3 ways to boost your immune system

Health Desk
8 September 2020, Tue
Published: 09:26

3 ways to boost your immune system

We are giving you 6 simple ways to boost your immune system, because a strong immune system is your best insurance policy against the cold and flu!

The most powerful immune boosters through diet are:

= Vitamin C is the most immune-promoting of all nutrients and can be found in broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, strawberries, citrus, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens, kiwi, parsley, etc.

= Vitamin D also supports the immune system and is often low in winter. Good sources are egg yolks, liver, cold water fish (and sunshine of course).

= Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Good vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, avocado, asparagus, olives, spinach, tomato, broccoli, peach, and prunes.

= B12 and B6, present in nuts, seeds, dairy, fish, meat, poultry, avocado, banana

= High-quality protein, essential for healing and repair and found in organic meat, cheese, eggs, dairy, fish, nuts, seeds, quinoa, lentils, beans, etc.

= Zinc is critical to immune function and helps prevent and relieve the common cold. It’s especially high in oysters, and can also be found in crab, grass-fed and organic beef, calf’s liver, sesame and pumpkin seeds.

= Selenium is another natural immune booster and is especially high in brazil nuts – 3 to 4 unshelled nuts have all the selenium one needs per day. Other great sources are crimini mushrooms, garlic, cod, shrimp, tuna, halibut, salmon, scallops, chicken, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, lamb, and turkey.

= Healthy fats: small amounts at each meal found in nuts, seeds and their oils, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, olives, fatty fish, grass-fed butter

= Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has a proven effect on strengthening the immune system, and has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral qualities

= Fermented foods: sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, yoghurt, kefir, tempeh. These contain probiotics, or “good” bacteria, which help strengthen the immune system.

Medicinal mushrooms like shiitake, reishi, and maitake

= In winter I recommend supplementing, depending on your individual nutrient deficiencies of course. Below are a few immunity-supporting supplements to consider (always check with your GP or nutrition counsellor before taking supplements):

= Vitamin C: prefer whole-food sources such as acerola berries

= Zinc: prefer glycinate or picolinate for optimal absorption

= Vitamin D: best sources are vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) or fish liver oil

= Probiotics: such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, have proven positive effects on our immune health. Definitely to be taken right after a course of antibiotics.

= Echinacea: is quite effective to combat colds and flu. It’s important though to take breaks to optimize its efficiency, so take for 3 weeks and rest one week.

1.     Avoid or limit these immune suppressors 


Refined carbohydrates, white pasta, white bread, white rice, white flour, pastries, etc.

Reactive foods or foods to which you’re intolerant or allergic

Trans fats and damaged fats in fried foods, rancid oils, and packaged foods

Alcohol & tobacco

Toxins found in non-organic food (link), household products, tap water, personal care products, etc.

2.     Drink water

Drink lots and lots of water, especially when you’re combating an illness. It keeps all your cells in shape and literally helps flush out toxins, waste, and debris.

3.     Sleep…

I know, that’s a tricky one for many parents. But one to keep in mind because evidence shows that a good night’s sleep boosts our immune system. So benefit from the shorter days to get yourself and your kids to bed early.