In today’s fast-paced and often stressful world, maintaining a strong and resilient immune system is more important than ever. Your immune system serves as a protective shield, safeguarding your body from harmful pathogens to help support your overall health and well-being. But how can you give your immune system the support it needs to help boost your body’s natural defenses?
Let’s explore practical and evidence-based strategies for how to boost the immune system. From incorporating immune-boosting foods into your diet to exploring vitamins for the immune system, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to enhance your body’s natural defenses to help keep you healthy and active for years to come.
How to Support the Immune System
Incorporating the following lifestyle changes and foods into your diet can help bolster your immune system and help protect your health and overall well-being.
Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
Research has shown that incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet may help strengthen your immune system. For example, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant known to support the cells of your immune system and also help to control oxidative stress and inflammation.
If you’re falling short of the recommended amount of vitamin C in your diet, you may consider supplementation to meet your needs. Our Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin C is whole food nutrition, specifically formulated to provide 500 mg of vitamin C along with naturally occurring bioflavonoids. Additionally, it’s made with twenty-three organically grown fruits and vegetables which add supporting antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrient cofactors.
Berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are packed with antioxidants that can also help strengthen the immune system. Moreover, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, are chock full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other key nutrients that support immune health.
We all know that stress can take a toll on your mental health, but did you know that it can also wreak havoc on your physical health, including your immune system?
When your body is under stress, whether it be physical stress or emotional stress, it releases the stress hormone cortisol. In small bursts, cortisol can actually provide your immune system with a boost by helping to maintain a healthy inflammatory response. However, when stress becomes chronic, your increased cortisol levels can become persistent which can suppress your body’s immune system response.
Additionally, stress can lead to less-than-ideal coping mechanisms including unhealthy eating habits, reduced physical activity, and poor sleep all of which can further compromise immune function.
Stress management techniques can help restore balance within your body and help provide immune system support. Research has shown that practices like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga have been shown to reduce stress hormones, improve immune function, and increase the production of antibodies.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep is essential for maintaining a strong and resilient immune system. As you’re sleeping your body produces and releases cytokines, a type of protein that helps regulate the immune response. These cytokines play a key role in combating infections and inflammation.
Additionally, restorative sleep allows your body to repair and regenerate cells, including those involved in immune defense. Adequate sleep also helps regulate the body’s stress response, as it reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol.
Research continually shows that sleep deprivation can promote chronic inflammation and can suppress your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.
To help support immune health, aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish a consistent sleep routine, create a sleep-friendly environment, and prioritize relaxation techniques to promote improved sleep.
Stay Physically Active
Participating in regular exercise is an excellent way to boost your immune system and help maintain your overall health and well-being. Studies show that physical activity can help circulate immune cells throughout your body, allowing them to detect and eliminate harmful pathogens more efficiently and effectively.
Regular exercise can also enhance the production of antibodies, which are essential for fighting off infections. Moreover, physical activity has been found to reduce the levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can suppress the immune system when elevated for prolonged periods of time. Exercise also promotes better sleep quality, and as we know, sufficient sleep is critical for immune function.
Aim for 1 hour of exercise on most days of the week to help boost your immunity. If you’re new to working out, you may want to start gradually with 20 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise like walking each day. You can then increase your activity level as you gain more strength and confidence. Over time, finding a balance and incorporating a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your routine is recommended to support your immune health.
Support Your Gut Health
Your gut microbiome, the complex community of microorganisms residing in your digestive tract, plays a vital role in supporting your immune function. A healthy gut microbiome helps regulate the immune response, supports the development of immune cells, and maintains a balanced inflammatory response.
Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria, can help promote a healthy gut microbiome. Eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, or taking probiotics for your immune system, can introduce beneficial bacteria into the gut and enhance immune function. Garden of Life offers a wide variety of probiotic formulas with diverse strains to support your digestive and immune health without unwanted binders, fillers, or carriers.†
Consider Immune-Boosting Supplements
Immune-boosting supplements are a nice option as they can fill in any nutritional gaps when your diet falls short. For example, zinc is an essential mineral that has been linked to immune support by helping stimulate the production and activity of immune cells, supporting the integrity of the skin, and assisting in the production of important antibodies. Our Vitamin Code Raw Zinc is formulated to provide 30 mg of high-potency zinc (273% of the Daily Value) plus 60 mg of vitamin C and is made with 23 powdered organically grown fruits and vegetables to support immune system health.†
Best known for its role in bone health, Vitamin D also plays a role in supporting your immune system. Studies have found that the nutrient helps regulate immune cell function and encourages the production of pathogen-fighting proteins. Our Dr. Formulated Vitamin D3 5,000 IU + Zinc provides 125 mcg (5,000 IU) of Vitamin D3 and 200% Daily Value of Zinc-Quercetin Chelate, blended in a base of organically grown fruit plus probiotics for daily immune system support.†
In recent years, Elderberry gummy supplements have increased in popularity for their potential immune-boosting properties. Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and have been traditionally used to alleviate symptoms of colds and the flu. Recent research suggests that elderberry may be used to help reduce the duration and severity of the common cold.
Our Elderberry Gummies are made with Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified real fruit, and provide Echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C for an added boost of immune system support.† They’re also free from gelatin, refined sugar, artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
Before taking any supplements, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider as they can provide personalized advice based on your individual needs and potential interactions with medications.
Knowing how to boost the immune system is an essential step toward maintaining optimal health and well-being. By incorporating immune-boosting foods into your diet, managing stress effectively, getting plenty of sleep, staying physically active, supporting your gut health, and considering vitamins for your immune system, you can naturally enhance your body’s defenses to help take charge of your immune health.
- by Emily Hirsch, MS, RD
Shared by https://www.gardenoflife.com/blog/6-ways-to-naturally-support-your-immune-system
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