The Best Supplements for a Healthy Immune System

The Best Natural Supplements for a Healthy Immune System

There are many artificial supplements available in the market, but they mostly have side effects on our body. So, we should not include these man-made supplements in our diet. We should only use natural supplements for increasing the Immune system.

1) Antioxidant-rich foods

Consuming high amounts of antioxidants in the diet can protect and support the immune response of people exposed to environmental sources of free radicals. Antioxidants that you can find from foods include vitamins C, E, and A, and certain plant compounds. Antioxidants come from plant-based foods.

Good food sources include:

  • Berries
  • Red grapes
  • Red cabbage
  • Nuts
  • Dark chocolate
  • Leafy greens
  • Beets
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Artichokes
  • Certain beans

2) Protein

Protein is made up of amino acids, and amino acids are used as fuel for the immune system.

Good food sources include:

  • Fish
  • Poultry like chicken and turkey
  • Minimally processed beef and pork
  • Eggs
  • Greek and icelandic yogurts
  • Nuts
  • Beans and soy products

3) Vitamin D

While vitamin D is perhaps best known for its role in bone health, it has an important function on the immune response as well.

We get vitamin D in two forms: vitamin D2 from foods and vitamin D3 from the sun and animal products. Unlike with other vitamins, there are very few natural food sources for vitamin D, which can include:

  • Fish like tuna, trout, and salmon
  • Cod liver oil
  • Portabella mushrooms that have been exposed to light

Common foods which are fortified with vitamin D (i.e., have vitamin D added) include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Plant-based milks like almond, soy, and rice milk
  • Orange juice
  • Some cereals

In addition, your body can convert vitamin D3 from sunlight into usable vitamin D. However, many factors can influence how much we can absorb, including:

  • Time of day
  • Season
  • How much clothing you’re wearing
  • How much skin pigment you have
  • Use of sunscreen

Many people do not get as much vitamin D from the sun as they may believe.

4) Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important vitamin and a powerful antioxidant.

Good food sources of vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes
  • Tropical fruits like kiwi, mango, and papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Leafy greens

5) Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral that we get from our food, and it helps our bodies produce immune cells.

Good food sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Cashews
  • Chickpeas
  • Shellfish
  • Meat
  • Whole grains like oats and bran products

Zinc is also available in supplement form, including pills and lozenges.

6) Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are crucial for both gut and immune health. It’s worth pointing out that about 80% of the immune cells are located in the gut!

There are many ways to take probiotics — through supplements or even foods, like yogurt and sauerkraut. Which form and dose you should take will depend on your individual needs. Be sure to discuss this with your provider.

7) Ginger

You may be most familiar with ginger’s calming effects on the stomach, but it has benefits beyond that. It contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and like garlic, may possess antibacterial and antiviral properties as well.

Freshly crushed or grated ginger, as well as ground ginger, can be added to smoothies and many dishes, including stews and vegetables. Ginger can also be taken as a supplement, but this should only be done under medical guidance and supervision.

8) Turmeric

This spice has become widely popular in recent years — and for good reason. Its many positive health effects come from the compound curcumin, which is found in turmeric. Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory effects, but it has been more recently shown to support the immune system by activating many types of immune cells.

Turmeric is perhaps the most widely used in curry sauces and dishes, but it can be enjoyed in much more ways than that. Turmeric powder mixes well in tropical smoothies and can also be easily added to soups, rice, and vegetables. It also pairs well with red meat, fish, and poultry. Turmeric lattes have also become popular in recent years. Just add about half a teaspoon of dried turmeric and a pinch of black pepper to a cup of almond or other milk, and enjoy.

Turmeric is also a popular supplement, so if you prefer that form, be sure to find a quality brand that includes piperine, and work with your healthcare practitioner for more specific guidance.

A variety of foods and supplements can play important roles in supporting immunity. Keep in mind that not all of the foods and supplements above need to be taken. But you can pick and choose based on what you like, what is realistic for you, and what your healthcare provider recommends. While pandemics and seasons will come and go, immune health should be a priority at all times of the year.

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