When you stop and think about it, the human immune system takes a lot of regularly battering in the form of illnesses, toxins, bacteria, stress, and even from the pollution in the air. Yet, it continues to do its job and defends us against disease-causing microorganisms.
Unfortunately, sometimes our immunity gives up, and we become sick and more vulnerable to diseases and illnesses. Over time, our immune system becomes weakened, which results in poor health.
So you may wonder, is it possible to intervene and boost immunity? Can it be improved with diet or lifestyle changes? How about specific vitamins or herbal supplements? Will they help in improving the immune system?
Our immune system is the first and last defense line against diseases, and the healthier our immunity, the healthier our bodies will be. The good news is that we can quickly strengthen our immune system in many ways.
What can you do to boost immunity?
One of the best steps you can take to improve your immunity is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Every part of our body, including the immune system, functions well when it’s protected from environmental, physical, and emotional stressors.
Some healthy living strategies include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Getting vaccination
- Avoiding smoke
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Maintain healthy weight
- Get regular medical screening
Take steps to avoid infection. For example, washing hands before eating.
Immune Boosting Supplements
While there is no replacement for whole foods — supplements and natural herbs go a long way in improving our immunity and keeping us healthy. Some of the best immune system booster to try includes:
1. Fish oil supplements for immune-boosting
Fish oil supplements are renowned for their health benefits. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the immune system by reducing inflammation and improving blood chemistry. It is also beneficial for better heart and brain health, depression, arthritis, bowel disorders, and protection against cancer. Since our body is unable to produce omega-3 naturally, we have to obtain the nutrient from consuming a variety of seafood, meat, and eggs.
Of course, the individuals who don’t eat a lot of omega-3 rich foods should supplement with high-quality fish oil supplements to protect their health and improve their immunity.
Probiotics are generally known as the “good” bacteria that inhibit our gut and assist in improving digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Probiotics have always been linked with immunity as 70% of our immune cells lie within the gut, and so if your gut isn’t healthy, you won’t be healthy either. Probiotics naturally found in yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. But probiotic supplements are also widely available that contain a healthy combination of the “good” bacteria to improve the user’s overall health.
As the name suggests, multivitamins are a blend of different vitamins that are essential for our health. They also fortified with various minerals like iron, zinc, and magnesium that are equally important for our immunity and well-being. Although we may eat a variety of foods each day, we are usually unable to obtain the required amount of vitamins in our daily intake. But by supplementing with a quality multivitamin, we can be assured that we are getting the same nutrients that our body requires every day.
4. Vitamin C
Do you get colds easily? Does it take long for your wounds to heal? Do your gums bleed when brushing? Then maybe you are not getting sufficient amounts of vitamin C in your diet. Your doctor may have advised increasing the consumption of vitamin C during cold and flu season. This is because vitamin C is one of the most beneficial nutrients for warding off infections and bacteria. Since our bodies are unable to manufacture vitamin C naturally, we must intake a healthy amount of vitamin C in our diet through citrus fruits, green vegetables, berries, and of course vitamin C supplements.
5. Vitamin D
Known as the “sunshine” vitamin for its UV rays synthesizing properties, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means that it should be consumed with a fatty acid supplement such as that which is rich in omega-3.
Vitamin D is not only helpful in boosting the immune system but also assists in calcium absorption, making it useful for those who are looking to strengthen their bones. Studies also show vitamin D to protect against several ailments, including cancer and controlling infections.
Ayurveda medicine has always used garlic for its anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies also show garlic to boost the immunity tremendously by reducing inflammation. A study showed participants who took garlic capsules for 12 weeks had fewer attacks of cold and less sick time than those who didn’t. The best way to take garlic – add it in the sliced or chopped form to any meal you are having. You can also take garlic extracts of 600 mg – 1200 mg twice daily to enhance your immunity.
7. Astragalus root
Traditional Chinese medicine has used Astragalus, a plant from the bean and legumes family for many years. Although it is least studies for its immune-boosting properties, any research up till now shows promising results. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine also recently reviewed the Astragalus root and claimed it to have beneficial immune-enhancing properties along with cancer prevention.
Ginger has known to ward off several illnesses. A staple in many Asian cuisines, ginger assists the body in eradicating toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties that help in treating infections, viruses, and bacteria.
Similar to garlic, ginger can also be added to any food you take. Ginger tea is also beneficial for treating cold, cough, and flu-like symptoms. And of course, ginger extracts, as well as ginger essential oil, are readily available which you can conveniently take once or twice a day for the desired results.
Final words on Immune System
These were just some of the well-known immune-boosting herbs you can try to enhance your health and well-being. Try them out one at a time and let us know how they react!