Build your Defenses: 4 Supplements to Strengthen Immunity during Cold & Flu season

— Written By

Build your defenses this cold and flu season and help your body maintain peak health. When our immune system becomes run down, our body becomes more susceptible to disease and illness. While a healthy diet, exercise, hydration and emphasis on recovery and self-care are the top priority when it comes to maintaining health, sometimes we need an extra boost! The immune system acts as your body’s first means of protection, so building up your defenses during cold and flu season is vital. To strengthen immunity, try adding these supplements to your daily regimen!


Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is infamous when it comes to defending against the common cold. While this known immune-protector is no cure, studies show regular supplementation can reduce both severity as well as duration of colds. Vitamin C is a notorious immune booster, increasing the production of white blood cells, helping to boost immunity. Vitamin C’s high antioxidant levels and role in collagen production make it vital for skin health, helping aid in tissue repair and accelerating wound healing. This water-soluble vitamin is not stored in the body, so it must be obtained through the diet or supplementation. 

 

Foods Rich in Vitamin C:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries
  • Guava
  • Pineapple
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Mango
  • Cauliflower

Health Benefits of Vitamin C 

  • Supports a healthy immune system
  • Increases iron absorption
  • Helps prevent the common cold
  • Decreases Inflammation
  • Essential for collagen production
  • Reduces Oxidative Stress
  • Anti-aging properties 
  • Supports Immune Function
  • Reduces Recovery time and increases athletic performance 

 

Slices of orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit

Vitamin D:

This immune-supporter is unique among vitamins. Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D is also considered a hormone. Along with absorbing this vitamin through food and supplements, your body is able to synthesize Vitamin D through the skin. Vitamin D comes in two forms, Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. In terms of dietary forms, Vitamin D2 mainly comes from plants whereas Vitamin D3 comes from animals. When your body synthesizes Vitamin D, the form Vitamin D3 is what is absorbed through the skin. A study published from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found Vitamin D3 is favorable in supplementation, providing evidence to support D3 is more effective in raising blood serum levels versus the D2 form. While Vitamin D is known for its ability to support strong, healthy bones, Vitamin D is vital for all parts of the body. Studies show low levels of Vitamin D are associated with increased risk for infection, illness, weakened immunity and respiratory infections, making supplementation vital for optimal health! 

 

Foods rich in Vitamin D2:

  • Mushrooms
  • Dried Shiitake mushrooms
  • UV-Exposed raw portobello mushrooms
  • UV- Exposed raw white mushrooms

 

Foods rich in Vitamin D3:

  • Egg yolk
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Fish
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Tuna

 

Other sources of Vitamin D3:

  • Sunlight! 
  • D3 Supplementation
  • Fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, butter, cheese, milk, soy, orange juice and yogurt

 

Health Benefits of Vitamin D3 

  • Supports healthy bones and prevents osteoporosis
  • Regulates immune function
  • Supports brain and mental health, helping combat depression
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Aids absorption of minerals
  • Supports healthy pregnancy 

Foods rich in Vitamin D (fish and eggs) flat lay


Glutathione:

Glutathione, also known as the “mother of all antioxidants”, is one of the most vital supplements to take when building up immunity. As the body’s master antioxidant, glutathione protects cells from oxidative stress, inhibiting inflammation and helping repair damaged cells. When glutathione levels become low, it compromises the immune system leaving the body susceptible to illness and disease. To prevent glutathione deficiency, eating a diet rich in glutathione-boosting foods and considering supplementation may be beneficial! 

 

Foods to Boost Glutathione Levels:

Sulfur rich vegetables are some of the best food sources to boost glutathione levels in the body

  • Sulfur-Rich Veggies:
  • Broccoli 
  • Kale
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Mustard Greens
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Vitamin C rich fruits high in Glutathione

Vitamin C rich foods help the body absorb glutathione. It’s important to note these must be eaten raw to get the benefits of glutathione!  

  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Avocado

Avocado toast with tomatoes


Cysteine-rich foods

Cysteine-rich foods help boost glutathione levels

  • Asparagus
  • Walnuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Red peppers
  • Yogurt
  • Egg yolks
  • Poultry

 

Health Benefits of Glutathione 

  • Powerful Antioxidant 
  • Supports the liver
  • Decreases Inflammation
  • Aids Detoxification 
  • Reduces Oxidative Stress
  • Anti-aging properties 
  • Supports Immune Function
  • Reduces Recovery time and increases athletic performance 

 

Person sautéing brussel sprouts

Zinc:

Zinc: Zinc, an essential trace mineral that provides antioxidant protection, is vital to a healthy immune system and necessary for over 300 biological functions. With age, our immune system naturally weakens, leaving our body more vulnerable to infections and illness while diminishing the chance of fighting them off. Zinc isn’t produced in the body, so it must be obtained through food or supplementation! 

 

Zinc-Rich Foods:

  • Cacao/Cocoa
  • Cashews
  • Asparagus
  • Salmon
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Watermelon Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Chicken
  • Oysters
  • Grass-fed Dairy
  • Red Meat

 

Health Benefits of Zinc

  • Supports Immune Function
  • Decreases Inflammation
  • Reduces Oxidative Stress
  • Anti-aging properties 
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • Prevents osteoporosis 
  • Regulates Hormone Function
  • Aids muscle growth and repair

Flat lay of foods rich in zinc like red meat and salmon

These four supplements are just the first step to help you boost your immunity. To stay in peak shape this cold and flu season, incorporate self-care services into your daily routine. We recommend cryotherapy, red light therapy, float therapy, and some time in the infrared sauna to keep you feeling your best. Book a treatment online today or sign-up for one of our membership packages to keep your wellness routine on track.

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