Summer is officially over, and sadly, temperatures will continue to drop. As we head into fall and winter, you and your clients can be more susceptible to illness, colds or the flu. Nayan Patel, PharmD, has studied essential antioxidants and how to boost immunity for over two decades, and he is here to share his top five picks for immunity boosters that will help you stay healthy in the colder months.
Related: 9 Natural Ways to Boost Immunity
1. Vitamin E
This free radical fighter helps the body fight off infection and can protect cells from free radical damage. It is one of the antioxidants on the front lines of the body's defense system. Vitamin E can be found in many food staples like canola oil, olive oil, almonds, peanuts, meats, dairy, leafy greens and fortified cereals.
Zinc is vital to staying healthy and is one of the essential minerals our bodies need. It has a role in the development and the functioning of immune cells. Zinc is crucial in keeping the thymus and bone marrow functioning normally, which are responsible for generating immune cells. Zinc also promotes wound healing.
3. Glutathione (GSH)
This naturally occurring master antioxidant ensures the immune system functions properly. It fights free radicals, combating the oxidative stress that is the cause of sickness and disease. GSH levels in the body decline as we age, and they get depleted when faced with an abundance of free radicals but can be boosted with glutathione-rich foods, moderate exercise and supplements.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is perhaps the most well-known immune booster of all time. Unlike glutathione, we don’t create or replenish vitamin C in our bodies. But, it acts like glutathione in other ways: it’s an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and strengthens immune system cells. Some of the best foods nature offers are full of vitamin C, like citrus, bell peppers, strawberries and tomatoes.
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5. Vitamin B6
With the big job of producing white blood cells and T cells, which regulate immune responses, vitamin B6 is integral for keeping the immune system strong. It’s found in foods like hummus, salmon and tuna.