Our bodies are absolutely phenomenal. As they adapt to both internal and external stressors, our immune systems are ever-alert and working at keeping us healthy. Getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and maintaining an active lifestyle are just a few easy ways to help ensure a strong immune system. When it comes to immune response, there are two main categories to keep an eye on: immune builders and immune assists.
Immune builders aid in heightening our defenses for long term immunity, while immune assists are for directly counteracting the impact of illness once we’re already sick.
Immune Boosting Foods
Vitamin C & Bioflavonoids
We all know that vitamin C is good for the immune system, but did you know that vitamin C can’t “do its thing” without bioflavonoids? Bioflavonoids are compounds found in plants that play a crucial role in how vitamin C is absorbed in the body. Think of them like the “fingers” while vitamin C is the “thumb.” Without fingers, the thumb can’t do much. To be effective, they have to work synergistically. Ask a Natural Living team member about the role of bioflavonoids in unlocking the immune benefits of vitamin C!
Like vitamin C, vitamin D is crucial in maintaining a robust immune system. While you can obtain vitamin D from the sun, prolonged direct exposure to sunlight can be damaging to your skin. We’ve got a wide variety of capsules, gummies, sprays, and liquids to make getting your daily vitamin D a breeze!
In addition, here are a few foods to add to your daily diet to boost vitamin D levels:
- Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, or mackerel
- Egg Yolks
- Fortified foods like cereals, almond milk, orange juice, and soymilk
While D3 is not in abundance in vegan food, brands like Onnit and MRM offer vegan D3, available in our Natural Living departments.
Mushrooms—both edible and medicinal—are jam-packed with immunity-boosting properties. These superfoods come in powders, capsules, liquids, and even in some of your favorite artisanal chocolates.
An easy way to integrate mushrooms in your diet is with a delicious bowl of mushroom soup or a steaming cup of mushroom coffee. Check out Four Sigmatic or visit our Coffee/Juice bar for one of our functional lattes! Keep a lookout for these varieties, known for their immunity-boosting benefits:
- Turkey tail
Black Elderberry or Sambucus has been used for centuries to build up the immune system and ward off colds. Available in syrup, tablet, capsule, powder, gummy, and tea forms, elderberry syrup is a natural addition to your daily routine. Our favorite way to add it to our diet is to stir a serving of elderberry syrup into a mug of hot water or tea with lemon, fresh ginger, and Manuka Honey. You can even drizzle it over pancakes and waffles as a delicious and healthy syrup!
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Containing potent antimicrobials, grapefruit seed extract may be beneficial when feeling under the weather or encountering illnesses like food poisoning. As a bonus, it’s high in antioxidants that can prevent damage from free-radicals.
Italian recipes aren’t the only place oregano is useful! Loaded with compounds like thymol and carvacrol, oregano oil has been used for centuries as a natural antibiotic. Fragrant in both scent and flavor, it is available in capsule and liquid forms.
Colloidal silver is a liquid containing nanoparticles of silver. Studies have shown colloidal silver to be a powerful antibacterial and antiviral, making it a popular addition to a get well regimen. With dropper and spray forms for easy oral application, colloidal silver is even available as a nasal spray to combat stuffy noses.
Considered by many to be a powerful natural anti-viral, Andrographis is a favorite in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. A potent bitter herb native to India and Sri Lanka, andrographis is frequently taken in tincture or capsule form, and also is available as a tea. Though commonly sought for its immune benefits, andrographis’ bitter nature may aid in digestion.
These supplements are great to keep on hand for the onset of sickness, but are not substitutes for medical care. Consult a physician before use.