January and February is generally the time when our immune system starts to suffer and we start to feel the full effects of November and December excess. There are however, some supplements to boost your immunity that will mean you will soon feel human again and will be able to get on with your life as normal. Here are some of the top supplements to boost your immunity and some tips on how to ensure you also get enough immunity-boosting nutrients from your diet.
1. Vitamin a, D & E
Vitamin A is seen as the anti-infection Vitamin and is important for the body's defence system. Sweet potatoes, kale, carrots and apricots are your go-to-gals when it comes to Vitamin A. Vitamin D is another immunity boosting essential and also supports bone health. Vitamin D3 is contained in animal products and are better absorbed by the body. If you're a vegetarian or thinking of becoming one, you should look for supplements with high D3 levels to ensure you get enough of this vital nutrient. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps get rid of those free radicals. Get your Vitamin E from spinach, almonds and avocados.
Selenium is a powerful mineral that can help boost immunity and help combat cancer. It can also help prevent against heart disease and if you have a history of heart disease in the family, ensuring you get enough selenium is key. Also, some studies have suggested that people with low selenium levels are at greater risk of certain cancers such as those which affect that breast, colon, bladder and lung. Most of us aren't getting enough selenium in our diets so be sure to get your your selenium fix from foods such as brazil nuts, eggs, tuna and salmon.
Zinc is a trace element which is essential for cells of the immune system and helps protect the liver as well as promoting the healing of wounds. Zinc deficiency affects the ability of T cells and other immune cells to function as they should so it's essential to get enough zinc. While it’s important to have sufficient zinc in your diet, too much zinc can actually inhibit the function of the immune system so don't go overboard with those zinc supplements.
While some people say that echinacea helps to prevent that cold coming on during the colder months and boost their immunity, others say it has no effect on them at all. I think it's down to the individual and if it helps you, great! One word of caution is that most experts don’t recommend taking echinacea on a long-term basis to prevent colds. Also, if you're allergic to ragweed you should not take echinacea.
Did you know there are literally hundreds of different species of bacteria in your digestive tract which help you digest your food? Researchers have found that there is a relationship between the "good" bacteria and the immune system. You may have seen those fancy drinks, cereals and energy bars in the supermarket which contain probiotics with exotic names such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Probiotics are basically good bacteria, and they can safely dwell in your digestive tract. It's still not known exactly how it has a positive influence on the immune system but I do love those probiotic yoghurts and drinks!
6. Vitamin C
When an individual does not have enough vitamin C over a period of time, it can have a negative impact on the body's ability to heal wounds and fight off infections. Generally, the body’s immune system will be compromised so be sure to get enough Vitamin C in your diet.
I love garlic and it's not only for the vampire fearing folk amongst you. Researchers have found that garlic may have some infection-fighting capability too. According to laboratory tests, the gorgeous garlic works against viruses and bacteria. A 2006 study looked at rates for certain cancers and garlic and onion consumption in southern European populations and found an association between a lower risk of some common cancers and consumption of garlic. That's enough to keep me chomping on the good stuff. And yes, I do keep those breath mints at hand!
These are just some of the ways to boost your immunity through your diet and supplements if you need to. Which supplements do you take to boost your immunity?