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One simple yet effective way to enhance your immune system is to take certain supplements, and, while this does not guarantee protection against the pathogen, it will at least ensure the virus comes into contact with a robust defence system.
Vitamin C is possibly the best thing you can consume if you’re looking to give your immune system a big boost.
“Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells (also known as leukocytes).
These are cells from your immune system that help to fight infectious disease and foreign invaders.
It’s a vital vitamin needed for repairing and growing tissue; it helps heal wounds, maintain healthy bones and acts as an antioxidant, fighting free radicals that can weaken the immune system.”
To top it up, consume foods rich in the nutrient, such as oranges, kiwifruit, brussels sprouts and potatoes on a daily basis, she said.
“Zinc is an immunity superhero that is often overlooked when it comes to fighting colds,” explained Murphy.
Studies have shown that zinc may help to reduce the duration of colds by up to 50 percent.”
Zinc can be found in a number of supplements.
Similarly to vitamin C, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that assists in fighting off infection.
The vitamin can be found in numerous supplements and certain foods, such as almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds and spinach.
Mushrooms have been touted as traditional medicine in Asia for thousands of years due to their well-known immune-boosting powers.
“As well as having antibacterial and antiviral properties, mushrooms also contain beta-glucans. Beta-glucans make up the mushroom cell walls and stimulate the immune system,” she said.
Most people struggle to get enough vitamin D in the winter months, which is a problem for people’s immune systems as vitamin D stimulates the production of antimicrobial proteins, which the body relies on to fight off infection..
Between October and early March people don't get enough vitamin D from sunlight so the vitamin can be found in supplements and a number of foods, including:
Iron is an essential mineral that helps to transport oxygen throughout the body that is fundamental to the growth of B cells and T cells that are a major cellular components of the adaptive immune response.
Consequently, low iron levels affect the body’s capacity to adequately protect the body from viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.