1. Vitamin C – You’ve probably been told since you were a kid to have more Vitamin C when you’re sick, but why is it vital? Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells in your body. It also increases the levels of Interferon, which interfere with virus replication. The increase in white blood cells and interferon together, fight your body’s battle against being sick, and also prevent you from becoming sick in the first place.
2. Vitamin D – Go out in the sunshine!! An hour a day in direct sunlight will increase your body’s intake of Vitamin D, which activates T-Cells and boost your immune systems forces in batteling sickness. Make sure, whenever possible you get some sun, but always be careful not to burn or damage your skin. If it is too hot or too cold to spend an hour in the sun, you can try a Vitamin D Supplement.
3. Vitamin E – Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which nuetralises free radicals that are associated with cell damage. To get your intake of Vitamin E, you need to eat foods like seeds, nuts, vegetable oils and leafy greens (such as spinach).
4. Echinacea – Echinacea increases the infection-fighting white blood cells and germ-eating cells (Macrophages). For colds and flus, Echinacea is highly recommended as it inhibits the function of the bad bacteria, which created the cold or flu. If you want to know about the health benefits of Echinacea, click here.
5. Garlic – Garlic is probably the easiest immune system booster to use as it is used in cooking, especially in the hearty meals in winter. It increases the body’s white blood cells and production of antibodies.
6. Seaweed – Seaweed is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (including Zinc – mentioned later in this post). It fights free radicals and boosts the immune system. It is also known for improving the cardiovascular and digestive systems. So have some fresh sushi rolls or some miso soup for your next lunch or dinner.
7. Selenium – This mineral Selenium, found in many fruits and vegetables, is an antioxidant and also activates prostoglandins, which regulate blood pressure. It is also an anti-inflamatory and removes toxins from the body.
8. Tea – There are hundreds of different flavours/types of tea, which all help to fight free radicals and boost the immune system. Check out the many articles I’ve posted on all the teas from A to Z, explaining the benefits of different types of teas.
9. Yoghurts & Probiotics – Probiotics increase the number of good bacteria in your body, which will battle (and win) against the bad bacteria in the body as well as increase antibodies. Yogurt is a common way people get their intake of pro-biotics. But be sure to find a “good” yogurt, one that states that is contains active cultures (or probiotics).
10. Zinc – Zinc, as with many of the immune boosters I’ve mentioned above, increases the production of white blood cells and helps them fight against infection. Zinc also slows down the body’s aging process and lowers frequency of infections and decreases the severity of its symptoms. You should be careful with Zinc though. In large doses and over a too-long period, can actually decrease the immune system function. So you should speak with your health practitioner prior to having Zinc.
11. Get rid of Stress – The next two Immune Boosters, are not for ingestion, they are for the mind. Firstly, to help rid or prevent any infection and sickness, you should banish stress. The higher the stress hormone levels, the poorer the immune system function. Now you just need to find an activity that rids these stress hormones from your body, eg. walking, meditating, getting a massage, taking a holiday or just talking to a friend.
12. Positivity – Having a positive and optimistic attitude can introduce many positive things into your life including a healthy immune system. So cut out the stress and increase the positive energy in your life.