Are you wondering how to boost your immune system and fight the flu?
No wonder—in Australia, the flu causes around 1,500-3,000 deaths a year and at least 18,000 hospitalisations. The complications from influenza can be severe and debilitating, such as developing pneumonia, and maybe even fatal. There's also a large part of the population that's labelled as higher risk—the elderly, those with chronic disease, healthcare workers, and more.
All this aside, COVID-19 has caused quite a scare globally, and more people than ever are concerned with their immune system health. After all, if your immune system is working optimally, it can stave off illness. But if it's working poorly, if you let it get run down, you're more likely to get sick.
Since there's a clear link between immune system health and fighting off the flu, we'll highlight the necessary nutrients to boost your immune system. That way, you can rest easy knowing you've done your part to stay well.
How Does the Immune System Work?
Our immune systems are wonderful, fascinating, disease-fighting things.
Think of the immune system as a complex network of organs and cells that stop things like viruses and bacteria from getting into the body. It's easy to think of this network as a "search and destroy" system—one that sends immune-cells out to battle to find and then get rid of unwanted visitors.
Our bodies produce proteins (called antibodies) that destroy these foreign cells (things like flu viruses). They help protect us against small issues, like the common cold, to more significant things like cancer.
We even have something called the "cell-mediated immune system" that works like a memory. In essence, it remembers past defences of immune system cells against specific threats, which better prepares those cells in the future. So, if that invader tries to attack our bodies again, the cells pull up the memory and can stop the invader before it even starts to wreak havoc or develop a disease.
Certain adverse lifestyle habits can lower our immune system function.
One, in particular, is not having enough nutrients in our bodies to support the intricate work of the immune system. Perhaps your diet isn't up to par, or you don't take supplements to boost the immune system. However, this is probably our highest chance of fighting off disease, big and small.
That being said, let's continue.
How to Boost the Immune System: Nutrients That Help You Fight the Flu
Here, we highlight some vital nutrients that supercharge our immune system function, as well as how they do so and where to get them.
Vitamin C and the flu are old enemies.
Vitamin C is what's considered an essential vitamin, which means our body doesn't produce it naturally. Therefore, someone would have to ingest Vitamin C through food and/or supplements. Plenty of food contains Vitamin C, such as strawberries, kale, spinach, oranges, and more.
Although it's not naturally-occurring, Vitamin C has a plethora of fantastic health benefits, especially when it comes to immune system function. It's even recommended that women get 75 mg a day of Vitamin C, and men get 90 mg a day.
Concerning chronic disease, Vitamin C is a top contender. It's an antioxidant, which can strengthen our body's function and natural defences. These antioxidants boost our immune system by protecting cells from free radicals (harmful molecules).
Vitamin D is another top contender when it comes to staving off disease and illnesses. One of the best ways to get the appropriate amount of Vitamin D in the body is with supplements. Your body also produces Vitamin D in the sunlight, and it can be ingested through certain foods, such as salmon, mushrooms, and others.
This is an excellent way to keep your immune system healthy and functioning at an optimal level. In fact, it's essential. Vitamin D is necessary when it comes to immune system health, from promoting immune response to enhancing the function of immune cells.
It also has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties, which can help activate our immune system defences.
Low Vitamin D levels are regularly linked to an increased risk of respiratory diseases, as well as viral and bacterial infections.
Probiotics are an excellent way to boost the immune system, as they promote its function and decrease the growth of harmful gut bacteria.
Probiotics can encourage the production of natural antibodies, boost natural killer cells and immune cells, and reduce both likelihood and duration of respiratory infections.
The probiotic Lactobacillus GG can even reduce the frequency and severity of respiratory infections by an astounding 17 per cent.
Someone can ingest probiotics with supplements, fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi, and even as a drink, such as kombucha.
Zinc is another essential nutrient in promoting immune system health.
Zinc can help our immune system fight off invading viruses and bacteria that cause disease and illness. Zinc has other amazing functions, such as making proteins and DNA, helping wounds heal, and keeping our sense of taste and smell.
Zinc is present in almost all multivitamins and dietary supplements. It's also found in several foods, such as oysters (the number-one source), red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, and more.
This list is certainly not all-inclusive, but it does highlight some of the most common helpful nutrients.
There are many other essential nutrients, such as Vitamin B6, Elderberry, Vitamin E, and more, that can boost the immune system and stave off disease and illness.
Now you know how to fight the flu in a natural, healthy way.
Our immune systems work hard day and night to keep us in tip-top shape. The least we can do is try to combat illness by boosting our immune system health.
At Medlab, we have the nutrients you need to stay well.
Click here to start browsing our immunity-building products. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter, where we notify you of any new products, as well as provide a $20-off coupon for your first order.
While you're at it, check out this article on four more tips to help you fight the flu. Stay well, Australia!
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