Winter viruses swirling through the masses, kids trailing home sickness during back-to-school, and endless sniffles as spring flowers begin to bloom—no matter the season, our immune systems are working extra hard to combat all the harmful microbes that come our way. Keep your inner fighters going strong with proper nutrition to boost the immune system.
Support your immune function with good nutrition
Your body works hard even at rest, constantly operating in the background to keep you up and running. One of these vital functions is your immune system, which works to fight off threats, including harmful bacteria and viruses. While you can’t necessarily boost your immune system beyond its normal functioning, proper nutrition can ensure that your immune system has the nutrients it needs to do its job right. If you’ve ever wondered how nutrition affects the immune system, keep reading for some practical knowledge and tips!
Key micronutrients your immune system needs
There are a few key nutrients your body needs to function properly, and by intentionally adding these nutrients into your diet, you can help your body stay strong while fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses.
Iron: Iron is a mineral that can be found in your blood and is a major component of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body and is critical for immune cell function. Iron can be found in beans, greens, and nuts.
Vitamin A: A fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin A works to keep the skin, tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy and strong. It can be found in orange and red fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apricots, and bell peppers.
Vitamin C: An antioxidant that protects your cells from harmful free radicals, vitamin C also helps in the absorption of iron. You can add vitamin C into your diet by consuming citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Vitamin D: A fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium, vitamin D is critical for building bones and fighting harmful pathogens. While you can absorb vitamin D from direct sunlight, you can also get this vitamin by consuming fatty fish like salmon, egg yolks, and fortified dairy.
Vitamin E: Another antioxidant, vitamin E protects the integrity of your cell membranes and repairs damage caused by free radicals. You can add vitamin E into your diet with seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, and peanut butter.
Zinc: Your body may not need much of it, but over 100 enzymes count on zinc to carry out their vital chemical reactions, helping to support cell growth and protein building. Zinc also helps to heal damaged tissues and supports a healthy immune system. Get more zinc into your diet by consuming whole grains, milk, seeds, and nuts.
Gut health and immunity
We often think of the brain as our command center, but our gut plays a huge role in the functionality of many of our internal systems. Diets that are high in refined sugar and red meat while being low in fruits and veggies can create an imbalance that suppresses our immune systems. But with a few dietary changes, you can turn things around! Here are a few quick ways you can munch your way to a happier gut:
- Eat foods that are high in fiber.
- Add more plant-rich foods to support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
- Add in some probiotic foods that contain gut-friendly cultures, such as kefir, yogurt with live cultures, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso.
- Prebiotics are foods that are digested in the lower intestine, where they can be a food resource for the good bacteria in your gut! Add in some prebiotic foods such as garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, and seaweed.
9 steps to help support a healthy immune system
You’re ready to make good nutrition a part of your health routine, but how do you get started? Follow these eight simple tips to keep your body in tip-top shape, so you can stay healthy through all of life’s seasons!
1. Consume a balanced diet that’s rich in whole foods, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
2. There are many reasons someone might not be able to consume a fully balanced diet. If you fall into this category, there are still plenty of ways you can fuel your body, such as with multivitamins. A balanced multivitamin can give you plenty of nutrients in just a single serving!
3. Drink plenty of water! To help, get yourself a 40-ounce water bottle and make sure to fill it up at least twice throughout your day.
4. Refrain from smoking tobacco or begin slowly lowering your tobacco intake.
5. Avoid excessive drinking and work to drink alcohol only in moderation.
6. Get moderate movement into your daily routine, such as a brisk 20-minute walk, some gentle stretching, or an exercise class.
7. Early to bed, early to rise! Try to get 7–9 hours of sleep every night. Keeping a sleep schedule will help get your body into a routine, regulating your circadian rhythm for deeper, more restful sleep. And be sure to set yourself up for success with a restful bedtime routine that includes quiet time and steers clear of screens.
8. We know it’s tough, but learning how to manage stress levels will benefit you both mentally and physically! Find some coping skills that work with your lifestyle, such as exercise, meditation, diving into a hobby, or talking it out with a friend. A few minutes of stress reduction can do wonders for your overall health and well-being!
9. We all got used to washing our hands thoroughly and regularly during the pandemic, and it’s a habit we should all keep up with! Always give your hands a good washing after rummaging around outside, before preparing or eating food, after using the restroom, and after coughing or blowing your nose.
Help from Young Living nutritional supplements
We all need a little help sometimes, and our wide range of Young Living supplemental products can help you keep your nutritional intake high and your immune system strong.
NingXia Greens supplement powder: Made with a powerful blend of mushrooms, fruits, and veggies, this simple powder is packed with superfood nutrients. In each serving, you’ll find 50 fermented whole foods to support a healthy immune system.
NingXia Red® beverage: Power in a bottle, NingXia Red superfruit drink is a fruity blend of wolfberry, plum, and pomegranate juices that are rich in antioxidants. Drink once a day to help your body’s overall wellness and support your healthy energy levels without caffeine.
Golden Turmeric supplement: Supporting the body’s natural response to inflammation, Golden Turmeric supplement provides the body with a blend of Boswellia resin, ginger root, tapioca fiber, and Lime Vitality essential oil. Drinking just one glass a day can support digestion as well as your gut-brain axis!
Life 9® probiotic: With over 17 billion live cultures from nine strains of beneficial bacteria, Life 9 probiotic works with your gut to support healthy immune function in just a single serving. Add into your daily vitamin routine and feel the difference!
Inner Defense supplement: Using potent essential oils such as Oregano, Thyme, and Thieves® blend, Inner Defense supplement is a go-to for supporting your body’s immune system year round.
Wanting to improve your overall health, but don’t know where to start? Begin by learning about your own digestive system, then check out these supplement must-haves and create a vitamin schedule you know you can follow.
How do you keep your immune system in tip-top shape?
Let us know in the comments below!
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