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  • Writer's pictureJill Fierro

Boost Your Immune System Naturally!

Did you know that there are things you can do right now to potentially boost your immune system? Many people are now at home with a complete disruption of day to day routines because of Covid 19. Many are looking for the best way to keep themselves and their family healthy. The information provided is not intended to treat the Covid 19 virus nor protect you from contracting the Covid 19 virus, however, we know that certain behaviors (as well as vitamins and minerals) do indeed boost the immune system and can shorten the duration of some viral infections. So, let's take a look at what nature has provided us, how they work, and how we can incorporate them into our diet with the food we choose to eat or the supplements we choose to take.

Vitamin D has been in the news lately for its immune boosting properties. Here at Allied we recommend Vitamin D3 specifically to all patients, friends, family, and pretty much anyone who will listen. Vitamin D works by enhancing the function of your white blood cells and reduces inflammation, which helps to promote your immune response. Vitamin D has been studied extensively and found to be significantly beneficial for people with respiratory infections as well as viral infections including hepatitis. To boost your Vitamin D level try to get 20 minutes a day of sunshine and eat foods including: fatty fish, dairy products fortified with Vitamin D, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and mushrooms, or add Vitamin D with a daily capsule.

Vitamin C is vital for immune health. Vitamin C supports your immunity by enhancing your immune cells and promoting cellular turnover. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps protect your body from oxidative stress as well as reducing inflammation. Vitamin C has demonstrated the ability to shorten the duration and severity of illnesses from the common cold to upper respiratory infections. It is even given intravenously at times to help with multiple illnesses including acute respiratory distress syndrome. Popular sources of Vitamin C are fruits and vegetables. Many people don’t realize that ½ of a raw red pepper has 25 more milligrams of Vitamin C than an entire orange.

Zinc is a necessary trace element needed for development of immune cells. Zinc controls and regulates the immune response specifically in the activation of our T cells which are responsible for attacking infected cells. Zinc has been studied and found to reduce the severity of the common cold and upper respiratory infections. Too much Zinc, however, can result in impaired copper absorption which could increase your risk of infection. Current recommendations are not to exceed 40mg a day in healthy adults and doses vary for children and people who are ill with infection. To add Zinc into your diet eat: oysters, red meat, poultry (chicken and turkey), baked beans, chickpeas, and nuts.

A little extra. In addition to the aforementioned foods and food groups here are a few more that have been studied to be beneficial for your immune system by being full of antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation and improve lung health: apples, leafy greens, garlic, onion, ginger, salmon, turmeric, and bananas.

We at Allied encourage everyone to wash your hands frequently, eat as healthy as possible, stay active during the day, and sleep well at night. When used together, good hygiene, proper nutrition, exercise, and rest can be our best defense against illness.

From the Hearts & Minds of Jill Fierro & Sarah Cordova (Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioners)

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