We can all agree that nobody likes getting sick.
And with the seasons changing ... the sniffles, cold, and flu are going to start picking up again.
Over the years, I can say I've been pretty lucky and haven't caught anything too serious. I've been in the health & fitness industry now for almost 10 years ... and I've been able to use some of the knowledge I've gained to help keep my immune system strong.
It's your immune system that helps fight off the germs that make us sick, and I've learned that through lifestyle & supplementation ... you can keep yourself very healthy, no matter what time of year it is or what might be going around.
To help you feel your best this season, I'm going to share with you some of those lifestyle factors ... and the 5 best supplements that can help support your immune health.
But first ... let's take a quick look at what your immune system is.
What Is Your Immune System?
It's your protection against disease, sickness, germs, and infection.
Literally ... the word "immune" means protected. The stronger your immune system ... the better your protection from illness. Think of your immune system as an army of cells who's only job is to protect you from harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites ... and much more.
Being able to properly fight off the germs & bacteria you encounter in your daily life is very important to your overall health. The stronger your immune system, the better your quality of life will be.
How Can You Strengthen & Support Your Immune System?
There're many ways to promote a healthy and strong immune system.
Like almost anything health & wellness related ... it starts with your lifestyle!
The most important lifestyle factors that influence your immune health include:
- Eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet (high protein, fruits, and veggies)
- Exercising & moving your body (at least 30 minutes per day)
- Limiting alcohol (drinking responsibly & not going overboard)
- Improving your gut health (roughly 70-80% of your immune cells are found in your gut)
- Staying hydrated (aiming for 100-120oz of water per day)
- Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours per night)
...and any other factor that's part of a healthy lifestyle will have a positive effect on your immune health.
Now, if you're anything like me ... you're certainly not perfect when it comes to practicing these healthy lifestyle habits. I try my best ... but it's not easy.
That's where immune-support supplements come into play. These have been a part of my routine for a long time, and I can promise you ... they work.
And they work because no one is perfect when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle ... and these supplements help fill the gaps where you fall short in your everyday life.
The 5 best immune-support supplements include:
1) Vitamin C - One of the first that comes to mind for most people when talking about avoiding sickness ... and one of the most effective. It's common to be low in vitamin C because it's hard to absorb the forms that are found in food. Not only that ... but most people aren't eating enough vitamin-rich foods either way. I fall into this category myself, and it's why I started adding vitamin C to my daily regimen.
Vitamin C helps fight infection, shortens the time you're sick if you've already caught something ... and boosts your overall immune health.
2) Vitamin D - Also known as the sunshine vitamin because you use sunlight to make it. That's a big reason why it's such an important supplement ... especially this time of year. We don't get nearly as much direct sun exposure in the colder months. Vitamin D is crucial to a healthy immune system ... and low levels of vitamin D lead to unwanted sickness & poor health overall.
Vitamin D helps fuel the production of immune cells ... and plays a role in fighting off the damaging inflammatory issues that come with most types of illness.
It's a supplement I don't go a day without. The best part ... you can get vitamin D supplements for as little as $10.
3) Multivitamin - A multivitamin gives your body all the micronutrients it needs to function properly ... and this includes supporting your immune system. Your body uses micronutrients for everything, including fighting off sickness & infections. It's nearly impossible to get all the micronutrients you need through diet alone ... and that's where a multivitamin supplement comes into play.
This is also a daily staple of mine ... because I know I'm not getting what I need through my diet to keep me feeling my best.
4) Phytonutrient Powders - These will sometimes be referred to as greens and/or reds supplements. They provide your body with phytonutrients, which typically come from fruits & veggies. Now ... I know I don't eat enough fruits & veggies. In fact, only about 1 in 10 people even come close to doing so. Phytonutrients provide important antioxidants that help fight off illness & infection.
These supplements can provide a potent boost to your immune system ... and that goes back to the fact that almost all of us are lacking in phytonutrients.
5) Probiotics - I mentioned how 70-80% of your immune cells can be found in your gut ... and probiotics are healthy bacteria that improve the health of your gut. A healthier gut means a stronger immune system.
You can certainly get probiotics through your diet ... but they're found in what I would say is not the most appetizing of foods for most people. Supplementing with them is much easier ... and allows you to reap the benefits when it comes to boosting your immune system.
These are the 5 main supplements to consider when looking to support your immune health.
But if you're someone who already uses these products & also lives a healthy lifestyle, and still find yourself feeling under the weather consistently ... consider throwing in one these as well:
- Folic Acid
These have also been shown to have positive effects on your immune system and you can even find them added to other immune-boosting products ... like vitamin C, phytonutrient powders, multivitamins, etc.
Even though you now have a better understanding of what you should do to stay as healthy as you can this time of year ... it's still tough.
But ... that's where we can help! If you stop into your nearest Supplement Superstores location ... our Sports Nutrition Specialists will be more than happy to set you up on a plan to keep you looking & feeling your best.
*This article was written by Andrew Lynn, who has a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. He is also a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.