Now is the time to find ways to boost your immune system naturally.
My gut is telling me (no pun intended) that more people than not are going to start focusing more on natural health and I want to be a part of that conversation which is why I am writing this blog post.
Our current world crisis has changed us all in many ways, some good, some bad, but what I am talking about today is a change that we can all look forward to. Taking control of our health and using natural alternatives to build our immune systems will save us money, give us a better quality of life, and prevent us from having to use vaccines or other medications that might do more harm than good.
In the following paragraphs, you’ll find out how to boost your immune system naturally. I’ll give you 13 different herbs and supplements plus a few self-care practices that will help you build your immune system. But as always consult with your doctor to find the path that will work best for you and your body.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is a complex network of cells and tissues that act as our own personal defense system. This defense system works to protect us from bad pathogens like viruses, parasites, and bacteria, that would harm us and make us sick.
The immune system is spread across our entire bodies and can distinguish our tissue and cells from foreign tissues and cells. When foreign tissues or cells are found, an immune system response is activated which then fights off and removes them from our body.
This makes our immune system vital to our survival.
What makes the immune system vulnerable?
When it comes to boosting your immune system, it’s good to also understand what weakens the immune system which includes the following:
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of sleep
- Bad pathogens (bacteria or viruses that cause disease)
- Immune system disorders like AIDS and Autoimmune disease
7 signs your immune system is fighting something
The cells in your immune system are always on patrol and can immediately identify when a foreign and potentially harmful pathogen enters the body. And when this happens our immune system jumps into action quickly, fast, and in a hurry.
These are some of the common signs that your immune system is fighting hard to remove bad bacteria that are trying to make you sick:
- Swollen lymph nodes around the ears and throat
- Runny nose
- Body aches and pains
13 herbs and supplements that naturally boost your immune system
There are many herbs and supplements that will help you strengthen your immune system but it’s very important to know that these dietary supplements, although beneficial to your health, can also involve some health risks and should not be used to treat or cure any diseases.
As always, make sure to consult with your health care provider before adding any dietary supplements to your diet.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that the body does not produce or store on its own. Because of this, you must get your daily intake through the foods you eat and/or the supplements you take. Along with dietary supplements, zinc is also found in a wide variety of plant and animal foods like meat, nuts, and potatoes. It is also found in nasal sprays, lozenges, and other cold treatments.
Zinc strengthens the immune system by improving immune cell function and cell to cell communication. It also helps with DNA synthesis, wound healing, growth and development and so much more.
Adding a zinc supplement to your diet can stimulate immune cells and improve the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body.
A study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine showed that a daily supplement of zinc can reduce the length of a common cold illness by up to 33%.
While another study showed that zinc can significantly reduce the risk of infections and improve the body’s immune response in aging adults.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the proper daily dosage of zinc is 8mg for women and 11mg for men which you should be able to consume within your daily diet.
**Note: Zinc supplements should only be taken when you are actively sick.
Probiotics, not to be confused with prebiotics, are amazing in boosting your immune system. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. Bacteria is often thought of as something that causes diseases but in actuality, the body is full of bacteria, both good and bad.
Probiotics are often called “good” or “friendly” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. When you lose “good” bacteria in your body like after you take antibiotics, for example, probiotics can help replace them.
They can also help balance your “good” and “bad” bacteria to keep your body working as it should.
Probiotics can most commonly be found in dietary supplements but some foods like yogurt and saurkraut provide them as well. When taken regularly probiotics can provide many health benefits like improving heart health and reducing the severity of certain allergies. But most importantly, because they reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the gut, probiotics are a great way to naturally boost the immune system and protect against infections.
Elderberry is the fruit of the Sambucus tree which is native to North America. It has been used by Native Americans for many years because of its immune-boosting properties. Many people say that the elderberry works great in fighting off colds and the flu. And although there haven’t been many studies that prove its effectiveness, I still wanted to include it in this list because elderberries contain antioxidants, have high levels of vitamin C, and have anti-inflammatory properties. These are all things that do in fact boost the immune system naturally and increase overall health.
Some studies to note:
One study showed that the elderberry fruit reduced the severity and length of the flu.
Another study showed that elderberry extract did not prevent flu-like symptoms in travelers but symptoms experienced were less severe and lasted a shorter period of time.
Elderberries can be poisonous and should not be consumed raw. Elderberry liquid extract, capsules, lozenges, and syrups can be found commercially in some stores.
Selenium is an essential nutrient that is only needed in small amounts but plays a major role in your body. Because it acts as a powerful antioxidant, selenium prevents cell damage caused by free radicals, which in excess can damage healthy cells that are much needed in fighting off bad bacteria.
By keeping free radicals in check and preventing damage to our healthy cells, selenium reduces inflammation in the body and strengthens the immune system.
Most foods are high in selenium and therefore selenium supplements are not usually needed unless there is a selenium deficiency in the body. The best food sources for selenium are:
- Sunflower seeds
- Chicken breast
- Shitake Mushrooms
- & much more!
Turmeric Curcumin has long been praised for its anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to stop pain in its tracks. But this miracle spice also comes with several other amazing health benefits. Turmeric can help reduce depression, fight cancer, improve memory, and because it also contains antiseptic properties, it works great for disinfecting cuts and burns.
Adding turmeric to your diet is a natural way to boost your immune system because it increases the immunomodulating capacity of the body. Which is just a fancy way of saying it encourages the immune system to self regulate and achieve optimal functioning!
Turmeric can be consumed in liquid, powder, or capsule form. Research indicates that an effective daily dosage is 500-2000mg.
Echinacea is a flowering plant that has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years because of its antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties.
Studies have shown that this powerful plant also works to fight the flu, control blood sugar, manage anxiety symptoms, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.
Echinacea is commonly consumed in tea form but it is also sold in tinctures, tablets, capsules, and ointments. 2-3 servings per day are recommended to keep the immune system performing optimally and servings can be increased to 5 when you are actively sick.
Vitamins C & D
Because it’s one of the biggest immune system boosters, let’s start with Vitamin C. Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system because of its vital role in the growth and repair of tissues within the body. And because it is an antioxidant, it also keeps free radicals in balance, which as I already mentioned, is super important in keeping the immune system strong.
The body doesn’t produce vitamin C on its own and therefore must be obtained through diet or supplementation. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and spinach.
Vitamin C supplements typically come in the form of powders, capsules, or chewable, tablets. The daily dosage recommendations are 90mg for men and 75mg for women.
Vitamin D is amazing for boosting the immune system and is easily obtained because your body naturally produces it when it is directly exposed to sunlight. Getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin D is important for growth and development but also for improving the resistance to certain diseases. In other words, vitamin D is an ace for boosting the immune system!
Since vitamin D is obtained easily through sunlight no extra supplementation is needed during summer months. But in winter months or in locations where the sun is hard to access it’s a good idea to add a vitamin D supplement to your diet or increase your consumption of food rich in vitamin D.
According to the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the recommended dosages of vitamin D are 600-800 IUs for adults up to age 60 and 80 respectively.
Just like water, electrolytes are also essential to your health. Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge which helps balance the amount of water in your body and we all know how important water is to the body.
Electrolytes also help balance your ph levels, move nutrients into your cells, and move waste out of your cells. They are like the janitors of our cells which makes them uber important in building a strong immune system.
Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium are all examples of electrolytes and you get them mostly from your diet. But electrolyte drinks like Gatorade, powders, and supplements are widely available on the market.
Ginger root is a powerful plant with many immune-boosting benefits. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and has been known as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Ginger is commonly used in cooking but can be eaten raw or added to tea.
Licorice root is another herb that’s been used for thousands of years and has been known to treat a variety of illnesses. Particularly it soothes the stomach, reduces stress, and because it contains glycyrrhizic acid it is perfect for boosting the immune system naturally.
Licorice root extract is commonly marketed in liquid form but is also sold in powder form. In order to avoid unwanted side effects, like high blood pressure and muscle weakness, you should not consume more than 30mg of licorice. Be careful with this one!
This is an antioxidant that is found in plant food, animal foods, and some bacteria. It works to keep free radicals in check and reduce damage to cells which again, play an important part in defending our immune system.
Glutathione is produced naturally by the liver but glutathione supplements can be taken to boost your levels. The proper dosage for this supplement is dependent on several factors like your age, gender, and medical history. Consult with a doctor before adding this to your diet.
Along with its other benefits, garlic has been proven to boost the immune system. Compounds within garlic, once consumed, quickly convert to sulfur compounds which give it its medicinal properties. Studies show that garlic also works great for preventing colds and the flu.
For best results, it’s recommended that garlic be chewed, crushed, or sliced before consuming. Garlic supplements are also sold on the market with 600-1200mg which is the maximum recommended daily dosage for adults.
Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that is also an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. It belongs to a group of plant compounds called flavonoids which have been linked to many health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
The body does not make quercetin on its own but you can get it into your diet by eating fruits and vegetables daily. PRO TIP- Red wine contains quercetin!!
If quercetin supplements are taken, a 500mg daily dose is most common but some people can take as much as 1000mg per day.
Bonus Supplement Ginseng!!
Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal supplements in the world. It is an antioxidant that is also anti-inflammatory. Studies show that ginseng is the immune booster most people can benefit from. Ginseng can be consumed raw or added to your diet in capsule or powder form and can be taken in a dosage of 200-400mg daily.
Self Care Practices That Also Boost Immune System Naturally
Besides adding herbs and supplements to your diet there are some self care practices that you can and should also add to your daily routine to help strengthen your immune system. They are as follows:
- Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day.
- Add antioxidant-rich foods to your diet like strawberries, spinach, and kale.
- Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
Final Thoughts On How To Boost Your Immune System Naturally
Boosting your immune system naturally is more important now than ever before. Taking control of your health and doing what you can to naturally build your immune system will save you money, give you a better quality of life, and prevent you from taking addictive medications that may do more harm than good.
You can boost your immune system naturally but taking supplements and herbs that help reduce free radicals and inflammation in the body. You can also improve your daily diet by adding in antioxidant-rich foods and increasing your water intake. Don’t forget your self care either! Get plenty of sleep and limit your alcohol consumption.
Big pharma would like you to believe that you need their medications to live a healthy life, but it is possible to be healthy using only natural alternatives. Your body holds so much wisdom and is capable of brilliant things. Trust in that wisdom and your body will thank you for it!