As we inch closer to winter and the holiday season, the concern of sicknesses and viruses like the cold, flu, COVID-19, and upper respiratory infections rise. Although precautions like vaccines, hand-washing hygiene, social distancing, and masks reduce the risk of contracting and spreading these illnesses, nothing is foolproof. The good news is that there are steps you can take to lower your chances even further. One recommendation is to take dietary supplements to boost your immune system.
Strengthening Your Immune System
A healthy immune system is essential to your overall well-being. It’s a collection of cells, processes, and chemicals designed to ward off bacteria, toxins, viruses, and pathogens that enter the body. The stronger your immune system is, the less likely you are to get sick. Although eating nutritious foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep are practical ways to sustain a healthy immune system, taking dietary supplements should also be part of your daily routine.
Top Supplements For A Healthy Immune System
While many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, help enhance your immune system, some stand out above others. Below is a list of immune-boosting supplements to help keep you healthy this winter and all year.
Vitamin D is significant to the health and function of your immune system. It enhances the fighting power of the white blood cells and decreases inflammation.
Vitamin D comes from the sun and most dairy products. Health experts recommend you get at least 10-30 minutes of midday sunlight and consume approximately 600 international units (IU) of vitamin-D-rich foods.
Unfortunately, modern-day adults’ dietary and scheduling differences often prevent them from meeting the daily vitamin D requirements. Ultimately, taking a supplement can help boost your immune system.
Zinc is necessary for the development and communication of immune cells. Zinc also helps with inflammatory response and provides a protective barrier to help prevent foreign invasions.
Nutrition experts recommend 11mg of zinc daily for adult men and 8mg for adult women. Zinc can be found in foods like oysters, lamb, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, lentils, avocados, and spinach.
While consuming zinc-rich foods are ideal, you can enhance your intake by adding a zinc complex supplement diet to ramp up your immune system.
Likely the most familiar and popular immune-boosting supplement is Vitamin C. Vitamin C serves various functions. It supports the function of immune cells, aids in cellular death, and protects against damage from oxidative stress.
Experts recommend consuming 90 milligrams of vitamin C daily for men and 75 milligrams for women. Some vitamin C foods include citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, cruciferous foods, and white potatoes.
Taking a daily supplement is ideal if you have dietary restrictions or food allergies that prevent you from getting vitamin c or simply want to boost your immune system.
Last on the list of immune-boosting supplements is elderberry. Elderberry is a floral extract from the Sambucus plant. It contains robust antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help strengthen the immune system. It has been proven effective in fighting bacteria, viruses, and toxins that lead to upper respiratory infections and other conditions like the flu.
While there’s no requirement to take elderberry, consuming 150 to 300 mg daily can have positive effects. You can purchase elderberry in supplement form or search for foods and beverages infused with elderberry.
The average adult doesn’t consume enough vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to sustain optimal health. While being intentional about eating more nutrient-rich foods is recommended, taking dietary supplements can help bridge the gap.
As no one wants to be sick this holiday season, use traditional measures like vaccinations, hand-washing, social distancing, and wearing masks to keep you safe. Lastly, add vitamin d, zinc, vitamin c, and elderberry to your diet to reduce your risk of getting sick. As a precautionary measure, consult your primary care physician before purchasing supplements to determine which are best suited for your needs.