What is an Immune System Booster?
The immune system does an amazing job of protecting us against pathogens, however sometimes an intruder gets in and we fall sick. The immune system runs within tight limits, and while having a boosted immune system is not always a good thing-as in the case of auto immune conditions-we do want to ensure that it’s functioning optimally to offer better protection to fight off a variety of illnesses and infections.
There are no magical immune system boosters to optimise our health overnight, but there are many ways we can protect and support our immune system and lower our risk of infection.
The first line of defence is following general good health guidelines to keep the immune system functioning optimally: Eating a varied and balanced diet, getting regular exercise, good quality sleep, minimising stress, and avoiding factors which lower immunity like excess alcohol intake and smoking.
Sleep and stress reduction are two of the best natural immunity boosters. Sleep is vitally important for immune health, those who don’t get enough quality sleep have been shown to be prone to getting sick after exposure to viruses. Chronic stress also suppresses the immune system, increasing risk of infection. It’s important to identify sources of stress and engage in activities that help to reduce it and its effects.
The 6 Best Foods for Boosting Immunity
A healthy diet is one of the best ways we can look after ourselves and maintain immune health. An immunity boosting diet is well-balanced and varied, and avoids highly processed foods, trans-fat, and refined sugars.
Key nutrients for the immune system include:
–Vitamin C: Found in citrus fruit, peppers, kiwis, and greens.
–Vitamin E: Found in nuts, seeds, avocado.
–Vitamin B6: Found in bananas, greens, potatoes.
Gut health is also vitally important for immunity. Around 70% of the immune system resides within the gut, so a healthy and diverse gut microbiome is important for boosting healthy defences.
There are many immune boosting foods to include in your daily diet:
- Blueberries: Rich in anthocyanin which is a powerful antioxidant that can support immunity. Flavonoids are essential in the immune systems function, and research has found those who ate flavonoid rich foods were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection or cold than those who didn’t.
- Turmeric: Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may improve immune response. Also has strong anti-microbial effects. Try our delicious warming Chaga Turmeric Latte to bolster your defences.
- Garlic: Traditional home remedy for prevention of colds and infections. Studies suggest taking garlic can reduce risk of infection. Its benefits seem to come from compounds such as allicin.
- Mushrooms: Of course we had to mention mushrooms! Rich in key nutrients like vitamin D, iron, selenium and vitamin C which are important for immune health. Rich in beta-glucans which support immune cell function and stimulate immune response to invading pathogens and infected cells. Regularly consuming mushrooms in your diet, and adding our mushroom supplements to your routine is a great way to add extra nutrition to your diet to support immunity.
- Green Tea: Packed with flavonoids, including high levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to enhance immune function.
- Honey: Traditionally prized and sought after for its immune system benefits, many types of honey have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to boost your defences.
5 Powerful Herbal Remedies for Immune System Support
Many herbs and spices have been well researched and show benefits for immune support. Echinacea, garlic, ginger, oregano, and more have all been shown to support immune response, and contain powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial compounds.
- Echinacea: One of the most popular immune herbs. It is immuno-modulating, and contains anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antioxidant compounds. It is valued for its ability to protect against viral and bacterial infections, and rich in a wide spectrum of immunomodulatory compounds to help build the immune system.
- Elderberry: Loaded with antioxidants, research has shown it to support immune response as well as shorten duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms.
- Olive Leaf: Oleuropein, the main component in olive leaf has antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immune supporting properties.
- Astragalus: Revered herb in traditional Chinese medicine, supports healthy immune function. It is a herbal adaptogen that can balance the body’s physiological response to stress during demanding periods, as well as offering seasonal support to maintain overall wellbeing.
- Ginger: Strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, it’s also a great decongestant. Try our Maitake Ginger Latte when you are feeling under the weather.
Herbs are a great way to support your immune system, especially in combination with our medicinal mushrooms.
Immunity Boosting Exercises to Keep You Fit & Well in the Cold Weather
Exercise is one of the key pillars of overall health, and can contribute to a healthy immune system, by boosting circulation, making it easier for immune cells to travel throughout the body.
Studies suggest 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day helps to stimulate the immune system. Walking has been shown to be excellent at boosting immune function and the body’s natural defence mechanisms. Be aware that excessive exercise can actually lower immunity, so keep things at a moderate effort to stay fighting fit.
Shop our range of medicinal mushrooms to support your immune!