How many people around you have been sick in the last few weeks? I’m guessing quite a handful. Maybe you’ve struggled with the common cold or flu these past weeks.
During the winter or when the season changes, it’s common for most people to get sick. But it doesn’t have to be. It’s your immune system’s job to keep you healthy.
This article discusses the role of your immune system, essential vitamins and minerals, and foods and supplements to boost your immune system.
The Role of your Immune System
Think of your immune system as your body’s own protection mechanism. It consists of cells, processes and chemicals that protect you from outside invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins.
You might have a poor immune system if you get sick or infected. There are a few factors that can affect your immunity. Some of these include;
- Age: As you get older, your immune system responds slower, increasing your risk of getting sick.
- Mood: Cortisol is a hormone produced when you’re under stress. This hormone directly lowers your immunity.
- Sleep: When you sleep, your body produces and releases antibodies (proteins fight infections). Therefore, lack of sleep can result in low antibodies in your body and an increased risk for diseases and illnesses.
- Environment: Spending time outside in nature decreases your chances of getting sick. This is because the bacteria outside help build your immune system.
- Diet: What you put in your body builds the foundation for your immune system. Below we go into more detail about how foods can help you boost your immune system.
These are only a few factors. Others include certain medications, autoimmune diseases, genetics, drugs, grief or lack of exercise.
Vitamins and Minerals to Keep you Healthy
Healthy foods provide many nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, to keep you strong and healthy.
The table below indicates six essential vitamins and minerals, plus some food examples, to keep you healthy.
|Vitamin C||Citrus fruits, spinach, kale, bell peppers, berries and papaya.|
|Vitamin B6||Poultry, fish, peanuts, soy products, oats and bananas.|
|Vitamin D||Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel), red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods (fat spreads and breakfast cereals)|
|Vitamin E||Sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil, almonds, peanuts, spinach, pumpkin and red bell peppers.|
|Zinc||Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds and soy products|
|Selenium||Brazil nuts, seafood (tuna, halibut, sardines), liver, poultry and cottage cheese.|
It can be overwhelming starting your health journey with food. How can you make it easier? Break it down into smaller steps. Instead of trying to incorporate all these healthy foods at once, include two to three new ones per week. Start by trying our top five immune-boosting foods.
Top 5 Foods that Boost your Immunity
These foods are easy to incorporate into your everyday life and will leave you feeling healthier and more vibrant.
1. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, clementines, tangerines, lemons and limes are packed with vitamin C!
Your body doesn’t store vitamin C. Therefore, consuming it daily is crucial to protect or help you recover from a cold quicker.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods. It contains vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and many other antioxidants. If you like cooked broccoli, it’s best to steam them as it destroys fewer nutrients than other cooking methods. Raw is always the best nutrient-wise, though.
3. Garlic and Ginger
Garlic and ginger are not only to flavour your food. They are must-haves for your health.
Ginger decreases inflammation and may help with nausea. This is why many turn to ginger when they feel unwell. It may be helpful when you have a sore throat, upset stomach, chronic pain or even struggling with high cholesterol.
Another food high in vitamin C! But wait, there’s more.
Spinach is also packed with antioxidants and vitamin A, which increases your body’s ability to fight infections. Similar to broccoli, spinach is best cooked as little as possible. Enjoy it raw or only cook for a few seconds.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and healthy fats. As mentioned earlier, vitamin E is crucial to fight off colds. Better yet, vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it needs fat to be absorbed into the body.
You should focus on getting most of your nutrients through food. They are best absorbed in their natural form. But we all know life happens and some days it’s challenging to eat all your fruits and vegetables.
Supplements may be beneficial when you lack certain nutrients in your diet, have increased needs (for example, during pregnancy) or have a medical condition such as cancer or an autoimmune disorder.
Supplements to Boost your Immune System
By putting together an Immune Booster Pack, we’ve made it easier to ensure a healthy immune system for you and your children. We also share our favourite superfoods.
The Immune Booster Pack
- Adults: ImmuCore® by Metagenics | Children: MetaKids Multi Soft Chew
- Improves the body’s ability to absorb and use vitamin C, Zinc and vitamin D.
- Adults: D3 Liquid by Metagenics | Children: MetaKids D3 Liquid
- High dose of vitamin D3 drops, the most bioactive form of supplemental vitamin D.
- Zinc A.G. by Metagenics.
- Provides Zinc in a highly absorbable and well-tolerated form.
- Ultra Potent-C® 1000 by Metagenics.
- A vitamin C formula designed to help prevent the potential stomach upset sometimes associated with high vitamin C intake.
- Adults: Nurture Daily Probiotic by Metagenics | Children: MetaKids Baby Probiotic
- A probiotic to improve the digestion of foods, absorption of nutrients and overall function of your digestive tract.
Some of our favourite Superfoods
- Spirulina Powder – contains amino acids, vitamins A, K1, K2, B12 and iron, manganese and chromium.
- Moringa Powder – rich in protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin and various antioxidants, including quercetin and chlorogenic acid.
Although they are not necessary, these are great supplements and superfoods to replenish the nutrients essential to a healthy immune system.
Are you ready to make the changes to live a healthier life? Go for it! We promise you won’t forget it.
If you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover send me a shout below or email me.
Planks and kisses