Health / Wellness / Healthy Eating

How to Boost Your Immune System Through What You Eat

By Addie Roberts

April 19th, 2020

Last updated: April 19th, 2020

We are in a season right now globally where the threat of COVID-19 is looming, and we want to make sure we stay healthy and alert in every way. Supporting your immune system, both now and in every season, is important to prevent becoming sick or passing sicknesses along to others. There are several ways to support your immune functioning through food and lifestyle changes that can be implemented in your day to day routine. 

Does Vitamin C Prevent Sickness?

One topic that may come to mind for individuals when they hear about boosting their immune system is vitamin C., but vitamin C actually doesn’t prevent you from getting sick, but it may shorten the amount of time that you are sick if you do get sick. Most people aren’t aware of the proper functioning of vitamin C, which is actually to be a cofactor in several processes, and it also acts as an antioxidant. Research shows that although vitamin C can support immune functioning and prevent the length of sickness, it cannot prevent a virus from actually being contracted. So, especially with COVID-19, it’s imperative to consume vitamin C through your food to decrease the number of days that you are sick, and the illness progresses into a life-threatening situation. However, excessive supplementation while healthy will not ward off any impending sickness. There are several other ways, however, to actually boost your immune system and prevent illness from occurring in the first place! Each trick to boost your immune system is part of an overall healthy lifestyle and can be sustained through all seasons, not just seasons where sickness is more prevalent. 

A Balanced Diet

A well-rounded, balanced diet full of healthy fats, carbohydrates, high-quality protein, and vegetables helps support your body’s ability to fight off sickness. Making sure that your body is fueled adequately and with healthy food options is one of the easiest ways to support the immune system each and every day. Our bodies go through normal wear and tear, and inflammation arises each and every day from physical activity, the environment, and basic functioning. Without giving it the macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) it needs to support functioning and eliminate the inflammation incurred, we are susceptible to lowered repair functioning in our bodies, including immune functioning. 

The same can be true for consuming too much processed or unhealthy food. When we do so, the food doesn’t always have the nutrients needed to repair damage and support immune functioning like healthy foods and vegetables do. A diet with high amounts of processed foods may go hand in hand with more frequent sickness because of the lack of nutrients to support your immune system. 

Fruit and vegetables are of the utmost importance when it comes to strengthening your immune system because they provide high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect against cellular damage and allow your body to function at its highest capacity. In essence, your body can withstand more stress (even in the form of sickness) when it is fueled with these nutrient-dense foods.

Support Your Gut Health

While the human microbiome is still somewhat of a mystery to scientists and researchers, there is good evidence that our gut bacteria have a lot to do with most processes in our bodies. Our immune system is no different! Our intestinal tract is lined with several kinds of cells, including several cells that contribute to immunity. This barrier prevents bacteria or other unwanted substances from passing into our bodies. Supporting a healthy intestinal ecosystem by supporting our gut bacteria can help support these processes. Adding in probiotic pills or naturally containing probiotic foods such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, or kombucha beverages are other ways to increase gut bacteria and create a healthy gut microbiome that can also inadvertently support your immune system. 

Stay Active

Physical activity is vital as part of an overall healthy lifestyle for several reasons, but moderate, regular activity can also help support a healthy immune system as well. During exercise, the number of lymphocytes actually increases in your body. Lymphocytes are the white blood cells that fight off bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted substances. In this way, regular exercise can help support a healthy immune system. Exercise can also help increase energy during the day and help you sleep more soundly at night, which allows your body to recover and awake the next day, ready to fight off sickness once again. Try to incorporate these immune-supporting habits into your daily routine while also practicing handwashing to help prevent illness.

Discuss these immune-supporting habits with your provider. Schedule a consult at http://wellhealth

By Addie Roberts