If this year has taught us anything, it’s that viruses and sickness can spread rapidly and that different groups of people in society are vulnerable. Many things strain your body and damage your health so it’s important for you to keep a healthy immune system all year round, particularly in the cooler months. You can boost your immune system with food and supplements.
How does your immune system work?
The immune system is a complex system that defends our body against infection and is made up of the tonsils, thymus, lymph nodes and vessels, bone marrow, and the spleen. It is comprised of antibodies, white blood cells, and other chemicals and proteins which attack pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.
Your immune system starts developing and building defenses from birth and throughout childhood. A healthy immune system will help prevent severe and life-threatening diseases throughout your life.
How can you boost your immunity?
Some foods and supplements promote immunity, however, it’s important to be fully aware of what you are putting in your body.
Here are supplements and foods that strengthen your immunity naturally:
1. Vitamin D: The best source of vitamin D is through your diet. Foods that contain vitamin D include salmon, herring and mackerel, and eggs.
2. Zinc: You can get zinc from many foods such as lentils, turkey, and pumpkin seeds however a supplement can help boost your zinc levels.
3. Probiotics: Probiotics help strengthen your gut health which is important when it comes to boosting your immune system.
4. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is in a range of foods and is known for fighting the common cold and flu.
Foods that promote a healthy immune system
1. Citrus fruits: Fruits high in vitamin C increase the production of white blood cells which are the key to fighting infections.
2. Capsicum (red bell peppers): These also contain vitamin C and can help boost your immune system.
3. Broccoli: This vegetable is filled with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and other antioxidants.
4. Ginger: Ginger can help decrease inflammation which can help reduce a sore throat.
5. Spinach: Spinach is rich in vitamin C and also contains plenty of antioxidants that can boost our immune systems.
6. Almonds & sunflower seeds: These nuts and seeds contain Vitamin E which is important in regulating and maintaining immune system function.
7. Poultry: Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6 which plays an important role in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body.
How to keep your immune system going?
Besides supplements and diet, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle to help support health and immunity.
Being fit and healthy is important in helping your immune system to run at its peak performance. Eating right is a great start, and there are other things you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu, cold, and other illnesses.
You can make several lifestyle and dietary changes today to strengthen your immune system. These include reducing your sugar intake, staying hydrated, working out regularly, getting adequate sleep, and managing your stress levels.
Although none of these suggestions can prevent COVID-19, they may reinforce your body’s defenses against harmful pathogens.