods like cereals, orange juice, and milk, but the best source for the elusive vitamin is the sun. UV rays from the sun react with cholesterol in skin cells to synthesize vitamin D.
Elderberry is a genus of flowering plant in the Adoxaceae family. Its berries are packed with vitamin C and iron and have been used to treat symptoms of common colds and flus for centuries with success.
Elderberry is toxic in its fresh state, and should be adequately prepared before consumption, so it’s best to take pre-prepared supplements to take advantage of of its health benefits.
Activities To Strengthen Your Immune System
Unsurprisingly, non-nutrient related ways to maintain a healthy immune system include regular exercise, staying well rested, and eliminating bad habits that can compromise immune function.
Things like smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and lack of sleep are detrimental to proper functioning of your immune system.
Hera are a few tips to implement beyond diet to strengthen your immune system:
- Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep has been linked to higher incidences of sickness. More sleep can also help you get over a cold faster.
- Stay Hydrated. The list of bodily functions that benefit from and conditions that can be helped by appropriate water intake are too many to count. Just trust us on this one, 8-10 cups a day keeps (a lot of) your troubles away.
- Exercise regularly. Maintaining a moderate level of exercise activity can help increase cell production, especially those involved in immune response. However, it’s important to note that overexertion can actually suppress immunity.
- Reduce Stress. High levels of stress can wreak havoc on the body in numerous physiological ways. Find ways to reduce stress throughout the day and consider certain lifestyle changes for chronic stress problems.
- Finally, consult your physician about your immune health if you feel these changes and additions don’t provide any or minimal results. They may have specific diagnoses and targeted treatments for your needs.
There are several nutrients including certain vitamins and plant extracts that are crucial to immune health or can help improve immune function overall. You can include these ingredients in your diet and take certain supplements with the addition of healthy habits like avoiding smoking and increasing exercise to bulk up your body’s immune system.