Foods That Support Immune Health
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy veggies like spinach and kale have vitamin C which helps support the immune system.
Eat fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel to increase your vitamin D intake.
Oysters, Red Meat and Poultry
Foods like oysters, red meat and poultry are all good sources of zinc.
Oranges and other citrus fruits contain vitamin C for immune support.
Fresh fruits like strawberries and cantaloupe are a great source of vitamin C.
Fortified grains, juices, or dairy
Breakfast cereals, orange juice, and milk products are often fortified with vitamin D and other good-for-you ingredients to help support your immune system.
What Is The Immune System
The immune system is made up of a number of different organs, cells and proteins within the body, which all work together to protect the body from invasion from bacteria and viruses.
There are two different parts that make up the immune system. The innate immune system is the one which you are born with, and the adaptive immune system is the one which you develop as you are exposed to microbes.
These two parts work together to protect you from infections and viruses.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips For Immune Support
Living a healthy lifestyle is one of best things you can do to support your immune system. Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet is important, of course, but there are other important habits as well. Getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, and practicing proper handwashing hygiene are a few habits to incorporate into your day-to-day routine to help ward off illness and infection. We cant always avoid getting sick, but we can take certain measures to maintain our health as much as possible. Learn more about lifestyle habits that can help support your immune system.
Enjoy your rest
Recommended Reading: What Are Vitamin D Tablets Good For
Vitamin D Is Crucial For Immune Health
The surprising role it plays for your body’s immune system and how it can ward off respiratory infections.
Vitamin D is important for many functions in your body, not just your bone health.
The global coronavirus pandemic definitely left people wondering how to keep themselves well. You know that social distancing, working from home and staying inside in general is one way to protect yourself — but are there other measures you can take?
Boosting your immune system is one of the best things you can do because it is your body’s key defense when it comes to fighting a virus. Even if you are exposed to a virus, the coronavirus or others, if your immune system is strong, you have a better chance of not getting sick. Vitamin C is a popular choice for supporting immunity, but another key nutrient for your immune system is vitamin D. Once thought as the vitamin for strong bones, vitamin D actually does a lot more for your body — including support your immune system.
Studies suggest that vitamin D can help prevent respiratory infections or reduce the severity of them, especially if you have a deficiency. They jury’s out on how exactly it can protect you from the coronavirus, but some medical experts recommend taking a vitamin D supplement to help boost your immune system.
How To Support Your Immune System
There are two ways to support your immune system that have been studied or are being studied. First, there is good evidence for taking vitamins and minerals, and there are ongoing studies for probiotics. Probiotics may help provide healthy bacteria to your gut microbiome. A balanced microbiome has been linked to immune system stability, but the jury is still out on the benefits of probiotics for the immune system.
Also Check: When To Start Taking Postnatal Vitamins
Some More Foods That Boost Your Immune System
5 . One final food thats great for boosting immunity is ginger. Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for nausea, but it also contains compounds that support immunity. Fresh ginger added to tea or smoothies is one easy way to incorporate this root vegetable into your diet.
6. Red peppers are another excellent food for boosting your immune system. Like blueberries, red peppers are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Add some diced red pepper to your next salad or soup to give your immune system a boost.
7. Green tea is another excellent option for boosting your immunity. Green tea contains polyphenols, which are compounds that have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote immunity. Enjoy a cup of green tea daily to keep your immune system operating at peak performance.
8. Turmeric is yet another well-known immunostimulant food. Turmeric has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties that make it ideal for fighting off infection and maintaining a robust immune system. You can add turmeric to just about any savoury dish or take it in supplement form if youre not a fan of the taste.
What Vitamins Can Help Prevent Covid
Because COVID-19 comes with cold and flu-like symptoms, Vitamins B, C and D, as well as zinc may be helpful in boosting your immune system and fighting the illness in the same way they can help you get over a cold or flu.
Generally, vitamin C can help you fight a cold faster or ease your cold symptoms if you were taking it prior to getting sick. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can help reduce inflammationand lung inflammation is a severe symptom of COVID-19, which can lead to respiratory distress or even death. So if youre still healthy, it doesnt hurt to start taking vitamin C now.
The primary function of vitamin D is to help your body maintain optimal blood levels of calcium and phosphorous, which you can get through exposure to the suns ultraviolet rays, or through supplements and the foods you eat.
Getting enough vitamin D can also protect you from respiratory infection. Vitamin D supplementation significantly decreases the chance of respiratory tract infections, based on clinical studies published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics.
B Complex vitamins
Vitamin B6 is essential to keeping your immune system in top condition. Be sure to get enough vitamin B as a supplement, as part of your daily diet or in a multivitamin.
Zinc has also been found to help produce and activate T-cells , which trigger the body to respond to infections, according to the NIH.
Also Check: Which Vitamin B Do I Need
Do Vitamin B12 Supplements Work
Vitamin B12 supplements can treat a deficiency, but dietitians recommend getting your vitamin B12 from food, if possible, before trying a supplement. Many meat and dairy products have vitamin B12. Clams, crab, beef liver and many fish are particularly high in vitamin B12. Eliminating meat, dairy and fortified cereals from your diet may require you to supplement vitamin B12, Sheth said.
“In general, vitamin B12 is found in animal products,” Sheth said, so, strict vegetarians and vegans must actively seek out another source of the vitamin. In people who are making the transition to a vegan diet, a vitamin B12 deficiency may not show up for a while, Sheth said.
Nutritional yeast is the best vegetarian source of vitamin B12, Sheth said. Just 2 teaspoons a day of nutritional yeast should cover an adult’s vitamin B12 needs. Additionally, most multivitamins contain the daily recommended amount of vitamin B12, and fortified cereals typically provide ample vitamin B12.
Other strict diets may unintentionally cut vitamin B12. “A lot of people have cut grains, and a lot of B vitamins are fortified in our grain products,” Mangieri said. “If you’re going to eliminate something from your diet, investigate what you have eliminated and where else you can get those nutrients. You have to really work with a registered dietitian or do your homework.”
What Can Happen If You Are Deficient In Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiencies can mean your immune system is more vulnerable, but there are some other important conditions to know about too.
“Severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to a condition called rickets in children, and osteomalacia in adults. Osteomalacia is the softening and weakening of bones, and symptoms include joint and bone pain, muscle weakness, difficulty walking and bones that are easily fractured,” Tolentino says.
Another connection that scientists are researching is the link between mood disorders and vitamin D deficiency. Many studies have looked at depression risk specifically, like this one that found a link between vitamin D deficiency and risk for depression in older adults. In another study, adults with depression were given vitamin D supplementation and it did help improve symptoms in many of them.
You May Like: What Is A Good Vitamin For Your Brain
Cansupplements Help Your Immunity
While vitamins andsupplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet, the best way to load up onessential nutrients is to get them straight from food.
Your body absorbs and usesvitamins and nutrients better when they come from a dietarysource. When its a vitamin or supplement, its often questionablehow much youre actually getting. Because supplements are regulated asfoods, not as drugs, the Food and Drug Administration doesnt evaluate thequality of supplements or assess their effects on the body.
Some supplements may have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. Supplements can also cause problems if you have certain health conditions. And the effects of many supplements havent been tested in children, pregnant women and other groups.
Its especially important to avoid taking vitamin E supplements. Not only is there little clinical research showing that vitamin E supplements benefit your health, but they may also be harmful in some situations.
For these reasons, expertssay its best to get vitamins through food rather than supplements.
Talk with yourhealthcare provider if youre thinking about taking dietary supplements,Zumpano says.
Ritual Essential Mens 18+ Multivitamins
When you cant get your daily servings of fruits and veggies, a daily multivitamin should suffice in filling the gaps in your diet, says Parikh. If youre otherwise healthy and have access to food you eat relatively reasonably, there usually isnt a need for increased doses .
Were fans of vitamin brand Ritual, which has expanded its offerings to men and children . The delayed-release vegan capsules contain only the essential ingredients think zinc, magnesium, omega-3 DHA, folate, and vitamins A, B12, D, and E, to name a few with no synthetic fillers or artificial colors. We like the mint flavor that helps the vitamins go down easy. Also available for women and kids.
You May Like: What Prenatal Vitamins Are Best For Conceiving
How Your Immune System Works
Your immune system works to recognize and identify an infection or injury in the body. This causes an immune response, with the goal of restoring normal function.
Dr. Cassel says many people think that when they get sick, their symptoms are a sign that they have a virus or an infection.
However, your symptoms are actually a sign that your body is fighting back against the infection or virus, triggering an immune response.
“When you have a cold, you feel run down, your nose is runny, you feel congestedthese are the symptoms people complain about,” Dr. Cassel says. “People think ‘I’m so sick, this is terrible. Why doesn’t my immune system work?’ But with every one of these cold symptoms, that is your immune system at work.”
Read: Is It a Cold or the Flu?
Supplements And Immunity: Facts Vs Fiction
Most people have been told at least once to take vitamin C to speed up recovery after catching a cold or the flu. But do supplements help boost immunity? And if so, which supplements should people prioritize? This article takes a look at a few of the most popular recommendations for immunity-boosting supplements and highlights the truth behind the claims.
Recommended Reading: What Vitamins Cause Weight Loss
Here Are Some Myths And Facts About Immune
Myth: Vitamin C prevents illness.
Turning to large doses of vitamin C in the winter to avoid getting sick doesn’t work. However, vitamin C may shorten the duration of a cold once you’re already under the weather. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and those anti-inflammatory properties may reduce swollen sinuses.
Myth: Zinc boosts your immune system.
Much like vitamin C, there’s not enough evidence to support taking extra zinc to keep sickness at bay. Meeting daily zinc requirements is important for a healthy immune system, but exceeding these requirements can be toxic. In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to stay away from zinc nasal sprays after studies found they could damage the sense of smell.
Fact: Chicken soup is a cure-all.
The healing benefits of chicken soup are numerous, according to the National Institutes of Health. Not only is grandma’s home remedy heartwarming, but it also has properties that fight inflammation, promote hydration and get mucus flowing.
Myth: Dairy increases mucus production.
Some swear that milk and other dairy products make a phlegmy illness worse, but there’s no science behind it. Most studies have found no relationship between eating dairy and increased mucus production.
Choose immune-boosting nutrients
These nutrients play a role in boosting the immune system:
Keep the immune system strong all year long
Can Supplements Boost Your Immunity This Winter
Nov. 17, 2020 — With COVID-19 cases on the rise and cold and flu season well underway, people are seeking ways to boost their disease defenses. Sales of immune health supplements are projected to grow from $16 billion in 2019 to $29 billion by 2027, spurred in part by the pandemic, according to research from Fortune Business Insights.
But could a supplement give you an extra edge against illness?
âThereâs no magic bullet to bolster the immune system,â says Barry Fox, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
But some supplements may have some infection-fighting benefits. âIf people are taking vitamin C or D or another supplement and not having any side effects, it may be of help,â Fox says.
Keep in mind that supplements are an unregulated industry. That means that even if a vitamin or botanical has shown promise, the bottle you buy might contain too little or too much of the desired substance. For most supplements, research is limited at best. Plus, research suggests itâs better to get your vitamins from foods rather than supplements.
That said, hereâs what to know about popular vitamins and botanicals often advertised as immune boosters:
You May Like: What Vitamins Build Up The Immune System
Stay Well In The Meantime Here Are Some Recipes Incorporating Immune
Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill
10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth3 medium carrots, diced1 large stalk celery, diced3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger6 cloves garlic, minced4 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles 4 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken breast 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
Bring broth to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add carrots, celery, ginger and garlic cook uncovered over medium heat until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. Add noodles and chicken simmer until the noodles are just tender, 810 minutes. Stir in dill and lemon juice.
Nutrition per serving : Calories 267, total fat 4 g, saturated fat 2 g, monounsaturated fat 1 g, cholesterol 0 g, protein 38 g, carbohydrates 18 g, dietary fiber 2 g, sodium 330 g.
Tomato Apple Jam
Mayo Clinic Healthy Living CenterServes 4Serve as condiment with chicken steak, fish, fried eggs or toast.
1 tablespoon olive oil1 cup yellow onions, diced1 teaspoon ground mustard seed teaspoon cayenne pepper2 cups tomatoes, peeled and diced2 cups apples, unpeeled and diced¼ cup apple cider vinegar¼ cup sugar¾ teaspoon salt
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sautee onions for two minutes. Then add all the spices toast and stir for two minutes. Add the tomatoes, apples, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and simmer over low heat for 2030 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
What About Those Good Bacteria
Seventy percent of our immune system is located in our gastrointestinal tract, and the bacteria that live there are critical for the smooth functioning of immune cells. Probiotics are a source of those good bacteria, and another method that has been touted as an boosting immunity.
There have been some studies showing that probiotics can decrease respiratory tract infections, says Dr. Marino. But again, we cannot make that jump to say that probiotic supplementation can prevent coronavirus infection, or reduce the severity of symptoms.
I dont often recommend the average population to take a probiotic supplement, I only suggest it to my patients who may already have GI symptoms says Rubin. But if youre looking for probiotic rich foods, I suggest eating yoghurt, and there are lots of non-dairy options for those who are lactose intolerant. Sauerkraut and kimchi are another good source.
Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Vitamin B6 25mg
How Does The Immune System Work
The immune system is made possible by white blood cells, which fight diseases and infection. You cant have immunity without endothelium, which is the maestro of the circulation system a very important tissue, Cooke says. Its the portal for circulating white blood vessels when it gets dysfunctional, it acts less like Teflon and more like Velcro, and things begin to stick and cause inflammation.
Allergies and asthma are overreactions of your immune system both go hand-in-hand. Often, the two are mistaken for one another, says Parikh. If you suffer from severe allergies, make sure youre seeing a board-certified allergist people are often misdiagnosed.
The microbiome also plays a large role in immunity. Its home to good bacteria that helps regulate asthma, allergies, and other autoimmune problems where the immune system is overactive, Parikh adds. With the exception of the coronavirus, there can be such a thing as being too clean, especially in Western countries. Antibacterial sanitizers cant differentiate between the good and the bad bacteria, resulting in some everyday environments being over-sanitized.