We find ourselves in a challenging time of uncertainty over an unprecedented global health crisis.
As you follow nationally recommended safety measures including frequent hand washing and social distancing, you may be wondering how to boost your immune system.
Your ability to fight bugs and recover faster lies in the strength and function of your “stay safe” system. Fortunately, there are several immune system boosters you can take advantage of right now.
Here are 4 ways to start reinforcing your natural defenses.
1. Eat immune system booster foods
A published study on immune function states: “The immune system is strongly influenced by the intake of nutrients.”
While many communities are seeing shortages in bread and pasta, the best immune system booster foods are in the produce and frozen food aisles.
To “sick-proof” your diet, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They’re high in key immune system booster vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that can help you combat dangerous bacteria and viruses.
Here are a few top vitamins for the immune system you should consider taking as supplements to ensure you get the beneficial amount:
- Vitamin C
A deficiency in this important vitamin-antioxidant can decrease your resistance to pathogens.
Found in brightly colored fruits and veggies, such as citrus, berries, red peppers and broccoli, water-soluble vitamin C is vital to the healthy function of certain cells in the immune system. It’s considered a strong vitamin for immune system.
- Vitamins A & D
Studies describe these powerful nutrients as having an effect on immune system response unrivaled by other vitamins, making them two of the most powerful immune system booster vitamins.
Called the “anti-inflammation vitamin”, vitamin A is found in cod liver oil and eggs, and yellow and orange fruits and veggies, which contain beta carotene, the precursors to vitamin A.
The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, supports a healthy immune response. Studies show that vitamin D supplementation can help reduce the risk of respiratory conditions, including colds and flu.
Scientific evidence is especially strong among people who don’t get enough sun exposure to synthesize vitamin D naturally.
To help keep your immune cells strong, consume plenty of antioxidants from colorful, bright-hued fruits and vegetables.
Red superfruits such as cherry, pomegranate and elderberry (the source of a highly popular immune health-boosting elixir) contain a variety of antioxidants. Polyphenols, resveratrol, anthocyanins and lycopene are among them.
2. Support your gut health
According to research, 75% of the immune system is comprised of gut flora, the trillions of live microorganisms that live in the gut.
They promote GI function and digestion. They help synthesize key vitamins such as vitamin K and biotin. And when your gut lacks the right balance of healthy bacteria, you compromise your ability to fight infections.
Stress and poor diet can disrupt this delicate balance. But you can strengthen your natural defenses by taking a probiotic supplement. Choose one with live, active cultures that are shelf-stable to help repopulate intestinal flora.
3. Sleep well and stress less
There’s a strong correlation between sleep and the immune system. When you’re at rest, your body produces protein cytokines—an army of antibodies that help combat health invaders.
Without adequate, high-quality slumber, your infection-fighting defenses are weakened. Plus, prolonged stress can also leave you susceptible to getting sick as it may trigger a flood of ‘fight or flight’ chemicals. So think of sleep and immune system health as being joined at the hip.
Adaptogens are natural herbs and plants that can stamp out this stress response. Try a stress-calming adaptogen blend with ashwagandha and organic mushrooms combined with green food antioxidants.
4. Get some fresh air
If you can get outdoors for fresh, clean air while maintaining social distancing, please do so.
This natural immune system booster is Mother Nature’s free medicinal gift because it helps to purge impurities from your lungs and supplies oxygen that your immune system uses to fight off germs and infections.
This may be a stressful, trying time for all of us. But you’ll find peace of mind in knowing you’re doing everything you can to build a nutritional steel cage around your immune system health.
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