Covid-19 threw us all for a loop. If you’re usually an active, sporting person, you may have found it tough to be locked down and unable to exercise like you usually would.
The good news is that sports and fitness enthusiasts usually have a stronger immune system than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
But while a tough immune system is a definite plus, it’s something that needs to be maintained. Nutrition is important, but making sure it’s packed with natural immune system boosters can help immensely.
We’ll be discussing 5 immune boosters for sports enthusiasts that would be worth adding to your daily nutrition.
Read through them carefully - as healthy as they are, you’ll need to know the benefits and risks in order to choose which ones would work best for you. What’s right for a golfer to swing that golf club may not be right for a footballer who needs strength in the lower part of the body, so it’s a good idea to do some of your own research too.
How To Use Immune System Boosters
Most often, when we think of immune boosters we picture tablets or capsules. While some supplements do come in this form, many of them are, quite simply, just foods or spices!
If you’ve decided to take a supplement that’s in tablet or capsule form, follow the instructions on the packaging in order to make sure you’re getting the right dose.
If you’re interested in supercharging your nutrition and adding certain foods and spices to your diet to boost your immune system, it’s a simple matter of adding some of them into your daily diet.
Here are some of our favourite natural immune system boosters that you can add to your daily diet to stay strong.
#1: General Multivitamins
Broad-spectrum multivitamins it can be found in most pharmacies and even grocery stores. They may seem like a general cover-all, but they do have some merit.
Best multivitamins for women consist of a variety of vitamins and minerals. It's a good idea to take a multivitamin daily to fill in nutrient gaps in your diet.
Certain nutrients are required in certain amounts in order for your immune system to be at its strongest. We get most of these nutrients from our diet, especially if we’re eating a healthy, sporting diet.
But there will naturally be small gaps, where we aren’t quite getting enough of one particular nutrient. These deficiencies can show themselves by causing:
- Muscle twitches
A broad-spectrum multivitamin can do a good job of filling in those small gaps that your diet leaves open.
It’s a particularly good idea if your diet is erratic in both quality and timing, as daily consumption of the multivitamin will keep your vitamin and mineral levels fairly steady.
#2: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the best natural immune system boosters is known to be helpful for reducing or even preventing colds and flu symptoms and UTIs. Although there’s varying information out there about it, it’s accepted by the scientific and sporting communities that there is some merit to supplementing with it.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an antioxidant. It helps protect the body against free radicals, toxins, and disease, and helps immensely to reduce inflammation. It also plays an important part in the health of bones, teeth, cartilage, the skin, and blood vessels.
Generally, people who eat a fairly normal diet don’t need to supplement with vitamin C, but a little extra dose here and there can speed up recovery from the flu.
It can be tempting to dose yourself in high amounts, but it’s been suggested that just 500mg daily is enough to reap the immune system’s benefits.
#3: Acai Berry
Acai berries are considered to be a superfood. They’re native to Brazil, in the Amazon, and they’re part of the locals’ everyday diet. These purple berries come into the spotlight lately, though, for their immune-boosting properties.
It’s practically impossible to find the whole fruits outside of the Amazon region. It’s likely you’ll find acai berry juice, frozen puree, or even a powder.
If you can find them, they’re amazing immune boosters, because they’re:
- Low in sugar.
- Packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Extremely high in antioxidants (almost 4 times that of blueberries!)
- Said to improve memory and keep brain functions strong with age.
It’s worth noting that while these properties are true of the whole fruit, juice, puree, or powders can contain artificial ingredients or sweeteners, which would decrease their superb properties.
Most of us know circumin as turmeric. This yellow spice may seem inconspicuous, but it has some amazing properties that boost the immune system. It’s also super easy to add to your diet! Add a dash of it to your food when cooking, or make yourself some Golden Tea - a turmeric and milk drink.
It may seem like a small addition to your diet, but this little spice is packed with antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties.
Note that turmeric can lower blood pressure, so it shouldn’t be used in conjunction with blood pressure medication. Because it thins the blood, you also shouldn’t use it if you’re preparing to go into surgery or have a bleeding condition.
If you’d still like to supplement with it despite these things, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.
When the immune system is threatened, it produces T-cells, which are the body’s soldiers. These are the cells that head out in response to infections and let the body know how to proceed in order to fight it off.
Zinc helps to produce and activate these cells. A zinc deficiency could result in a less effective immune response and slower healing, so it’s worth supplementing with it in order to make sure your immune system is at the top of its game.
A few other noteworthy natural supplements that are easy to add to a daily diet include:
- Astragalus root: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
- CBD oil: Pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and reduces blood pressure.
- Echinacea: Often used to treat colds and flu.
- Garlic: Has antiviral properties.
- Ginger: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving.
The world of supplements can be a difficult one to navigate, especially if you’re looking for something to enhance sporting performance.
There’s a wide range of sports-specific supplements that are touted to be miracle workers. But the fact is, your body is likely to respond better to natural supplements than sports complexes and mixes created in a lab.
These supplements are easy to add to your day-to-day nutrition. They’re natural, healthy, and easy to get.
They may not be sports performance enhancers, but they’ll keep your immune system strong. This, in turn, will keep your sporting performances at a high level, as well as staving off illness and keeping you on the field, walking in the golf course, or court for longer.