Foods & Supplements:
Some foods are known to enhance immune function and increase resistance to infection. Several important ones are listed here.
Based on modern research there are many vitamins and minerals that play a role in a healthy immune response. For improving immune function and “barrier tissue” health I recommend taking a high quality multiple vitamin-mineral complex (it is important to choose those that are clean, properly formulated, and have good quality control practices). Some extra amounts of a few things that are especially important can be added.
MANUKA HONEY: Unfiltered, raw honey is recognized for its antimicrobial properties and research has shown that Manuka honey from New Zealand is especially effective and is high in anti-oxidants. Use it in herbal teas and other hot drinks, on toast or take a small spoonful.
FOODS HIGH IN CAROTENOIDS: Carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, squash, yams, mangos and many other red, orange and yellow vegetables and fruits.
DARK LEAFY GREENS: Kale, Spinach and Chard; they’re great added to soups.
FERMENTED FOODS: Raw Fermented Sauerkraut, Miso soup (anti-inflammatory, immune enhancing, packed with nutrients).
QUALITY PROBIOTICS: Bacillus Indicus, and B.Subtilus
VITAMIN D: I recommend 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily for general use and up to 4000 IU per day to help increase resistance, less for children. Vitamin D3 has shown to be effective in reducing susceptibility to the flu. Taking 10,000 IU’s for three days during the early stages of bronchitis or pneumonia is very helpful to shorten the duration of infection.
SELENIUM & ZINC: Both are important for proper immunity and resistance to disease as well as many other functions. Proper guidance is important given that high doses taken for long periods of time may cause problems. For short term use, 200 micrograms of selenium and 20-50 mg of zinc per day are recommended to prevent and treat infections.
HERBAL TEAS: Such as Yogi Tea: Ginger/Lemon, Echinacea Immune Support, Throat Comfort, etc.
BERRIES: Dark red and blueberries, especially wild or organic, have large amounts of flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins which are important for circulatory health and immune function.
SPICES, GINGER, GARLIC, & ONION: Are recognized for their ability to increase resistance to infections, use them liberally, raw and cooked. Many spices are known to improve immunity and reduce inflammation. Some important ones include turmeric (also available as a supplement), ginger, cayenne pepper, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, cardamom and cumin. Most spices must be cooked in oil in order to release their active ingredients, and to enhance absorption in the intestines.
MULTIVITAMINS: High quality multiple vitamin-mineral supplements.
VITAMIN C + BIOFLAVONOIDS: These are found in abundance in many fruits and to a lesser extent in vegetables. Take 1000mg of Vitamin C 2-3 times per day to increase immune resistance and treat infections. Related Articles: