As we continue to live through the pandemic (over it!), as well as cold and flu season, boosting your immunity continues to be a hot topic. Instead of buying expensive green powders and drinking excess amounts of Emergen-C (hint, large amounts of supplemental Vitamin C actually DECREASE absorption!) use these real solutions to boost immunity in simple, nourishing, and efficient ways!
Food and lifestyle recommendations:
- Eat whole foods, especially plants. Fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains are rich in phytonutrients/antioxidants that protect against harmful germs. When feeling sick eat lots of Vitamin C and Zinc rich foods such as citrus, kiwi, strawberries, avocados, leafy greens, chickpeas, edamame, peas, lentils, broccoli, and cauliflower. Garlic also enhances immunity and is a flavorful addition to many dishes.
- Include Vitamin D rich foods in your diet. Vitamin D has an important role in immune response. Preliminary studies actually link deficiencies to more severe COVID-19 health outcomes. Salmon, dairy, eggs, mushrooms, tuna, sardines, trout, and cod liver oil are good sources of Vitamin D during the winter.
- Incorporate fermented foods. Yogurt, sauerkraut, some pickles, kimchi, kefir, and tempeh provide diverse, healthy bacteria to boost immune cells and fight harmful pathogens.
- Choose healthy fats. Omega-3 rich foods protect against inflammation, to boost the body’s immune response. Our favorite sources include olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, salmon, and hemp seeds.
- Move your body. Moderate exercise helps with circulation, endorphins, and immune cell response. Physical activity can also help reduce systemic inflammation.
- Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, put your phone away at least an hour before bed, support your circadian rhythm, practice self care, (whatever that may be), and allow yourself to relax and destress. Long term stress promotes inflammation, raises cortisol levels, and hinders immune cell function.
If getting nutrients from food proves to be a challenge or you are just too busy at times, here is a list of supplements that can help support immunity:
- Multivitamin. Think of this as a good insurance policy to help meet your daily needs. I am a fan of Thorne and Wholier for vegan folks.
- Vitamin C. Taking 1,000–2,000 mg of vitamin C per day may reduce the duration of colds.
- Vitamin D. A deficiency in this important Vitamin may increase the probability of getting sick. If you are not deficient we recommend 2,000 iu daily to maintain healthy levels.
- Zinc. 75 mg of zinc per day may reduce the duration of cold symptoms
- Elderberry. Studies show that elderberry may reduces the symptoms of viral upper respiratory infections
- Echinacea. This herb may help with quicker cold recovery
- Garlic. Supplementing with garlic may lower the incidence of the common cold
- Probiotics. Consult your RD or doctor about picking the best probiotic supplement for your microbiome. We love Seed and Mind Body Green
- Magnesium Glycinate. Helps to relax the Central Nervous System and ease muscle tension. Who couldn’t use that this year? Sleep Support + by Mind Body Green is rocking our sleep world right now!
**Always consult your doctor or RD before adding supplements to your healthcare regimen**