6 Naturally Effective Ways to Boost Your Immune System

June 30, 2020

Lately, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about your immune system, and how important it is to boost it to help you stay healthy.

The truth is, there’s no single food or supplement that can enhance your immune system. And, unfortunately, you can’t boost your immune system against COVID-19 or a particular disease. But you can eat well and live a healthy lifestyle to lessen your chances of getting sick. You could also end up leaner, stronger, happier, and healthier…so what are you waiting for?

 

1. Start with a Healthy Diet

Healthy womanYour body needs vitamins to function properly, and the best way to get your vitamins is by eating a wide variety of healthy foods. Here are a few of the vitamins and nutrients that can protect you, and where to find them.

Vitamin C is the one you usually think of when you start sniffling or worry that a cold is coming. Even though there is no evidence that the vitamin will prevent you from catching a cold, those who regularly get enough Vitamin C may not get sick for as long or have as severe of a cold. Get your C from delicious sources, such as:

  • Strawberries
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers

 

Zinc is another nutrient thought to fight the common cold and protect you from the flu. Zinc is needed for immune cell development; if you don’t get enough, you could be at higher risk for pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Some studies have shown that taking zinc at the beginning of an illness may help you get over it faster. You can get a healthy amount of zinc in:

  • Normal servings of lean beef, seafood, low-fat dairy, eggs, and chicken
  • Vegetarian/vegan sources such as nuts, seeds, tofu, beans, and lentils

 

Vitamin D is essential for helping your body fight off disease and infection. If you’re deficient (and many of us are), this could increase your risk of upper respiratory tract infections, including flu and allergic asthma. Because Vitamin D fights inflammation, it may help those who suffer arthritis or autoimmune diseases like lupus, psoriasis, or irritable bowel disease. Get your Vitamin D in:

  • Fatty fishes like salmon, sardines, and anchovies (eaten in moderation)
  • Eggs, especially the yolk (eat no more than one a day)
  • Fortified staples such as milk, cereal, orange juice, and bread
  • Sunshine! No, you don’t eat it, but spending a few minutes in the noon-time sun, a few times a week, can help your body produce Vitamin D. Make sure to wear SPF and protect your eyes.

 

Spices have been used as medicine and complementary care for centuries, and many have been put to the test by modern science. These are a few of the delicious spices that, when used in moderate amounts, can help protect your cells from damage.

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon

 

2. Get Moving

CyclistRegular exercise, especially cardio, boosts the cells in your immune system and reduces inflammation, so your body can use its defenses to fight infection. Other great benefits of exercise include lowering your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and helping keep your brain sharp and lessens the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

3. Sleep Well

Woman sleepingNot getting enough sleep can make you sick, and sleep deprivation is also linked to weight gain, high blood pressure, and depression. Sleep is your body’s time to repair itself, and that includes producing T-cells that help fight off infections. To help your body and your mind perform their best, aim for 7 or 8 hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep.

 

4. Don’t Worry

Relaxing womanStress is bad for both your body and your mind. Too much stress, for too long, suppresses our immunity and floods our body with cortisol, which can attack our white blood cells and leave us less able to fight off a host of diseases, including cancer. Regular self-care, including exercise, can help you better cope with stress.

 

5. Be Happy

Dad and son basketball

We know that stress and loneliness can make us sicker. Even though the evidence that happiness strengthens our immunity isn’t rock-solid, being happy is linked to healthy habits, like eating more fruits and increased physical activity. Happiness is also linked to lower risk of heart disease, and it has a positive impact on our perception of pain.

 

6. Get Your Vaccines

Vaccine armWe saved the best for last: getting routine vaccinations is the safest and most effective way to protect against many serious diseases, including the flu, cervical cancer, and more. Even though many vaccines have existed for decades, they are constantly tested for safety and effectiveness, and adjusted so they are of the most benefit to the most people. Vaccines aren’t just for kids! Contact us to learn about age-appropriate vaccines.

 

Here for You

Most of these immunity boosters are appropriate for all ages and types of people, but if you’d like to get help with a specific issue, contact your doctor. We’re here to help you grow healthy, no matter your needs.

 

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Why You Need Vitamins and the Best Places to Get Them

August 01, 2019

When it comes to getting the right amount of vitamins, grabbing a quick pill might seem like the easiest option. But what most people don’t know is that there’s almost no proof that multivitamin pills offer any long-term health benefits.

A well-balanced diet is the best way to get the nutrients your body needs but can’t make on its own. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains offer key vitamins and minerals that keep you functioning at your peak. Plus, adding more healthy foods to your daily rotation can help ward off things like the common cold and aid the health of your immune system. Here’s a brief guide to some of the most important vitamins and the easiest, most delicious ways to get them.

 

Calcium

kids breakfastWhy we need it: Calcium helps build healthy bones and teeth, and it aids in blood clotting and muscle contraction. The human body does not produce calcium on its own, yet this mineral is essential for keeping us alive. 

Where to get it: Your best bets are lean dairy products, like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Because these foods can be high in both fat and sodium, make sure you’re not eating too much! Also, caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda can pull the calcium out of your body, so watch how many of these beverages you consume. 

 

Iron

healthy foodWhy we need it: Iron is another powerhouse mineral that makes life possible. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough red blood cells. This can lead to a condition called anemia. Lack of iron can leave you feeling fatigued and dizzy. Pregnant women who don’t get enough iron are more likely to give birth to underweight or premature babies.

Where to get it: The good news is there are plenty of tasty foods that can help you get enough iron. The best sources are animal proteins: chicken, fish, beef, and especially liver are rich in iron. You can also find iron in lentils, beans, cereal, tofu, and even dried apricots.

 

Vitamin B6 and B12

beef liverWhy we need it: Vitamin B6 is important for your metabolism, or how your body breaks down your foods for energy. It’s also been shown to promote brain health and cut the risk for Alzheimer’s. B12 helps keep the nerves and blood cells healthy. When its lacking in the body, you may feel fatigued and dizzy – in severe deficiencies, you could experience muscle and coordination problems.

Where to get it: Foods like turkey, chickpeas, tuna, salmon, potatoes, and bananas as well as fruit (other than citrus) are B6 rich. B12 is naturally found in animal products (meat and dairy products) and is added to fortify plant-based foods like veggie burgers. Beef liver and clams contain the highest amount of B12, with 3,460% of the recommended daily allowance in one serving.

 

Vitamin C

citrus fruitsWhy we need it: Vitamin C protects our cells from damage caused by free radicals which are harmful compounds found in air pollution, the sun’s UVA rays, and cigarette smoke. It’s also vital in the production of collagen and helps the immune system fight off diseases. 

Where to get it: Vitamin C’s impressive health benefits can come from many fruits and vegetables like strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, kale, and spinach. The most popular source of Vitamin C is, of course, oranges. A single orange delivers almost your entire daily dose. 

 

Vitamin D

salmon

Why we need it: Vitamin D has numerous benefits related to cancer prevention, bone health, mental health, and your immune system. Vitamin D helps your body better absorb calcium, which helps prevent osteoporosis and decreases the risk of bone fractures in older adults. There’s even been a study that suggests vitamin D may help fight depression.

Where to get it: Dairy products, nut milks, and cereals are often fortified with vitamin D, giving them an extra helping of this important vitamin. Fatty fishes like tuna, salmon, and cod rank high on the list of nutrient-filled foods. Rare mushrooms and egg yolks also contain small amounts. 

 

Reaping the Benefits

fruits

Supplements can be an added bonus to our daily diet but should be considered as a secondary option when it comes to sourcing the proper nutrients for our bodies. Incorporating foods that nourish our bodies and are loaded with minerals is essential to a long and healthy life. Even if you’re eating at a restaurant, you can still make smart choices and meet your nutritional goals. Check back regularly for more healthy living tips and ideas!

 

Eating Until You’re Color-Full

July 30, 2018

Colorful foods aren’t just nice to look at, they offer a lot of benefits to your health! 

berries

Red, Blue, and Purple Food:

  • They can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, urinary tract infections, and memory loss.
  •  These foods contain potassium, vitamins A and C, and folate. 
  • They are known for anti-inflammatory properties, helping to protect against cell damage, and keeping the heart, blood, joint, and immune systems healthy. 
  • Foods include tomatoes, pomegranates, berries, watermelon, cabbage, beets, eggplant, grapes, raisins, cherries, kidney beans, and red pepper.

 

lemons

 Orange and Yellow Food:

  • They can improve immune function and lower the risk of heart disease, vision problems and cancer. 
  • These foods contain folate, potassium, bromium, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. 
  • They are known for flushing out toxins and keeping the eyes, skin, teeth, and bones healthy. 
  • Try carrots, lemons, oranges, corn, peaches, nectarines, mango, squash, pineapple, bell pepper, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. 
     

avacados

Green Food:

  •  They can lower the risk of cancer and vision problems. 
  •  These foods contain folate and vitamins A, C, and K. 
  •   They are known for fighting free radicals, helping prevent blood clots, and regulating blood sugar. 
  • Foods include leafy greens like kale, spinach and arugula, green apples, limes, kiwi, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, grapes, and broccoli. 


garlic

White Food:

  • They can lower the risk for stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancers like colorectal cancer.  
  • These foods contain potassium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin C. 
  •  They are known for providing essential dietary fiber and supporting the immune and circulatory systems.
  •  Try pears, bananas, cauliflower, mushrooms, ginger, dates, potatoes, garlic, onions, black eyed peas, and white nectarines. 


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we should all try to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day in a variety of colors. So go ahead and fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies!