COVID-19 has scared a lot of people into taking vitamin D supplements and incorporating plenty of vitamin C into their diet. It’s always important to take care of your body and eat certain foods that will boost your immune system. Here a few vital steps to take to ensure that your immune system is functioning at its highest level.

Vitamin D

Woman sitting on a trail in the sunshine
Woman sitting on a trail in the sunshine

Vitamin D is a hormone and it is in nearly all cells and tissues in the human body. It regulates up to 200 genes. Sunshine is the best way to receive vitamin D, but you can also eat mushrooms, which are rich in vitamin D. This hormone boosts thyroid function, repairs DNA, prevents anxiety and depression, is essential for neuromuscular function, and enhances the immune system. It also contributes to bone health, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and helps with concentration, learning, and memory

Elderberry

Jar of elderberry juice next to some elderberries
Jar of elderberry juice next to some elderberries

Elderberry is filled with antioxidants and vitamins that ease cold and flu symptoms, and enhance the immune system by boosting the production of cytokines. It also decreases stress and inflammation. You can purchase it in tea or syrup form.

Citrus Fruit

Sliced citrus fruit on a table
Sliced citrus fruit on a table

Mangoes, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are known to increase the production of white blood cells. They contain vitamin C and provide a barrier against pathogens. Grapefruit, in particular, contains lycopene, which fights cellular damage, and oranges provide 116 percent of the daily required vitamin C. Try to incorporate a side of fruit for any of your daily meals or make a salad dressing out of lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. 

Ginger

A piece of ginger next to a glass of tea
A piece of ginger next to a glass of tea

Whether you drink ginger tea or put a small piece into a smoothie, you will reap the benefits of this plant. It is antibacterial, so it supports the immune system and prevents nausea. 

Bell Pepper

A red bell pepper next to several green bell peppers
A red bell pepper next to several green bell peppers

Red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. One bell pepper will fulfill 170 to 200 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. They also improve eye health, regulate blood pressure, act as an anti-inflammatory, and reduce bad cholesterol. 

Sleep

A man sleeping in bed
A man sleeping in bed

While you are sleeping, the body washes away waste products that have built up throughout the day. Proteins called cytokines are synthesized and released when the body is sleeping as well, which combats infections. Lack of sleep means fewer cytokines are produced. Going to sleep before midnight and getting at least eight hours is essential for a properly functioning body.

Water 

A glass of water being poured
A glass of water being poured

Water flushes out toxins, oxygenates your cells, and boosts your immune system. Make sure to drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day.

Don’t Ignore Your Lymphatic System 

A woman having her lymph nodes checked by a doctor
A woman having her lymph nodes checked by a doctor

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and lymph that drain lymph fluid from all over the body. It is a drainage system that properly disposes of the waste left behind by other body systems. It filters the blood, removes impurities from the body, and fights infection. Drinking water, reducing stress by meditating or doing yoga, eating healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and seeds, and exercising daily will keep your lymphatic system functioning properly.

What are some things you are doing to maintain a healthy lifestyle and boost your immune system? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally posted on GREY Journal.