The immune system is designed to protect the body from internal and external attacks by responding to antigens. A strong immune system bolsters your body against sicknesses caused by bacteria, viruses and other organisms, enabling you to sustain good health.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has shone a spotlight on the human immune system, and research and statistics are showing people with certain pre-existing medical conditions to be more at risk of experiencing complications with the coronavirus. People have become increasingly aware of their own health, including how to keep their immune system in top shape to combat the virus, should they be exposed to it.
Immune function is important even during more typical global conditions, though, which makes understanding strong immune heath critical to optimal wellness, no matter what is going on in the rest of the world. To gauge immune health, ask yourself the following questions:
• Do you find yourself struggling to recover from simple infections?
• Do you often get the flu?
• Do you always feel like you’re fighting a cold?
• Does it seem like you catch every virus that your friends, family and coworkers seem to get?
If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, then your immune system may need some extra support. Poor diet, lack of quality sleep, excessive alcohol intake, stress and medications are among the factors that can compromise your immune system.
How to boost your immune system naturally
Supplements have proven to be effective in boosting the immune system and helping the body fight off any bacteria or virus that comes its way. This quick guide highlights some supplements and herbs that you may want to try, if you’re looking to give your immune system a jump-start.
1. Vitamin D
Though we more commonly hear about vitamin C (the next supplement on this list) as an immunity booster, vitamin D is also crucial to overall health and wellness. Its anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties are known to help enhance immune cell function, reduce susceptibility to disease and infection – particularly in the lungs – and improve the body’s ability to combat respiratory conditions like asthma, COPD and infections. Although small amounts of vitamin D are found naturally in fatty fish like salmon or tuna, and in cheese, egg yolks, and some fortified foods, most of our vitamin D is manufactured in the body with exposure to the sun. Still, this may not be enough to meet the body’s needs, particularly in colder months and areas with less sun. A supplement is often required to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D.
2. Vitamin C
If you’re looking for a potent antioxidant that has been shown to help keep the immune system strong, vitamin C is a good one. Vitamin C helps the human body produce white blood cells, which are required to help it ward off or rid itself of infection, and protects white blood cells against damage from free radicals. Vitamin C can help boost immune response as well as improve antioxidant levels, help lower blood pressure, and improve absorption of minerals. It is commonly found in citrus and other fruits, brightly colored peppers, broccoli and cauliflower.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The whole family can benefit from this supplement, which is found naturally in fish, chia seeds, flax seeds, and some other foods. Omega-3 fatty acids serve numerous health purposes, including reducing risk of developing heart-related complications like stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrest and low blood pressure. Omega-3s work to lower inflammation levels throughout the body, which also improves the ability to fight pathogens and toxins.
If you’ve ever had a cough, you might know that zinc-based remedies may help you recover more quickly. This mineral is essential to immune health and has been shown to help fight infections, lower children’s risk of respiratory infections, and assist in healing everything from skin irritations and diaper rash to ulcers, acne and wounds – many of which are caused by toxins or bacteria. Natural zinc sources include red meats and poultry, whole grains, beans and nuts.
Turmeric is a root that is often ground into powder, making it easy to add to your daily diet by putting it in smoothies or sprinkling it on oatmeal, among other options. Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin, which has been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, properties that play a significant role in fighting arthritis, depression, and improving immune system function.
6. Vitamin B Complex
Eight essential vitamins make up the vitamin B complex, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid and cobalamin. The set is responsible for proper energy, cell metabolism and brain function, as well as boosting the immune system to help the body fight infections. Taking a vitamin B complex can aid in digestion, red blood cell growth and cardiovascular health, among other benefits, thereby helping your body remove toxins and improve circulation for optimal health.
If you’re looking for a supplement that has been shown to boost immune function, ease cold and flu symptoms, and reduce swelling and inflammation, elderberry might just be for you. Its effectiveness comes from flavonoids, which have shown promising results as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supports. Elderberry supplements are available in many forms to help improve immune system functioning, including a syrup that tastes good enough that even kids like it!
A healthy immune system is important, especially during a pandemic like COVID-19. Your body needs strong defense mechanisms more than ever to fight disease-causing organisms, sustain normal organ functioning, and combat potentially detrimental health threats. Taking quality supplements can give you extra support to help you get – and stay – healthy for years to come.
Improve your immune system with herbs and supplements
Are you wondering why your body is prone to various ailments that take too long to heal? Are you looking for advice to guide you in finding the best supplements to boost your health and wellness? It may be time to consult the team of wellness experts at Village Green Apothecary! Contact us today to book an in-person, online, or over-the-phone consultation.