The immune system is a complex collection of organs, cells, antibodies, and other chemicals that work together to protect and defend you from foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. To handle the important task of being your defender, a lot of activity takes place, especially during certain times of the year.
Every single day the immune system produces 10 billion new white blood cells, which are very important to immune function.1 And that’s just one aspect of immune activity. How does such a complex, active, and vast system function properly? With nutrition.
Best Foods for Immune Health
Foods contain nutrients such as vitamins A, E, D, and C, which are known to help support immune health on a cellular level which includes neutrophils, T-cells, natural killer cells, and those important white blood cells.2 Foods high in vitamin C and other immune-supporting nutrients that have been shown to support immune health include fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.3
Edible mushrooms such as reishi and shiitake have also been shown to support immune health.4 Garlic contains a compound known as allicin which has also been shown to be a powerful way to support immune health.5
Best Vitamins for Immune System Health
Sometimes it can be difficult to get all the immune-supporting vitamins and nutrients needed from diet alone to defend yourself. That’s where dietary supplements can help, beginning with vitamin C. Vitamin C has a long history of playing a key role in supporting immunity because it is an important antioxidant that can help support B and T cell production, as well as other immune system functions.6
Vitamin C also has synergistic effects when combined with other immune-supporting substances such as mushrooms, garlic, astragalus, propolis, and elderberry. A 2016 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial featuring more than 300 international air travelers found that taking an elderberry extract was effective at supporting the immune system.7 Propolis is the sticky material that bees gather from different plants, and it has been shown to also have antioxidant and immune-supporting properties.8 Astragalus is an important extract that has a long history of use in supporting the immune system on many different levels.9
Vitamin C and More!
A healthy immune system is key to seasonal wellness. To support your immune system, especially during seasonal times, eat a diet that contains lots of fresh whole foods such as colorful fruits and vegetables. For added support, consider taking a dietary supplement that combines vitamin C with other immune-supporting nutrients such as elderberry, astragalus, mushrooms, garlic, and propolis. KAL Defender C™ tablets feature all these together for a well-rounded immune support formula to help reinforce your immune system’s defense.
- Lytal C. How the body balances its immune system. USC News. 2018;May 30. https://news.usc.edu/143798/how-the-body-balances-its-immune-system/
- Vishwakarma S, Panigrahi C, Barua S, Sahoo M, Mandliya S. Food nutrients as inherent sources of immunomodulation during COVID-19 pandemic. Lebensm Wiss Technol. 2022;158. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8801482/?report=reader
- Calder PC. Foods to deliver immune-supporting nutrients. Curr Opin Food Sci. 2022;43:136-145. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8702655/?report=reader
- Valverde ME, Hernández-Pérez T, Paredes-López O. Edible mushrooms: improving human health and promoting quality life. Int J Microbiol. 2015;2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4320875/?report=reader
- Arreola R, Quintero-Fabián S, López-Roa RI, et al. Immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic compounds. J Immunol Res. 2015;2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4417560/?report=reader
- Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/?report=reader
- Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4):182. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848651/?report=reader
- Pahlavani N, Malekahmadi M, Firouzi S, et al. Molecular and cellular mechanisms of the effects of propolis in inflammation, oxidative stress and glycemic control in chronic diseases. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2020;17. https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-020-00485-5
- Zheng Y, Ren W, Zhang L, Zhang Y, Liu D, Liu Y. A Review of the Pharmacological Action of Astragalus Polysaccharide. Front Pharmacol. 2020;11:349. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7105737/?report=reader