How to support your immune system?
This is the question we come across more than anything else at the moment. Here’s some thoughts on how to maintain a healthy and strong immune system and hopefully help to empower everyone to take action and stay healthy.
Let’s start with a few antioxidants that are useful in maintaining a strong immune system:
Vitamin C accumulates in many immune cells and strengthens the skin barrier to keep potential harmful pathogens out. Furthermore, supplementation with Vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.
Recommended are 500-1000mg of Vitamin C a day, ideally in a time-release form. Foods that are high in Vitamin C are oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, lemons and red and green peppers.
Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells maintaining a general immune response. It is recommended to have 10-15mg of Zinc a day. Foods high in Zinc are nuts (almonds, cashew nuts), seeds (especially pumpkin seeds) and pulses.
Selenium is important for initiating immunity, but is also involved in regulating excessive immune responses and chronic inflammation. Recommended daily intake of Selenium is 50-100mcg. It can be found in brazil nuts, rice, oatmeal, lentils and spinach.
When it comes to food, there are many things known to have a positive impact on the immune response. Foods like Ginger, Garlic, Turmeric and Honey all have disinfectant, antibacterial and antiviral properties and at the same time support the immune system. To fight off (and literally wash away) pathogens, make sure to drink enough Water. Between 2.5 and 3 litres a day are ideal (and no, coffee does not count!).
We can help our immune system in ways other than food, too. Washing hands with soap (minimum 30 seconds) more often, avoid touching your face and covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze all can help to prevent yourself and others from getting ill.
Additionally you might want to consider improving your immune system as a great reason to stop smoking. If your body has to deal with keeping the damage smoking causes as low as possible, then that is a lot of your defence force already occupied and many of the antioxidants are used up for that. Giving up smoking will free additional energy to deal with infections.
And the last tip, maybe one of the most important ones, is: Try to reduce stress! Stress significantly weakens the immune system and lowers the ability to deal with the problem.
Stay healthy and look after yourself!
Note: Our thanks to Living Health Naturopathy Glastonbury and Wells for the above information.