Nutrients to boost your immune system?

 

Winter is coming and we are more likely to get sick than the spring and summer. And of course, who likes to be sick? I guess nobody. There is one important question we need to ask ourselves: What do we need to do to reduce the risk of getting colds and flu? The answer is simple! Optimise your health and immune system and get ready for the winter. As you may already know, your immune system plays a key role in all body parts. I call it Police! It is your protector, your defender! Imagine a country without a police. It would be a chaos!

Immune system is the one, dealing with pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites, which somehow invade and enter in your body. You have different immune cells with different functions. Some of them are a memory cells, some of them have the ability to kill naturally the pathogens, and others dealing with inflammation and other functions. 80% of your immune cells are in your gut. You also have immune cells in different part of your body. They all need to be in balance.

Autoimmunity is a condition, where immune cells are not balanced and for some reasons, immune system starts to attack its own body tissues. I am not going to talk about this topic as it is quite complex and it will require separate section and focus.

So, what are the key nutrients to maintain optimal immune system?

There are nutrients, stimulating the immune system, but we are going to focus on the ones, modulating the immune cells.

Vitamin D food sources: eggs, cheese, salmon, sardines, olive oil, milk, liver, mushrooms

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an immune modulator. It gets absorbed naturally from the sun through our skin. That is why we need to try and go out every day especially in the summer. Of course when the sun is not dangerous for us – early mornings until 11am and after 4pm in the very hot days during the summer.If we live in a country like the UK, I would highly recommend that you get tested every year around September/October time.

This will help you track your vitamin D levels, so you could consider supplementing in case your levels are not at the optimal ranges. The daily recommended dose is between 1600-2000IU.

Zinc

The mineral Zinc takes place in number of reactions within the body. It plays role in hormonal production, antioxidant synthesis, detoxification processes, skin health, immune system function. Zinc deficiency is very common condition and it appears through many health symptoms.

It is great to be tested with blood test before supplementing, however 20-25mg daily dose is safe and beneficial for most people in short period of time. Although, I would always advice that you seek professional advice first from Nutritional therapist.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential agent for every person’s immune system. It cannot be produced from our bodies and this is why we rely on our diet. In fact, we cannot consume the amount we need on a daily basis. That is why supplementing with this nutrient is highly recommended, especially during winter time. I would say 500mg to 1g per day is a perfect dose for health maintenance.

There are other nutrients that help supporting immune system like elderberry, echinacea, quercetin and so on. They may be helpful in cases of colds and flu, however it is highly recommended you seek advice from a health professional first. We support the rule as always that one size does not fit all, which means if the particular nutrient is beneficial, you might have some underlying conditions and might not agree with you. Self prescription is not always a great idea. So, having Nutritionist on your site could be very useful.

Diet

Next, I would like to focus on the Diet. A healthy diet, full of fibre, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats, protein is essential for maintaining optimal health. Vegetables and fruit are a great source of vitamin C, antioxidants, phytochemicals and phytonutrients. Having a balanced diet on a daily basis, is an essential part of maintaining a healthy immune system.

Lastly, Hydration and Herbal teas

Hydration

Keeping your water intake up is extremely important for the entire body. Your body needs water for electrolyte balance, chemical reactions, elimination and detoxification processes.

Herbal teas like elderberry, chamomile, echinacea, lemon balm, cinnamon, nettle, etc are great for keeping your immune system in healthy optimal range. They are also, antiseptic, antiinflammatory and some of them even have blood sugar balancing effect.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle modification wise:

Stress

Stress reduction has a huge impact on your immune cells. High levels of stress suppresses your immune system. It puts your body into Fight of Flight mode, which has negative impact on your body and its functions. Having a healthy and positive stress response could only help you maintain a positive immune response.

Exercise

Exercise is essential on a daily basis. Forest walks, fresh air, meditation, exercises are all great habits for keeping your health status at optimum ranges.

Look after yourself and stay safe!

Best of health,

Ani