There are many key signs of weak immunity: constant fatigue, premature aging, allergies, chronic infections, colds, mood swings and so on. Thankfully, there are many ways to support your immune system and help it perform the good work it is doing. Let us discuss these ways to boost immune system when sick or healthy.
Table of Contents
1. Eat superfoods to boost immune system
Here is a handy list of foods to boost immune system:
These superfoods are good for the brain and do wonders to our immunity as well. Pick any beans. Soyabean is packed with vitamin C, calcium, selenium and zinc. Lentils and black eyed peas have folate and so do black and kidney beans.
All red and blue berries are the best fruits that boost immune system. Go for berries in wide range of colors; they are great for your brain too. The phytonutrients in berries protect our cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
Fish is a great immune system booster owing to its omega 3 essential fatty acids content. Go for fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel and trout. Omega 3 essential fatty acids could prevent degenerative diseases, heart disease and even certain cancers.
Whole grains are spectacular superfoods to boost immune system thanks to their zinc and selenium content. Go for whole grain breads, corn tortillas and brown or wild rice.
Grapes contain anthocyanins and proanthocyanins that boost the immune system naturally when sick or healthy. They are also rich in selenium and vitamin C which are chief nutrients for your body’s defense system.
Green leafy vegetables
Not only do these superfoods contain the basic Vitamin lineup (Vitamins A, C and E) they also contain minerals like calcium, magnesium and phytonutrients like kaempferol which has cancer fighting properties.
The healthy fats, Omega 3 essential fatty acids and selenium in nuts make them great for the immune system. Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds are some of the most important nuts to include in daily diet.
2. Take Vitamins
Vitamin supplements to boost the immune system are:
Among all the immune system booster vitamins, this one plays a key role. It maintains the integrity of all epithelial surfaces and also unleashes powerful T cells against bacteria and viruses. Many studies conducted in economically backward countries have shown that supplementation with Vitamin A has reduced death from measles and other infectious diseases by nearly 70%.
Does vitamin C boost your immune system? This is a question many people ask and the answer is yes. Vitamin C stimulates production of Glutathione –a vitamin that detoxifies bacterial waste. It also increases immune function in the elderly patients by boosting T cell activity. Vitamin C also increases the size of free radicals that the white cells use for killing bacteria and later also mops up the leftover free radicals.
Supplementation with this vitamin can improve immune function in under a month. It reduces free radical activity and enhances T-cell activity to ward off infections. One type of Vitamin E (D-alpha tocopheryl succinate) is even known to repress certain cancer cell activity.
Selenium is a trace mineral that ranks with other immune booster vitamins like Vitamins A and C. In economically backward countries, selenium supplementation is even known to thwart HIV, Ebola and other deadly viruses. This important mineral also protects against many cancers and a broad spectrum of diseases. It also stimulates production of glutathione peroxides which can protect against heart diseases.
In late 1970s, a patient with leukemia who also suffered from recurrent coughs and colds was told to suck o zinc tablets like lozenges. The patient became symptom-free within hours. Nutritionists also believe that the main reason for weakened immunity in old age is due to lower levels of zinc in the body. RDA for this important immunity enhancing mineral is 15mg for adults and 10 mg for kids.
3. Green tea
Green tea has many overall-health promoting polyphenols. People who drink green tea regularly are less likely to be stricken by microorganisms that cause diseases as they interact with microorganisms and lessen their disease-causing potential.
4. Herbs and spices
Many herbs and spices are the best immune booster foods.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It also has antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The American Health Foundation –a prestigious mainstream biomedical research NY-has demonstrated inhibition[i] of certain cancers with turmeric extracts. Also, in AIDS patients, 2000 mg of turmeric extracts significantly increased activity of T-helper cells.[ii]
Garlic and immunity boosting go way back-right up to the pyramid building Egyptian builders to World War 1 relics. Many travelers, in ancient times, carried garlic soaked bandages to ward off parasites. In modern times, tests have been conducted on rodents using garlic compounds called DAS or diallyl sulphide while simultaneously exposing them to cancer causing substances. At the end of the 14 day studies, researchers concluded that garlic compound significantly held back the cancerous agents thereby protecting the rodents.
Echinacea is a deep cleaner and immune system stimulant. It stimulates activity of white blood cells and keeps infections under control. Regular intake of Echinacea is known to end chronic infections like UTIs, common colds, coughs, flu etc. Dosage: take one dose of 500 mg three times a day for a month. Thereafter, use Echinacea on and off to keep body toxin free.
Ginseng, like Echinacea above, has been used since centuries to fight infections and illnesses.From reducing heart diseases, lung ailments to boosting memory, many studies are underway on this magnificent herb. There are several varieties of Ginseng and the Asian Ginseng is more stimulating for the immune system. Dosage: Take 100-200 mg per day. Note that this herb could interfere with certain blood thinning mechanisms. So always consult your doctor before taking it.
Other notable herbal supplements to boost immune system are Elderberry, Goldenseal, Acai berry etc.
Many lab studies[iii] have shown enhanced immunity in animals and humans after consuming honey. When taken at levels of 1-25%, honey could decrease growth of cancer cells. In 2007, studies conducted on unidentified compounds found in Manuka honey showed enhanced immune function.
6. Take probiotics
One way probiotics[iv] enhance immune function is by producing a protein called mucin which is found in saliva as well as the lining of the GI tract. The mucin membrane creates unfavorable environment for bad bacteria. They also decrease production of allergy specific IgE molecules to fight foreing substances like pollen, animal dander, and fungal spores. Probiotics also decrease inflammatory mediators which are produced during active infections. They also boost production of IgA antibodies that recognize and fight foreign invaders in the body.
7. Change your lifestyle
Certain lifestyle changes are very important to enhance immune system. If you smoke, quit as nicotine intake can cause chronic upper respiratory illnesses as well as cancers. Similarly, if you are obese, you must lose weight. Daily exercise combined with healthy diet is the cornerstone of a lifestyle that will keep your heart healthy and boost immunity.
8. Eliminate stress
There is a connection between brain, mind and body. When your mind is stress free, you automatically enhance your immune function. Relaxation, deep breathing, meditation and medication can help eliminate stress and boost immune function.