Having a healthy immune system is crucial to survival.
Immunity is your body’s main natural protection system, and it carries out two primary functions – defense and tolerance.
Your immune system defends against bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other potential troublemakers.
It also regulates your level of tolerance to potential environmental triggers, such as allergens like pollen, spores from molds or other fungi, pet dander, bee stings, and grasses. These allergens also can include a huge range of foods, such as: wheat and other gluten-bearing grains, dairy, egg, yeast, peanuts and certain other nuts, soy, corn, tomato and other nightshades, crustaceans and other seafoods.
When your immune system performs these two functions optimally, it helps keep you healthy. However, when your defenses don’t do their job properly, or your body’s tolerance level becomes weakened or overwhelmed, it makes you more vulnerable to infections and autoimmune issues, and increases your risk for psychological or emotional problems.
Your immune system performs its important mission by:
- Posting “sentry” cells in all your tissues to identify threats and issue early warnings
- Mobilizing a variety of white blood cells to attack these harmful agents
- Producing antibodies and other tools to mark the offending agents
- Going on the attack to engage and eradicate the tagged agents
- Establishing long-term “immune memory” to recall troublemakers that return
Immune System Basics
The gut is the main route of entry for potential threats from the external environment. It’s continually bombarded by troublesome microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, certain yeasts) or toxic substances. In addition to helping with digestion and housing friendly bacteria that support healthy brain and body functions, the gut also is a huge contributor to immunity.
The lining of the gut carries immune early warning cells that constantly sample the gut contents. By some estimates, 70-80% of your immune system resides in your gut. This has led many to believe that immunity starts in your gut.
The healthy gut lining is tightly sealed, to block harmful microorganisms or poorly-digested, allergenic food particles from getting into the circulating blood. When this seal is loosened (“leaky gut”), such harmful agents can enter the bloodstream and be transported to the brain and other organs, potentially leading to serious, long-term consequences.
Since probiotic bacteria help keep the gut lining tightly sealed, it’s vital to maintain and even increase the levels of good bacteria in the gut. Research has also documented the beneficial effects of probiotics in supporting the immune system. Scientifically designed probiotic supplements can provide bacterial strains proven to positively influence the microorganism balance in the gut and boost your immunity.
Due to the current health crisis, many people are laser-focused on the health of their immune system. Some have turned to unhealthy means of boosting their immune system. However, there are scientifically proven ways to naturally support your immunity.
Here are some of the best foods and supplements to help boost your immune system…
Best Natural Immune Boosting Foods & Supplements
When considering the best foods to boost your immune system, you may think of foods that are high in vitamin C. While it’s true that vitamin C is very important for your body’s immune health, there are other nutrients you should consider as well.
It’s important to strengthen your immune system by helping it respond to the germs and pathogens it may encounter. Striking the right balance with your immune response may be a key to your long-term health.
Proper nutrition can provide your body with many of the components it needs to prevent and fight illness. Here are just a few immune-boosting foods you should include in your diet…
Garlic contains compounds, like allicin, that the body can metabolically transform to antioxidants that help support the immune system. Garlic is well-known for its warming properties, as are its close relatives – onion, shallot, leek, and chives. Research shows that garlic enhances thermogenesis (the body’s process of metabolizing a substance or nutrient to produce heat).
Spinach has vitamin C and a small amount of zinc. Deficiency of both vitamin C and zinc has been linked to weak immune response, which may prolong the recovery process for those with a cold or flu. This leafy green is also a good source of fiber, which your good gut bacteria use as a major energy source.
Fatty fish from cold waters are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s regulate a healthy inflammatory response in the body, which is important for maintaining strong immunity.
Salmon is rich in vitamin E and astaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from potentially harmful free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive substances because they are unstable, and can be a particular threat to immune cells and tissues.
Free radicals can be generated in the skin from excessive exposure to UV light from the sun or from pollutants in the air, but the body also produces them. The mitochondria in all our cells use oxygen to generate our life energy, but this same process also generates highly reactive oxygen free radicals.
Consuming salmon, and other wild-caught, cold-water fatty fish also provides an array of important vitamins and minerals along with high-quality protein, all of which have significant immune-supporting benefits.
Berries are one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants in the plant kingdom. In general, the greater the variety of berries you eat, the broader the antioxidant protection you’ll have.
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all high in antioxidants. The acerola cherry is loaded with vitamin C.
The antioxidants in these berries help shield the brain and body against oxidative stress. These antioxidants provide valuable protection against toxic pollutants and other harmful agents.
Mushrooms offer a bounty of health benefits. Whatever variety you choose as foods – shiitake, maitake, lion’s mane, enoki, oyster, or agaricus – mushrooms are a great immunity booster and can add many nutrients to your diet.
Mushrooms contain beta-glucans (a special category of large, branching, complex carbohydrates) that don’t affect blood sugar but remarkably enhance the immune system’s alertness against invaders. Beta-glucans are also fiber that probiotics can feed on. Mushrooms are rich in protein and can provide ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that doesn’t get destroyed during the cooking process and may enhance immunity.
Here are some other immune-supporting foods to add to your diet:
- Omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA are most abundant in salmon, tuna, and mackerel; plant sources like nuts and flaxseed oil provide smaller omega-3 molecules that some people can’t effectively convert to EPA or DHA
- Zinc-rich foods – like oysters, shellfish (crab, shrimp, and mussels), lean meats and poultry, legumes (lentils and chickpeas)
- Selenium-rich foods – such as tuna, halibut, sardines, turkey, chicken, or cottage cheese
- Vitamin C-rich foods – like bell peppers, kiwifruit, strawberries, papaya, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, mango, and citrus fruits
- Vitamin E-rich foods – including almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds
Eating a healthy diet is central to supporting overall physical and mental well-being. While no single food can magically fend off illness, regular consumption of these nutrient-dense foods can help shore up your body’s natural immune defenses.
Top 3 Immunity Supplements to Take
Your immune system is largely composed of mobile single cells that need increased levels of vitamins and essential minerals, along with other key nutrients, to maintain their high level of activity. High fiber intakes from foods also support healthy probiotic balance in your intestinal tract.
Support your body’s natural defenses with these 3 doctor-formulated nutraceuticals designed to promote a healthy and balanced immune system.
ProBrainBiotics is the best-selling probiotic that supports your brain and gut health. The combination of bacterial strains used in this formula is the same as those proven beneficial in two double-blind clinical trials. By providing the clinically-proven level of 3 billion CFU (colony-forming units, representing the numbers of live probiotic bacteria), ProBrainBiotics helps to promote healthy digestion, positive mood, and increased composure in dealing with everyday stress.
These powerful strains:
- Help repel harmful bacteria
- Help maintain the tight seal of the gut lining to prevent leaky gut
- Survive passing through the stomach with its gauntlet of acids, to reach the intestines and take up residence there
- Support healthy gut immune functions
In the trials, these probiotic strains were found to improve intestinal discomfort related to stress. They were also found to measurably promote a healthy mood and assist in coping with occasional anxiety.
Functional Mushroom Powder
Smart Mushrooms is firmly grounded in the most recent clinical and scientific research on medicinal mushrooms. It includes six mushrooms that have been revered for hundreds to thousands of years. All six are highly nutritious, and together they offer a broad spectrum of health benefits.
The mushrooms in this formula are high in protein and fiber, low in calories and sodium, and contribute many vitamins and minerals to the diet. They provide high allowances of beta-glucans, unique fibers that can enhance immunity, provide antioxidant benefits, and promote healthy gut microbial balance. These mushrooms are functional foods for the brain and entire body.
Here are the 6 potent mushrooms in Smart Mushrooms:
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) – The beta-glucans in lion’s mane mushrooms support immune health, and its content of hericenones and erinacines can increase nerve growth factor in the brain. This substance promotes healthy activity and adaptability of the brain’s all-important acetylcholine transmitter system.
Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor, also known as Coriolus versicolor) – Provides protein-bound glucan polysaccharides, intensively researched in Japan and China for their immune benefits.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) – Fights fatigue, supports immunity, helps counter stress, and benefits blood flow and oxygen utilization.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) – In addition to beta-glucans, reishi contains triterpenes, which contribute to its benefits for immunity and healthy inflammatory response.
Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) – Shiitake promotes healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels already within normal range, and provides lentinan, a beta-glucan well studied for its immunity benefits.
Agaricus (Agaricus blazei) – Offers a variety of glucans with immune benefits, and supports healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and liver functions.
Liposomal Vitamin C
A breakthrough nutraceutical formula, Neuro-C was scientifically designed to promote advanced brain and immune defense. A versatile and powerful nutrient that provides major antioxidant defense, vitamin C is crucial for the body’s structural integrity, the brain’s neurotransmitter activity, immune cell mobility, a healthy circulation, improved skin quality, and overall well-being.
Much of our immune system consists of mobile single cells that circulate with the blood or patrol our tissues looking for hostile invaders. They need high levels of vitamin C to power their movements. Without enough C, they can’t efficiently do their job.
Also, many of the circulating immune cells produce highly toxic free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses, or other harmful germs and need internal C to protect them against self-destruction. The “solid” tissues of the immune system also need C for optimal function.
The specific liposomes used in Neuro-C were shown to be an effective molecular vehicle for increasing vitamin C levels in the blood. Neuro-C delivers vitamin C more efficiently than tablets, capsules, or powders. As a liquid supplement, Neuro-C doesn’t have the powdery or tart taste of many vitamin C tablets or chewables.
Make Immunity a Priority
Nutrition is key to boosting your immune system in these challenging times.
Optimizing your nutrient intake, by consuming fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods, can provide your body with the tools it needs to effectively fight illness. Taking high-purity dietary supplements is also an excellent way to bolster your immunity.
Boosting your body’s immunity, with these natural foods and supplements, can help you defend against the harmful effects of bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted invaders.
Here’s to your health!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients and standardized herbal ingredients to support your immunity and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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