Five foods and four supplements that can boost your immune system
As humans, we share our environment with a multitude of microorganisms – bacterial, viral, parasitic – which are foreign to us.
The body does its best to cope with these invaders with a complex process that relies on a number of factors.
But what can we as humans do to support our immune systems?
With COVID-19 remaining a threat, you are probably thinking about how to strengthen your immune system and that of your family.
Many of us fill our boxes with supplements, take cleansing drinks, and consume more chewable vitamin C than we can get a flu shot, all in the hopes of not getting sick.
The question is, is everything working? And does it work as well – or better than – things we might do naturally, like eating well, sleeping, washing our hands, and avoiding smoking?
Experts recently expressed that the concept of “boosting” the immune system may not be what the body needs.
Instead, a person should want their body to have the correct immune response when it is needed. It requires a balanced immune system.
Along with the known immune regulators, like getting enough physical activity and eating a healthy diet, these are the few foods and supplements that can help support the immune system.
Foods That Can Help Your Body Fight COVID-19, Colds, and Flu
1. Colorful fruits and vegetables
Consuming fruits and vegetables increases your circulation levels of all the cold and flu nutrients you are trying to get in pills like vitamin C, D, E, zinc, and selenium.
Varying the color and type of fruits and vegetables is essential to provide you and your family with beneficial nutrients.
Garlic belongs to the allium family. Anyone in this family, including onions and leeks, can help boost your immunity to common illnesses during the colder months.
A 2020 review of 33 studies, determined a list of whole foods that may reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections, and garlic made the cut.
Although studies were conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, they still conclude that healthy eating is effective in preventing and supporting healing from illnesses.
3. Chicken soup
“Chicken noodle soup is good for the soul.”
We’ve all heard it before, but did you know it’s good for more than that?
One study published in the journal CHEST is probably the largest cited in articles demonstrating why chicken soup is effective against colds. He concluded that yes, chicken soup can actually be a real cold remedy.
It provides fluids that we may need more when COVID-19, a cold, or the flu hits. Plus, the chicken soup hopefully contains carrots and onions in the recipe, which also boost antioxidants.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s delicious, especially for your kids!
4. Whole grains
Consuming whole grains (think intact grains like buckwheat, brown rice, and oats) helps healthy gut bacteria thrive. This process can help refine your immune system.
Whole grains are one of the foods recommended for consumption to help support a strong immune system which can help fight COVID-19.
5. Fish oil (omega-3)
When you think about battling COVID-19, a cold, or the flu, fish probably isn’t the first food you think of eating.
Maybe that way of thinking needs to change.
A recent review from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences notes that dietary omega-3 fatty acids actually promote specific immune responses.
If you smoke, a habit that drastically reduces the body’s ability to fight COVID-19 and seasonal illnesses like colds and flu, you should stop.
To help you, you can also use a good dose of fish oil every day. One study found that it may reduce cravings for nicotine and the amount of cigarettes smoked daily.
You can get your daily dose of omega-3s by adding salmon, trout, and sardines to your diet, as well as plant sources like hemp seeds and nuts.
Supplements That Can Boost Your Immune System
1. Vitamin D
Even if you were on the “perfect” diet, it would be very difficult to get enough vitamin D because very few foods provide enough.
Oily fish is probably the best source of vitamin D, followed by egg yolks and liver.
But the best source of vitamin D comes from the sun’s UV rays absorbed through the skin.
In addition to being outdoors and safe in the sun, a 2017 study in the British medical journal discovered that supplementation could protect against colds and flu.
Another study, conducted in 2021 by the University of Chicago Medicine, found that increased levels of vitamin D, above recommended intakes, may actually reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in those studied.
A 2016 study found that zinc supplementation in the elderly helped increase zinc levels and immunity.
Although you can get zinc from foods like sesame and pumpkin seeds, lentils, and turkey, the older population studied was more prone to not getting enough zinc in their diet, which made them more vulnerable. infections.
Other studies have shown that zinc can reduce the duration of the common cold.
When it comes to building defenses against colds and flu, start by building the army in your gut.
A 2017 animal study found that a specific gut microbe, triggered by consuming flavonoids found in tea, berries and chocolate, may help reduce the incidence of viral infections.
4. Vitamin C
Many studies have linked the consumption of larger doses of vitamin C to a reduction in colds and COVID-19 by reducing inflammation in the lungs.
In addition, the vitamin offers an increased ability to fight infections.
Keep in mind, however, that consuming megadoses of vitamin C can cause diarrhea and stomach upset.
So while it is probably safe to take the pills and sachets of powder, try not to pop them all day. The upper tolerable limit for adults is 2000 mg.
At the end of the line
In addition to dietary factors, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, getting enough sleep, regular physical activity, and good hand washing practices are essential factors in helping to fight COVID-19, cold and flu virus.
Supplements work best when you need higher doses, like vitamin C, or when you’re trying to get a nutrient that your body has trouble getting from food, like vitamin D.
However, you should most likely ignore the various cleanses and vitamin combinations that promise a cure for infection beyond proper hand washing.
As with most things that help reduce the risk of infection, chronic disease, and premature death, it’s not one thing that provides the “miracle cure,” it’s a variety of good fashion choices. lives that make the difference.