When the nights draw in and the temperature starts to drop, it’s a great time to make sure you give your immunity a welcome boost this winter. By ensuring your immunity is well boosted, you are ensuring you avoid as many of the ‘winter nasties’ as possible and stay fighting fit and full of energy! So, to give you a head start, here are our top five immunity-boosting supplements:
This is vital for all round health due to being one of your main antioxidants. It is especially important to keep your disease-fighting white blood cells active. Essentially vitamin C helps to build up immunity and resistance to viruses. It also kills off colds and viruses in the body, and mops up inflammatory chemicals that are produced during infections.
Excellent sources of Vitamin C include fresh veg and fruit (especially citrus fruits like oranges). Some of the best of these sources are blackcurrants, green peppers and mango. Cooking, heat and light all destroy Vitamin C. So, a high quality, decent dose supplement is a great way to make sure your Vitamin C levels are at their best and keeping you healthy.
This essential mineral is also a powerful antioxidant and is often found as a supplement combined with Vitamin C. It plays a vital role in your immune system by helping antibodies to fight infection owing to its excellent antioxidant properties.
Zinc supplements come in many forms. When looking for an individual supplement it is important to choose the right one to ensure you are getting the best absorption (and it is benefitting you as much as possible). Our favourites are zinc picolinate, zinc citrate or zinc aspartate – these are all easily absorbed and gentle on your stomach. For the treatment of colds, you can also look for lozenges containing zinc gluconate, ascorbate or glycinate.
Rich dietary sources of zinc include oysters, steak, wheatgerm, pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts.
Vitamin B5 (also known as Pantothenic Acid)
This vital vitamin is highly beneficial in boosting your immune system. It is necessary to produce antibodies, the proteins in the blood which irradiate foreign substances. So it helps fight off colds and viral infections.
Great sources of Pantothenic Acid include brewers’ yeast, nuts, whole grains and eggs. Cooking and preserving these foods can destroy Vitamin B5. So, we recommend supplementing and you will usually find great sources of Vitamin B5 in good quality Vitamin B Complex Supplements.
Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin or Cyanocobalamin)
An essential vitamin that many people with a restricted diet can get very low in, it is essential for the production of red blood cells. It is commonly used to improve conditions that require a boost to energy levels. It is also involved in the production of the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin that affect mood and sleep patterns.
Not found in high quantities outside of animal sources (although many non-dairy milk-alternatives are now fortified with this and Vitamin D), it is found in liver, beef, pork, white fish, eggs, yeast extract, milk, fortified cereals and non-dairy milks. One egg will supply with your recommended daily allowance.
As a supplement B12 comes in synthetic form (Cyanocobalamin – a cheaper version as more readily mass produced), and as a natural form (Methylcobalamin – more expensive, but much more readily taken up by your body). As always, when it comes to getting the best from your supplement, good quality is absolutely vital.
This is one of the most well-known natural and powerful immune system boosters. It helps to kill bacteria and viruses by stimulating the immune system cells that are your body’s key defence against infection. Additionally, it increases cells’ production of a chemical called interferon, which is a key player in the fight against viruses.
Echinacea is most effective when taken regularly at the first signs of illness, used in this way it helps your body fight off the cold before it takes hold. However, if you start to take it when you already have a cold it will still help to ease the symptoms and support your body to get rid of the virus sooner.
It is advisable to only take Echinacea when needed, as it starts to lose its efficiency if taken for long periods of time. Keep it to hand and use it when you start to feel that cold coming on. It is available as a supplement in capsule, tablet or tincture form (the tincture being most readily absorbable form) and as herbal tea.
These are our top 5 immunity boosting supplements this winter. However, they are not the ONLY supplements that operate to support your immune system. You may also want to look into other vitamins and minerals such as selenium, copper, magnesium, vitamin E, and co-enzyme Q10.
To give yourself a boost if you start to feel run down, or if your immune system needs a little more support, you can always try adding a multi vitamin and mineral supplement. These would normally contain a broad spectrum of these vitamins and minerals. Of course, it goes without saying that eating a well balanced and healthy will also help to keep you fighting fit!
This winter, we think that our top 5 immune boosting supplements, together with a diet rich in plant-based health and deliciousness, is a great way for you to get all the goodness and immunity that you need to stay tip top this winter.
Stay well and happy beautiful one, lots of love,
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