Boosting your immune system: Naturally VS supplements

As all of us wait for a COVID-19 vaccine and recognize the onset of flu…

As all of us wait for a COVID-19 vaccine and recognize the onset of flu season, many wonder if there is a way to “boost” their immune system now.

Taking vitamins and supplements may help but doctors say it’s better to get the vitamins and minerals naturally from a healthy diet.

Community wellness centers like Bama Health Foods in Birmingham have noticed an increase in people coming in asking about ways to boost their immune system.

“Everybody is asking for elderberry, that is one of the biggest things we get asked about,” Bama Health Food’s lead wellness advocate, Lauren Kirkland said.

Kirkland says there are supplements you can take.

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“Iodine and colloidal silver I would say is the two biggest single things we can do for our immune system,” she said.

However, your diet is key

“Following like a plant based diet or eating regime is going to give you the vitamins, minerals that our bodies thrive off of,” Kirkland said, “so avoiding the man made food in a box and trying to go more for the things that come out of a garden.”

Jefferson County Health Department’s, Deputy Health Officer, Dr. David Hicks says there are simple everyday things you can do.

“Physical exercise and making sure your body is active and you’re maintaining a healthy weight is important,” he said.

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Hicks says a balanced diet with Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc in the food you eat, will naturally boost your immune system.

“So fruits and vegetables naturally have Vitamin C in them,” he said, “with Vitamin D besides getting it from natural sunlight, you also can get Vitamin D from milk products and seafood. You also can get Zinc from seafood, lean meats, nuts, seeds.”

He says staying hydrated and getting an adaqaute amount of sleep also help naturally boost your immune system.