In addition to a diet comprised of whole foods with plenty of vegetables and fruits, there are some key nutrients that can support your immune system, particularly during the winter months.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is not produced by our bodies and can only be obtained through sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem and particularly during the winter months, many people do not get enough vitamin D. The body needs vitamin D to stimulate the immune system and to fight off illness. Vitamin D3 is the form that is best absorbed.
Vitamin C is a popular supplement aimed at preventing and shortening the duration of colds and the flu. During the winter months we may have a reduced intake of fruits and vegetables, the foods that are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for tissue growth and repair, and for healthy teeth and bones. Vitamin C is a known antioxidant, which helps to fight off disease-producing free radicals in the body.
This important mineral is necessary for many bodily processes including wound healing and skin health, immune support, vision, neurological function, and reproduction. Oral supplementation of zinc has been shown to reverse presenting symptoms linked to its deficiency. Additionally, supplementing with zinc at the beginning of an illness has been shown to lessen the severity of symptoms or reduce the duration of illness.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help to support a healthy gastrointestinal tract and immune system. Diet choices, medication history, stress, and other factors can impact the body’s level of healthy bacteria. Supplementing with probiotics can support the immune system. Some studies have shown the role of probiotics in reducing colds and their severity.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another nutrient that many individuals are deficient in are Essential Fatty Acids, particularly Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is often void of this important nutrient, and supplementation is an important consideration. Fish oil supplements are a common way of adding Omega-3’s to the diet. Mood, focus, and immune support are just a few of the important benefits provided by Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids.
While there is no replacement for a healthy diet, there is often a need to consider dietary supplementation to optimally support the immune system and overall bodily function. Winter is upon us, and it is a good idea to boost the immune system to ward off illness and strive to maintain good health.