We're all aware of how important a healthy immune system is. Nobody likes being sick and if an infection or cold does get the better of us, we're not only reaching for the tissues but anything that will help us recover ASAP. While it's important to support your immune system naturally when it's down, it's also very important to ensure it's getting plenty of TLC year round.
The good news is there are some simple steps you can take to support your immune system naturally, starting with your store cupboard. We'll delve in to some important vitamins and minerals you should be stocking up on for immune health below but first up...
What does my immune system do?
Your immune system works hard to fight infections and keep you healthy. It is made up of various organs, white blood cells, proteins and chemicals. They work together to protect your body from harmful substances such as germs, bacteria, viruses and parasites that can make you ill.
How can you support your immune system naturally?
If you're looking to boost your immune system, there are some simple steps you can take to up your game and give it a helping hand. Little things like eating a healthy balanced diet, getting enough sleep, keeping an eye on your stress levels and working some exercise in to your lifestyle can all make a difference.
What vitamins and minerals are best for immune health?
Your diet is so important when it comes to immune health. Getting lots of fruit and veg ensures your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to support your immune system naturally and help it fight off illness and infections.
Some vitamins and minerals reign supreme when it comes to immune health. We've rounded up some of our favourite vitamins and herbs to support your wellbeing and immune system below. Many of these have both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and work in a range of different ways; from supporting defences to boosting energy levels.
Echinacea is often the first port of call for anyone that feels something coming on and for good reason. White blood cells are the cells of the immune system which help protect the body against infection. And Echinacea helps increase these. Studies have shown that as well as being anti-bacterial, Echinacea has anti-viral properties and can help you recover from a viral infection.
Vitamin C is a staple in many home come flu season. It slows down the progression of a virus, can increase the production of white blood cells and may help you recover more quickly. It's also important to take vitamin C for a few days after you're feeling better.
Most of us are aware of how important vitamin D is for our bones. But what you might not know is vitamin D is also incredibly important for strengthening your immunity. So make sure you're getting your daily requirement of this 'sunshine vitamin' to support your immune system naturally. It's also great at helping you get rid of a cough faster.
Elderberry has picked up a great reputation as a remedy for colds and flus thanks to its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Active ingredients in elderberry surround viral cells and stop them from replicating. This means it can stop a cold, flu or viral infection from getting worse and give you the chance to recover.
We often take garlic for granted. But these bulbs have been used for centuries to treat everything from congestion to colds. The reason being, garlic is anti-viral so may help reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. It can also help to thin out mucous in the chest, nose and sinuses.
Zinc is needed for the production and functioning of immune system cells so it makes sense to get your zinc fix wherever you can (meat, shellfish, nuts and seeds are all excellent sources). It also has a big role to play in tissue healing. Zinc lozenges or liquid are great for healing a sore throat.
If you're looking to support your immune system naturally, multivitamins can be handy for certain people. Multivitamins are supplements that contain many different vitamins and minerals. They're great for supporting you through illness, particularly if you're finding it hard to eat. They're also useful if your energy levels are low as they'll help you feel a bit more energetic. If you're feeling run down in general due to stress or overworking, they're also a good source of extra support.
Want to avoid a nasty cough or cold come winter time? Here's How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season.
Please note, this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice.
It’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.
Checked and updated: 11 August 2021