Quantcast

6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Food

By Keith Barbalato

Keeping a healthy immune system is always important, especially during colder months when we're often indoors, in closer contact with germs.

The link between strong immunity and nutritional intake is clear: More whole foods, fewer processed foods and a balanced intake of essential vitamins and minerals can keep you and the people around you, from getting sick.

Keeping a healthy immune system is always important, especially during colder months when we're often indoors, in closer contact with germs. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Find these micronutrients in a food near you:

Vitamin D

What it is: A nutrient that fosters production of the proteins that break down the cell membranes of bacteria and strengthens cells that maintain immunity for the body. Deficiency can increase infection, while healthy doses are believed to prevent autoimmune diseases.

Where to get it: Sunshine, milk, mushrooms and oily fish such as salmon, tuna and herring.

Did you know? Vitamin D is the only vitamin with its own Twitter account: @VitaminDCouncil.

Vitamin A

What it is: Fat-soluble compounds vital to the normal functioning of many immune cells including antibody generation and cellular reproduction; plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your skin and mucous membranes, which act as the first lines of defense against infections.

Where to get it: Animal livers, dark greens and orange and yellow vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.

Did you know? It is possible to get too much vitamin A. Overdose, known as hypervitaminosis A, can cause nausea, vomiting and dry skin. This was a common problem for Arctic explorers whose subsistence diet included seal and polar bear livers.

Zinc

What it is: A mineral required for essential proteins and antioxidants that play a major role in maintaining immunity. Zinc also enhances the function of T cells, which detect and eliminate infectious and abnormal cells in the body.

Where to get it: Oysters, dairy products such as yogurt and dark meats.

Did you know? Two oysters contain the full daily requirement of zinc.

Vitamin C

What it is: A powerful antioxidant that aids in the production and function of white blood cells, helps prevent cell damage and is needed for the function of essential enzymes.

Where to get it: Citrus fruits and drinks, as well as sauerkraut.

Did You know? Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient, meaning it is not stored in cells. Excess amounts pass through the body, so vitamin C can be consumed throughout the day.

Probiotics

What it is: Bacteria for your digestive tract that stimulate the production of antibodies and T cells and help cells communicate as they fight off infections.

Where to get it: Yogurt. Check labels for “contains active/live cultures." Also kimchi, kombucha and other fermented foods.

Did you know? In contrast to antibiotics, which means “life-killing" in the Greek etymology, probiotics means “for life" because they are organisms that stimulate growth.

Vitamin E

What it is: An essential antioxidant helping protect cell membranes from atoms that damage cells.

Where to get it: Fatty foods such as seeds, nuts and oils. Add sunflower seeds—one of the best sources—to salads, yogurt or stir-fries.

Did you know? Studies show that 90 percent of Americans don't meet the recommended daily value for vitamin E.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Dr. Mark Hyman: Eat a Diet Rich in Omega 3s for Optimal Health and Weight Loss

13 Foods That Help Fight Inflammation

6 Incredible Health Benefits of Fennel

6 Foods That Cause Inflammation

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Scanning electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic plague, on proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea. NIAID / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Milk made from almonds, oats and coconut are among the healthiest alternatives to cow's milk. triocean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.

Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Greta Thunberg stands aboard the catamaran La Vagabonde as she sets sail to Europe in Hampton, Virginia, on Nov. 13. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist whose weekly school strikes have spurred global demonstrations, has cut short her tour of the Americas and set sail for Europe to attend COP25 in Madrid next month, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
The Lake Delhi Dam in Iowa failed in 2010. VCU Capital News Service / Josh deBerge / FEMA

At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.

Read More Show Less

By Sabrina Kessler

Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Alex Robinson

Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.

The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.

Read More Show Less
People navigate snow-covered sidewalks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Nov. 11 in Chicago. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Temperatures plunged rapidly across the U.S. this week and around 70 percent of the population is expected to experience temperatures around freezing Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
A general view of the flooded St. Mark's Square after an exceptional overnight "Alta Acqua" high tide water level, on Nov. 13 in Venice. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP / Getty Images

Two people have died as Venice has been inundated by the worst flooding it has seen in more than 50 years, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less