Enjoy the Holiday Gift of Immune Support
As the holiday season kicks into full swing and schedules get busier, it is easy to start feeling run down. Lack of sleep and quick-grab, nutritionally lacking dinners can take a toll on your immune system too. A healthy immune system is essential to overall health. That’s why now is the perfect time to start taking steps to help support your body’s immune system.
Consider adding these items to your diet during this stressful season:
Probiotics: You likely know that probiotics are living microorganisms that are found in the gut and are beneficial to health. One of the major mechanisms of probiotic action is through the regulation of host immune response.1
Omega-3s: These fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, have significant, beneficial effects on health. A recent study suggests supplementation with fish oil may actually enhance the activity of certain white blood cells known as B cells.2 You can also add EPA and DHA to your diet by consuming foods rich in omega-3s.
Vitamin C: This powerful nutrient contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system, even supporting epithelial barrier function to protect against environmental oxidative stress.3 Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Vitamin D: In addition to maintaining healthy bones, vitamin D is helpful for healthy immune function by modulating the innate and adaptive immune responses.4 Drink your milk! For those who don’t consume dairy, vitamin D is also found in fatty fish, eggs, and fortified products such as soy milk, orange juice, and cereals.
Zinc: If you’re looking to help regulate your immune system, head to the end of the alphabet. Zinc has antioxidant properties, and supplementing with zinc can help decrease oxidative stress markers.5 Looking to add zinc through your diet? Start your dinner with oysters, or dine on red meat, crab, or lobster.6
Echinacea: This plant has a mix of active substances that help it support cellular immunity. Echinacea contains phenols, which have antioxidant properties, and it also contains alkylamides or alkamides, which have a positive effect on the immune system.7
Mushrooms: Did you know certain mushrooms may enhance immune system functioning?8 By functioning as antioxidants, mushrooms such as Lignzhi or Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Shiitake (Lentinus edodes), and Turkey tail (Colorus versicolor) protect cellular components from oxidative damage and protect immune cells, allowing them to maintain immune surveillance and response.8-10
As you start to add these helpful dietary components, remember, there are also simple habits you can adopt to help keep your immune system strong at this stressful time of year.
- Yan F et al. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2011;27(6):496-501.
- Gurzell E et al. J Leukocyte Biol. 2013;93(4):463-470.
- Carr AC et al. Nutrients. 2017;9(11).
- Aranow C. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881-886.
- Prasad AS. Mol Med. 2008;14(5-6):353-357.
- Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.
- Nordqvist C. Medical News Today. December 19, 2017.
- Wachtel-Galor S et al. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.
- Bisen PS et al. Curr Med Chem. 2010;17(22):2419-2430.
- Saleh M et al. Front Immunol. 2017;8:1087.
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team