The winter is a very stressful time for many of us. School, work and the holidays are just a few of the many things that can cause us to experience stress. When you are stressed, your body secretes more cortisol and adrenaline, which are known as the stress hormones. Over time, these hormones can take a toll on your immune system. Eating the right food and making sure your body is getting essential vitamins are two ways to keep your immune system healthy.
Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc. Zinc is one of the most important immune-boosting minerals, and promotes the function of the thymus gland, which controls the entire immune system. It also increases the production and activity of infection-fighting white blood cells, and has direct anti-viral properties.’
Kiwi: Eating just two kiwi gives you around 160mg of vitamin C, which enhances our immune response by increasing the production of white blood cells and antibodies. It also increases enzymes, and strengthens connective tissue and cell membranes, making it more difficult for viruses to spread through the body and enter cells.
Cocoa: "Eating a few cocoa beans a day could give your immune system a boost," says Nina Omotoso. "But while a chocolate bar may sound tempting, it won’t provide the same benefits – there’s less cocoa and too much sugar. It’s better to stick to the raw bean. It’s rich in flavonols, a type of antioxidant that can stimulate the immune system."
Vitamin A: Found in both animal and plant sources, it supports numerous functions of immune activity, particularly against infections. Vitamin A helps activate specific genes related to immunity, offers powerful antioxidant support, helps heal inflamed mucus membranes, and supports optimal tissue repair.
Vitamin B complex: B6 and B12 help support the actions of white blood cells. B vitamins provide essential co-factors for hundreds of cellular reactions.
Vitamin C: This essential nutrient improves NK cell activity and helps fight harmful invaders. It offers powerful antioxidant support, reduces inflammation, reduces the severity of illnesses, and helps protect against infections.
- "5 Foods To Help Boost Your Immune System This Winter." Marie Claire. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.
- "Boosting Your Immune System Naturally." Examiner.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.Rodale, Maria.
- "Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity for Fall." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 05 Sept. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.