Your immune system is like a military, working to identify and destroy invaders such as bacteria and viruses that can make you sick. It is the body defense system that is made up of two main parts. The innate immune system and the adaptive or acquired immune system. The innate is what you are born with at birth and is the first to react. The adaptive immunity is what we acquired after being exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other toxins.
Although there are different ways to overcome cold and flu, the coronavirus may weaken your immune system further making it difficult to fight other viruses and bacteria.
Here are minerals and vitamins that can help boost your immune system against the coronavirus and throughout the cold and flu season.
Zinc is an essential mineral needed for immune cell development and inflammatory responses
A deficiency will affect your immune function, increasing the risk of disease and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
Zinc may also reduce the duration of cold and flu (1).
Food sources of zinc include:
- Green peas
- Lima beans
- Lentil sprouts
- Beet greens
- Sweet corn.
- Rose hips
- Milk thistle
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your body against oxidative stress damage, thus boosting your immune system.
According to studies, vitamin C may reduce the severity and duration of common cold
Food sources include leafy greens, tomatoes, citrus fruits, bell peppers, kiwis, and Brussels sprouts
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)
It’s a semi-essential amino acid but can become essential in the presence of low methionine and serine.
It replenishes glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant that boosts immune functions and neutralizes free radicals that can cause cell and tissue damage (3).
Other foods and herbs that can help improve your immune system include ginger, garlic, elderberry, Echinacea, citrus fruits, and turmeric, to name but a few.
A robust immune system is essential to fight against cold and flu during the pandemic. And the best and healthiest way to boost your immune function is through natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in natural plant foods and herbs.
Hemilä H. (2017). Zinc lozenges and the common cold: a meta-analysis comparing zinc acetate and zinc gluconate, and the role of zinc dosage. JRSM open, 8(5), 2054270417694291. https://doi.org/10.1177/2054270417694291
Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9111211
Ghezzi P. (2011). Role of glutathione in immunity and inflammation in the lung. International journal of general medicine, 4, 105–113. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S15618