Nutritional Tips: Boosting the Immune System

nutrition-immune

Have you ever wondered why do some people always get sick from every viruses and bacteria come their way? While some people seemingly never get sick no matter what pathogens are in fashion that season? Although the two groups are living on the same planet, even in the same immediate environment. Why boosting your immune system is important?

Consider the fact that viruses and bacteria have been with us since the dawn of time. No matter how well you wash your hands, sanitise your environment, stay indoor and shield yourself inside a bubble-wrap, these microorganisms exist all around us.

There have been so much virus fears lately, so much so, people seem to forget that we are not at the mercy of every pathogen come our way. Mother nature has given us an immune system for this very reason.

Therefore, maintaining your immune system in top condition is the best way to prevent viral and bacterial infections. After all, having a strong, healthy immune system never goes out of fashion.

The great news is boosting your immune system naturally, is easier than you think if you follow the simple nutritional tips outlined below.

Key immune system boosting nutrients:

Other than healthy lifestyles to enhance the immune system, nutrition has a profound effect on the immune system status too. Although every vitamins and mineral are essential for healthy immune functions, the following shortlist of nutrients stand above the rest as far as the immune system concerns.

Vitamin C

The big C is probably the most recognisable vitamin on the planet. Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans as it is a potent antioxidant and support the cell barriers against pathogens.

The importance of vitamin C does not stop at just preventing scurvy. Additionally, vitamin C plays a crucial factor in the function of the immune system.

Deficiency of vitamin C is known to impair the immune function and result in a higher likelihood of infections (1). Furthermore, a study shows the supplementation of vitamin C decreases the chance of catching infectious diseases (2) and lessen the severity and duration of existing infections (3).

Vitamin C rich food:

Colourful fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of vitamin C.

Kiwi, apple, oranges, berries, pineapple, tomato, bell peppers, tomato, broccoli, cabbage, leafy green vegetables and many more.

Also, fermented cabbage such as sauerkraut is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as the gut-healthy probiotics, more below.

Supplementation is a quick way to boost your vitamin C reserve, especially during the flu season. Please consult your nutritionist or naturopath for the correct dosing of vitamin C.

Check out this homemade sauerkraut recipe.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known as the Sun vitamin because the skin naturally produces it from the Sun’s UV light. It is no coincidence that infectious diseases tend to rear their ugly heads during winter months at the time of low UV light.

Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection (4). A therapeutic dose of vitamin D through supplementation shows a decreased incidence of infectious diseases such as influenza (5).

Vitamin D rich food:

Vitamin D rarely exists in abundance in food sources. The few food sources which do contain vitamin D are cod liver oil, oily fish, pasture-raised egg yolk, pasture-raised butter and cream, liver. Alternatively, vitamin D also exists in a less active form in mushrooms.

Due to the fact, so many people are severely deficient in vitamin D. Supplemental vitamin D is becoming an essential factor in many health protocols. Please consult your nutritionist or naturopath about the therapeutic dosing of vitamin D.

Making a homemade liver pate is so easy.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is well-known as good for the eyes. In addition to vision health, vitamin A is complementary to vitamin D as crucial factors in an optimal immune function (6).

Research shows that crucial immune organs such as the thymus and spleen need a constant dietary intake to maintain vitamin A concentration (7). Deficiency of vitamin A results in the decrease in immune function to fight and prevent infection (8) in children.

Vitamin A rich food:

Contrary to the popular believe orange coloured vegetables such as carrot, sweet potato, squash and mango do not contain vitamin A per se. Instead, they have Beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Human body still must process and convert Beta-carotene into vitamin A.

Vitamin A is typically also found in food sources containing vitamin D such as liver, cod liver oil, oily fish, pasture-raised egg yolk, pasture-raised butter and cream.

Please consult your nutritionist or naturopath before taking vitamin A supplement for the correct dosing. Overdosing on vitamin A can cause damage to the liver.

Try out this delicious fish stew recipe.

Zinc

In addition to giving healthy fingernails and hair, zinc is a crucial mineral for a robust immune system (9).

Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of immune cells such as neutrophils, macrophages, NK cells, T and B cells (10). Zinc functions as an antioxidant and stabilises cell membranes, thus preventing damage from free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes of infection (11).

Zinc-rich food:

Animal food such as oysters, shellfish, beef, pork, chicken, milk and cream are the richest source of zinc. Alternatively, zinc also exists to a much lesser quantity in some nuts and seeds like sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, oats, hemp seeds, lentils, chickpeas and many more.

With so many people in the West is zinc deficient, supplementation is an excellent way to get your zinc level up. There are many forms of zinc, with each one fulfils a specific function. Please consult your nutritionist and naturopath for the correct form and dose of zinc.

Get your zinc from this amazing lobster recipe.

Lysine

There is a lot of wisdom in the old tradition of chicken soup meal during the cold rainy day and winter months as nothing is more soothing to the cold and flu sickness than chicken soup and good night rest. Due to, a little nutrient known as lysine may be a missing link in the immune system boosting therapy. Lysine is an amino acid found in abundance in meat products such as chicken.

Lysine and zinc supplementation is known to boost the immune system of immune-compromised individuals such as the elderly (12), due to the fact that lysine plays a supportive role to zinc in mediating the immune response.

Furthermore, a combined lysine and arginine amino-acid therapy shows inhibition of the viral replication. Consequently, shortening the duration of the disease and improving recovery outcomes (13).

Lysine rich food:

Meat products are the richest sources of amino-acid lysine. Beef, pork, chicken and turkey are all great source of lysine. While nuts, seeds and legumes are good sources of plant-based lysine.

Please consult your nutritionist or naturopath for the proper use of lysine supplement.

Try this beautiful hearty soup recipe to warm you up in winter.

Probiotics

Last but absolutely not the least. A healthy balance of probiotics bacteria in the gut is crucially fundamental to a robust immune system. Much research has shown crosstalk exists between the gut microbiome and immune system. A healthy population of bacteria in the gut profoundly increases the body resistance to infections (14, 15, 16).

Not only probiotics work wonders to your immune system, but they are also useful to protect you from environmental toxins such as heavy metals (17).

Probiotics rich food:

Source of probiotics are fermented food and beverages, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, natto, kvass, kefir, kombucha, yogurt, sour cream and many others.

Sauerkraut which is a fermented cabbage is also rich in vitamin C as well as probiotics bacteria. Throughout history, sailors brought sauerkraut with their long voyage at sea to prevent scurvy (18).

Probiotics supplement can be quite expensive and have varying efficacy. For that reason, please consult your nutritionist and naturopath for quality and effective probiotics supplement.

Check out this homemade sauerkraut recipe.

In conclusion

Everything outlined in this article thus far is useful tips to boost the immune system. Regardless of the thread of pathogens, we must always integrate a healthy dietary and lifestyle habit as part of our daily life.

To complement this nutritional tips article, don’t forget to check out lifestyle tips to enhance the immune system.

The best investment you can ever make is an investment in your health.

If you are prone to viral and bacterial infection contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email: [email protected] for an obligation free discussion about your health condition.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.

 

Immune boosting recipes

pate-300x139

Liver Pate

The liver is one of the healthiest nutrient-dense food you can have. Try this recipe, you won’t believe how amazing liver pate can be.

sauerkraut-300x139

How to Make Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is the simplest fermented food to make. This guide will show you a step by step instruction on how to make basic sauerkraut.

meatstock-300x139

Meat Stock

Meat stock is a close cousin to bone broth, it’s amino acids profile is better suited for early-stage gut-healing than bone broth.

 

nutrition-immune

Maintaining your immune system in top condition is the best way to prevent viral and bacterial infections. The great news is boosting your immune system naturally, is easier than you think by keeping an optimal level of the following vital nutrients.

Vitamin C

The big C is probably the most recognisable vitamin on the planet. Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient for humans as it is a potent antioxidant and support the cell barriers against pathogens.

Vitamin D

Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. A therapeutic dose of vitamin D through supplementation shows a decreased incidence of infectious diseases such as influenza.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is well-known as good for the eyes. In addition to vision health, vitamin A is complementary to vitamin D as crucial factors in an optimal immune function. Deficiency of vitamin A results in the decrease in immune function to fight and prevent infection in children.

Zinc

In addition to giving healthy fingernails and hair, zinc is a crucial mineral for a robust immune system. Zinc functions as an antioxidant and stabilises cell membranes, thus preventing damage from free radical-induced injury during inflammatory processes of infection.

Lysine

There is a lot of wisdom in the old tradition of chicken soup meal during the cold rainy day and winter months as nothing is more soothing to the cold and flu sickness than chicken soup and good night rest. Due to, a little nutrient known as lysine may be a missing link in the immune system boosting therapy. Lysine is an amino acid found in abundance in meat products such as chicken.

Probiotics

Last but not the least. A healthy balance of probiotics bacteria in the gut is crucially fundamental to a robust immune system. Much research has shown crosstalk exists between the gut microbiome and immune system. A healthy population of bacteria in the gut profoundly increases the body resistance to infections. Additionally, not only probiotics work wonders to your immune system, but they are also useful to protect you from environmental toxins such as heavy metals.

If you are prone to viral and bacterial infection contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email: [email protected] for an obligation free discussion about your health condition.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.