With so many illnesses threatening to take you down, you need to keep your body in top form.
You’re probably considering immune-boosting medication or going out of your way to stay in good health.
What if we told you that you could keep yourself healthy naturally?
What you eat and how you take care of yourself determine your body’s immunity. Treat yourself to a healthy diet every day and boost your immunity with regular exercise.
You can eat natural foods rich in vitamins, take supplements, exercise, and get enough sleep to stay in good shape.
Note: No single vitamin, supplement, or exercise can cure or protect you from diseases. Combine them with a healthy diet and use recommended vaccines to safeguard your body from illnesses.
So, how can you boost your immune system naturally?
1. EAT FOODS THAT ARE RICH IN VITAMIN C AND ANTIOXIDANTS
One sure way to boost your immune system is by eating foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
Vitamin C helps your body make more white blood cells—the disease-fighting agents in your system. It also helps in improving your overall body function.
When you become sick with the common cold or flu, the most natural way to treat it is to eat citrus fruits.
They don’t have any medicinal value, but they do help your body produce disease-fighting white blood cells.
With a vitamin C boost, your white blood cells can fight off minor bacterial infections without the need to take prescribed medication.
Citrus fruits and colorful fruits rich in vitamin C include:
Note: Your body cannot store vitamin C. Eat a citrus fruit every day to maintain a helpful dose of the vitamin for a better immune response system.
RED BELL PEPPERS
If you thought that citrus fruits were your safest source of vitamin C, you’re wrong.
Red bell peppers have three times more vitamin C than fruits and are better at boosting your immune system.
They’re also an excellent source of beta carotene, which gets converted to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A helps to keep your skin and eyes healthy.
Include bell peppers and vegetables in your diet as a natural way of boosting your body’s immunity.
Did you know that spinach is one of the best sources of antioxidants for your body?
Antioxidants help to neutralize oxidized molecules in humans and soothe inflammation and soreness. Oxidation is caused by free radicals in your body and can slow down your body’s processes.
Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin C and beta carotene.
The benefits of spinach and most other vegetables are highest when cooked as little as possible.
Nuts are a great source of vitamin E—another strong antioxidant. They also have healthy fats, which help you to keep a great immune system.
The average adult needs at least 15 mg of vitamin E each day, which translates to 46 whole-shelled almonds.
You can also boost your immune system with other foods such as broccoli and sunflower seeds.
One way to fight illness-causing bacteria in your body is to eat (or drink) yogurt.
Yogurt has live and active cultures and beneficial bacteria which work to improve your overall health.
Use plain yogurt as opposed to the flavored and sweetened ones. You can sweeten and flavor yours with berries and honey if you prefer. You’ll be adding flavor and get health benefits at the same time.
Yogurt is also a great source of vitamin D and one of the foods that scientists are studying as an effective way of boosting your immune system to deal with certain illnesses.
Bonus: Here’s a fact sheet on the vitamins your body needs and their natural sources.
|Vitamin A||Eggs, milk, carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe|
|Vitamin B1||Milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables, whole grains|
|Vitamin B12||Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs|
|Vitamin B3||Meat, poultry, fish, whole grains|
|Vitamin B6||Meat, poultry, vegetables, fruits|
|Vitamin C||Oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwi, broccoli, red and green bell peppers|
|Vitamin D||Egg yolks, liver, fatty fish, fortified milk|
|Vitamin E||Avocados, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, whole grains|
|Vitamin K||Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kales|
2. USE NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT OPTIMAL IMMUNE FUNCTION
Boosting your immune response might take more than eating a healthy diet. You can help by taking supplements in natural foods.
Note: Natural supplements aren’t quick fixes for your immune system. They work overtime and help your body stay in tip-top shape.
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VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS FOR STRONG IMMUNE CELLS
Vitamin D strengthens your infection-fighting pathogens such as monocytes and macrophages and leaves your body better prepared to fight infections.
It also helps to decrease inflammation and soreness in your muscles. Some natural sources of vitamin D are:
- Cod liver oil
- Orange juice fortified with vitamin D
- Beef liver
ZINC TO SUPPORT A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM
Zinc is one of the most important drivers in your immune system function.
When you have an inflammation, zinc helps in cell development and communication to soothe and reduce the inflammation.
It also protects your body tissues from wear and tear and blocks foreign pathogens. Some of the natural zinc supplements are:
- Whole grains
ORGANIC ELDERBERRY TO BOOST IMMUNE FUNCTIONS AND STRENGTHEN OVERALL HEALTH
Elderberry supplements have antibacterial and antiviral qualities to help your body fight against disease-causing pathogens.
They help to combat bacterial infections in the respiratory tract and some strains of the influenza virus.
The supplements boost your immune system and shorten the duration of common cold and viral infections.
More research is underway on how elderberries can further strengthen your immune system.
3. EXERCISE REGULARLY
You can also boost your immune system with regular intensive and moderate exercise.
You don’t need to break your bank to get the health benefits of regular exercise.
It’s easy to do some of the most helpful exercises in the comfort of your home or take a simple walk or jog in the park.
Regular exercise can help minimize stress, manage chronic diseases such as heart disease, and improve overall immune function.
Here are some exercises you can include to help boost your immunity.
Weight lifting and muscle training exercises are about more than just a well-toned body.
When you lift weights, your body releases health-promoting compounds. Your blood flows better and boosts functioning in your organs.
Proper blood flow helps to relieve chronic stress and gives your body a chance at better performance.
Examples of strength training exercises include:
- Weight lifting
- Exercising with resistance bands
HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING
High-intensity interval training, known as HIIT for short, pushes you to your limits and out of your comfort zone.
HIIT training consists of short bursts of intense exercise followed by intervals of lower intensity exercise or complete rest between each burst.
During bursts, participants should be working at their max capacity.
HIIT can often be a mix or aerobic and resistance training.
Walking in the park or around the neighborhood every day could be the simple exercise you need to boost your immune system.
It helps increase the number of white blood cells in your blood and fortifies your body’s defense against the common cold, flu, and other illnesses.
Make it a habit to take brisk walks regularly and watch your body's immune system improve gradually.
It’s also a great way to lower blood pressure.
4. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP
You read that right.
Getting quality sleep is one of the simplest and most natural ways of achieving a strong immune system.
When you sleep, your body releases proteins called cytokines. They help you fight against infections and inflammations.
Inadequate sleep means that you're likely running low on cytokines and exposing yourself to infections and illnesses.
Most adults’ immune systems work well with between 6–8 hours of sleep every day. This should be your daily target.
Your body’s immune response is the one thing that you should attend to constantly.
It can’t fight diseases and infections if the immune response is weak. Boosting it doesn’t have to be a costly and artificial affair.
You can easily use natural foods and supplements to improve your immune system. Your healthcare practitioner can provide medical advice on the best supplements to use.