Boosting Your Immune System
Your immune system (from the Latin word immunis, meaning: "free" or "untouched") can protect you from pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. Your immune system is made up of different organs, cells and proteins.
As long as our immune system is functioning well, we usually don’t notice it. But we can experience illness if our immune system is compromised, if a pathogen is especially aggressive or, sometimes, if the body is confronted with a pathogen it has not come into contact with before.
You can utilize various strategies to support your immune system including getting enough sleep, minimizing stress and optimizing gut health. Most people don’t realize that about 80% of our immune system is in our gastrointestinal tract.
An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms live in the gut alone -- about ten times the number of cells that make up the body!1 Studies have found that having a healthy microbiome is important in fostering a strong immune system and keeping us healthy.1,2
Ways to go about it
► One way to support your gastrointestinal immune function is by eating a fiber-rich diet including whole, unrefined foods such as greens, fruit, nuts and seeds. Fiber helps improve your immune system since it acts as prebiotics to feed healthy gut bacteria. You also want to limit or eliminate foods like refined carbs, trans fats and foods high in added sugar that can negatively impact your gut flora.
► Another way to support your gastrointestinal flora and immune is with probiotics in fermented foods such as raw kraut, kefir, unsweetened yogurt and probiotic supplements.
► Certain vitamins and minerals can also support our immune system. For example, Vitamin D3 has been shown to support healthy immune function.3
► Vitamin C has also been shown to support healthy immune system function by supporting cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.4
► Other nutrients have also been shown to support our immune system such as fucoidan and immune complexes.5