Tips On How To Boost Your Immune System

Your immune system is essential for defending your body from foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, parasites and other things that can be harmful to your health. Here is a complete guide of essential nutrients, foods, exercises and other help tips to help you boost your immune system.

Nutrients

One way to quickly boost your immune system is to take nutrient supplements. Widely available in vitamin and herbal stores, these nutrients may help strengthen the immune system at times of need. Of course, you can also reap these vitamins and minerals by eating a healthy and well-balanced diet.

  • Vitamin C: this nutrient is vital in strengthening the immune system and protecting the body against the common cold and the flu. It is also a potent antioxidant that can help with cancer prevention, vision protection and cardiovascular health maintenance.
  • Vitamin E: also known as a potent antioxidant, deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to compromised immune systems. Vitamin E can stop oxidative stress and repair free radicals to help strengthen the immune system.
  • Vitamin B: the B vitamins play an important role in cell metabolism, and consist of eight vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), known as the Vitamin B Complex in supplement form. While each vitamin has its own distinct functions and benefits, vitamin B complex has shown to dramatically boost the immune system as a whole and support most organ systems in times of stress.
  • Selenium: known as an effective antioxidant, it can help in the prevention of cancer by repairing free radicals in the body. It also helps maintain normal thyroid functions and the immune system. Since selenium is a type of mineral, be careful not to overdose on selenium in supplement forms.
  • Iron: helps with oxygen transport in the body, can provide energy when the body needs it most. Individuals with low amounts of iron tend to feel fatigue and exhaustion sooner, so iron would be a great supplement to boost the immune system. This mineral can be found in red meat.
  • Other Antioxidants: similar to vitamin E, antioxidants overall are very important in maintaining a healthy immune system, since they repair free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Widely available in fresh fruits, vegetables and teas, antioxidants are a great preventative measure against weakened immune systems.
  • Probiotics: also known as "live and active cultures" in yogurt and fermented food products, probiotics are actual organisms that help strengthen the immune system by taking up "real estate" within the body so that there is less space available for harmful disease-causing organisms to proliferate. Studies have shown that probiotics may actually increase the number of defensive T-cells in our body, further strengthening our immune system against infections.

Exercise

Incorporating a brisk, 30 minute walk into your daily routine can be a great way to add a boost to your immune system. Not only does it increase mental alertness, it can also alleviate stress, which is known to weaken your body's defense system against the outside world. With regular exercise, your body can be further strengthened and become better prepared for diseases and sicknesses.

Food

Here are some suggested "super foods" that may help boost your body in times of need.

  • Yogurt: Rather than taking a probiotic supplement, why not have yogurt as a healthy snack or breakfast? Yogurt contains L. reuteri, a live culture shown to stimulate T-cell production to defend the body. When you are choosing your yogurt in the market, be sure to look for evidence of probiotics, as well as a low fat, low sugar option.
  • Oatmeal: Another great breakfast food, oatmeal is a soluble fiber filled with antimicrobial abilities and vitamins that can boost immunity, promote probiotic activity, and protect the heart and gastrointestinal tract.
  • Garlic: While normally used as a spice, garlic is a powerful antimicrobial agent that can help fight infections. It is also a rich source of quercetin, a form of antioxidant known to prevent stomach cancer. A study in Britain shows that people who frequently ingest garlic are less likely to catch a cold than people who do not eat garlic. Incorporate this flavorful and potent spice into your cooking today!
  • Fish: Many types of fish and shellfish are rich in selenium, a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system and help fight flu viruses. Omega 3 fatty acids, present in cold oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel also have anti-inflammatory properties similar to that of antioxidants.
  • Beef: Lean cuts of red meat are rich in iron, which is important during times of stress and energy depletion. Not only can it support red blood cells, it can also give you a helpful boost of energy.
  • Tea: Brewed teas, especially green tea, white tea and black tea, are high in antioxidants known as catechins. Some fermented black teas also contain immune system-boosting probiotics, while herbal teas have soothing, anti-inflammatory effects. Since tea can be easily incorporated into the diet as a flavorful alternative to water, it is an effective aid to boost our defenses when we need it the most.

Having a balanced, healthy diet with fresh produce is important in strengthening the immune system. Couple these foods and exercises to ensure your body is in tip-top shape to help keep your immune system strong.

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