A healthy diet is vital for a strong immune system as it provides essential vitamins and minerals. Everyone needs a healthy immune system to fight off diseases. And as much as we try to be healthy throughout the year, there are variables (age, stress levels, sleep, underlying health issues) that may hinder a quality immune response. In this article, we discuss the nutrients that your body needs to promote immune health and which supplements to boost your immune system are best.
Vitamins and Supplements to Boost Immune System
Indeed, most of the nutrients the body needs are essential, and we get them from the food we eat and/or supplements. Some of the nutrients the immune system needs to perform are :
Vitamin C plays one of the biggest roles in promoting a strong immune system. Although the body does not produce vitamin C naturally, you can get it from food and supplements. The good news is vitamin C is present in many fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, if these foods are eaten raw, it will give the body more nutrients. Some of the foods that you should eat regularly include:
- Citrus fruits ( oranges, lemons, etc.)
- Spinach and kale
- Brussel sprouts
- Kiwi fruit
- Bell peppers and more
A powerful antioxidant that enhances immune function by protecting the cells from damaging effects of free radicals and stopping their production entirely. Therefore, helping the body fight off infections.
Foods rich in Vitamin E include:
- Plant-based oils
- Collard greens
It is a powerful immune-boosting nutrient that the skin produces in response to sunlight. Our bodies require sufficient amounts of Vitamin D to promote normal growth, bone development, immune system functions, and improved resistance against certain diseases. Because not everyone can get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D through sunlight alone due to various factors, other vitamin D sources besides sunlight are available, such as foods and supplements. However, few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Those that do include:
- Egg yolk
- shrimp, milk (fortified)
If you choose to take Vitamin D supplements, consult with your healthcare provider to determine the right dosage for your needs.
Iron is an essential mineral the body needs for growth and development. It makes hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to body cells, which play an essential role in immune system processes. For this reason, an iron deficiency will affect your first line of defense. As a result, it leaves you vulnerable to infections and diseases. Iron is found naturally in foods, which include:
- Red meat
- Dark green leafy greens
Zinc produces new immune cells, which keep the immune system strong, helps fight infections, and heal wounds. Recently zinc has been popular for the treatment of the common cold. The recommended dietary allowance includes Zinc found primarily in foods and also found in dietary supplements. The foods rich in Zinc include ;
- Lean meats
- Baked beans.
Omega 3 fatty acids are important components of the membranes that surround each cell in your body. And they are found naturally in foods and dietary supplements. Foods rich in Omega-3 are:
- Fish and other seafood
- Plant oils,
- Fortified foods
Omega-3 dietary supplements include fish oil, cod liver oil, and algal oil (a vegetarian source from algae). They have been found to have immune regulating properties and promote immune health by :
- Enhancing the function of both innate and adaptive immune cells.
- Influence the functioning of immune cells such as white blood cells known as B cells.
- signaling molecules and therefore influence where and how those immune cells are activated
These are made up of good bacterias that live inside our bodies to promote a healthy gut. These good bacterias provide a health benefit to the host by boosting the immune system by activating immune mechanisms. Probiotics promote immune health through:
- Inhibiting pathogenic bacterias
- Stimulating immune cell activity
- Enhancing barrier functions of the intestinal cells
You can obtain probiotics from supplements and from foods that have been prepared from bacterial fermentation. Examples of probiotic foods include; yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, and others.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally found in the body produced by the pineal gland, a small group of specialized cells in the brain. Its primary function is to facilitate sleep by regulating the sleep-wake cycles by communicating to the body when dark. Also, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that can affect your immune system helping it work in a way that was intended. It supports the immune system, helping coordinate immune responses to combat various threats, including viruses and other inflammations.
Shopping Habits to Boost Your Immune System
One simple way to make sure you are getting the supplements you need regularly is by improving your shopping habits. For one thing, when you are at the grocery store, choose fruits and vegetables that are more colorful. Because the more colorful the fruit and vegetables are, the better they are for you.
You can only build a strong immune system by maintaining healthy habits and eating right. You will only see the benefits of a healthy diet over time as it will help the body prevent infections and fight them off. Check food labels to understand what you are putting into your body. Ensure you have a rainbow of fruits and vegetables and natural supplements where applicable to promote overall health.
Supplements to Boost Immune System
While vitamins and supplements can help fill in your diet gaps, the best way to load up on essential nutrients is to get them straight from food. Evidently, increasing your intake of immunity-enhancing dietary factors is a great strategy for optimizing immune functioning and overall health.
Of course, for those that require supplements to be added to their diet, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider to confirm you are taking the right dose.
Nava Health Can Help!
Nava Health can help! Schedule your appointment today, and we will work with you to help you get your health back on track and give your immune system the boost it needs!