It’s the time of year that we need to take extra good care of our bodies and specifically the immune system. Join us in exploring herbs and nutrients available at Whole Foods Market that may offer support. Malia Curran, MS, MPH is a nutrition consultant, speaker, and mom of two young children.
The immune system is a powerful defense team nourished by specific nutrients found in food or supplement form:
- Garlic and ginger both contain compounds that can help optimize the body’s immune system.
- Vitamin C is integral for white blood cell production and healthy inflammation response in the body. Whole Foods™ brand Vitamin C 1000mg is a “sustained release” formula.
- A high-quality medicinal mushroom complex that includes shiitake, reishi, maitake and cordyceps contain polysaccharide compounds that can stimulate the body’s immune system.
- Probiotics, found in fermented foods and supplement form, can aid the body in maintaining healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut that are very important for immune system function.
Herbs and minerals provide additional benefit through their compounds or antioxidants:
- Astragalus is an herb that when used preventively may enhance the immune system through white blood cell function.
- Echinacea studies that have used the appropriate amount, species and part of the plant have shown that this herb is effective for supporting immune health.
- Elderberry extract is found in wellness syrups like Gaia Black Elderberry Nighttime Syrup and is noted for its effectiveness, as well as its great taste.
- 365 Flu Ease is a homeopathic remedy that when taken at the first sign of sickness can provide temporary relief of symptoms including fever, chills and body aches.
- Research shows the mineral zinc is a key player in healthy immune function and is needed for white blood cell production and activity.
To help maintain a healthy immune system, nutritionist Malia Curran recommends:
- Choose a combination immune support formula like Source Naturals Wellness Formula which contains garlic, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc, selenium, elderberry, echinacea, ginger and astragalus.
- Ricola drops and teas use herbs that are organically cultivated and do not contain artificial sweeteners or colors.
In addition to hand washing, there are other effective lifestyle tips that can be easily incorporated for prevention:
- Don’t forget a multivitamin to cover your bases on basic amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Make sleep an absolute priority, along with daily exercise and other types of personal stress management.