The caveat here: Studies show that although zinc does fight infection, if you're getting enough zinc from your diet, additional zinc supplements may not be a benefit.
Most Americans are not deficient in zinc. Our diets, even as poor as they sometimes are, should supply us with all the nutrients we need.
A better approach to boosting the immune system: pay attention to your diet and boost it naturally with zinc-rich foods before an infection or flu hits.
Great food sources of zinc include meat, fish, seafood (especially oysters), liver, eggs and legumes such as peanuts.
Eat Sushi for Its Immune-Boosting Ingredients
Fish is a great supplier of zinc, and when you add seaweed (kelp) and fresh ginger, you get a mega dose of immune-boosting nutrients.
Kelp has a natural antibiotic component, helps fight infection, and boosts the immune system.
The magnesium and iron in kelp boost blood health, since they create a friendly environment for the growth of red blood cells, which in turn boost our energy and help maintain homeostasis.
Ginger is an antiviral substance. In fact it contains about 12 antiviral components. Ginger is also warming and promotes healthy sweating.
Sweating may actually help protect the body against infections, colds and the flu. Researchers found a sweat gene called dermicidin that is manufactured by the body through the sweat glands to protect the skin's surface against invaders.
If sushi is not your thing, slice some fresh ginger into a cup, pour in some hot water, add a little honey, sweat a little and enjoy a cup of immune-boosting ginger tea for a dash of dermicidin.
Herbs That Support Your Immune System
I use Pep Berry Rob, an immune-boosting herbal nectar. We all know about Echinacea, but other herbs are just as powerful, if not more.
Elderberry extract has been shown to be a great immune booster. So has rose hip.
During my childhood growing up on a small Island off the coast of Maine, Elderberry wine and rose hip jelly were used as cold and flu tonics. Both herbs are packed full of vitamin C.
Rose hip contain both vitamin C and flavonoids. The flavonoids facilitate the absorption of vitamin C.
Other herbs in addition to Echinacea, rose hip and elderberry include astragalus and sarsaparilla root. Collectively, all these herbs are chock-full of immune-boosting compounds. A dose a day may keep the doctor away.
When it comes to boosting immunity, the best course of action is moderation and balance. Our immune system is a fantastic and intelligent friend. But like all things in life, if over taxed, it must give way to stress.
Nothing compares to a healthy lifestyle for a strong immune system. A nutrient-rich diet, exercise, rest and play in the right balance is key.
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