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  • Writer's pictureBonita Ward | Chief Talent Officer

Fit Tip September | Immune Boosters

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Hey Endurers!!! It’s Fit Tip Time!!!!

As promised here are a few tips on boosting your immune system to help it function properly daily and help protect you from the nasty cold and flu viruses, including a defense for coronaviruses including COVID19. So listen up!!

Choosing a healthy lifestyle is your first step… Congratulations!.. you have accomplished some of this by hanging out with HDEC!!

Let’s start with the WHAT?....

The immune system is your body’s first defense against invaders, injury and foreign materials. It is a complex system of cells in the blood, cells in the spleen, bone marrow, skin, lymph nodes, thymus and mucosal tissues of the gut and respiratory systems. The cells function on an intricate scheme of signalling self vs. foreign cells, amount of response to injury, and capture and elimination of invaders.

A healthy lifestyle which includes the proper nutrients from foods to support and drive the natural everyday functions. Here are a few foods to consider:

  1. Spinach - Rich in iron, vitamin C and other antioxidants.

  2. Turmeric - An anti inflammatory. Also contains curcumin an important modulator for immune cells

  3. Ginger - A powerful anti inflammatory and antiviral that has been used for centuries.

  4. Citrus Fruits - Big time vitamin C and potassium fruits for eradicating invaders.

  5. Almonds - Great healthy fat and source of vitamin E. Support red blood cell production.

  6. Yogurt - A great probiotic source to support a healthy gut and gut immune cells.

  7. Kiwi - A good source of vitamin C, folate and potassium.

  8. Papaya - A source of a natural digestive enzyme as well as folate, potassium and vitamin C

  9. Green Tea - A powerful natural antioxidant.

  10. Sunflower Seeds - Source of fat soluble vitamin E, antioxidants, B-6, magnesium and phosphorus.

  11. Supplements to consider - echinacea, elderberry, oil of oregano, olive leaf, vitamin D3 and zinc.

Here are a few things you could be doing to promote your healthy lifestyle..

  1. Eat clean. Plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. Quality meats. Cut out processed and fried foods. Cut out high sugar foods.

  2. Manage stress. Meditation, yoga, periodic deep breathing… see number 4 and 5.

  3. Get quality sleep. 6-8 hours is a goal!!

  4. Exercise regularly. Come out to our run groups on Tuesdays @ 5:30 am and Thursdays @ 5:30 pm. Join a gym or hire a trainer or commit to a regular exercise program.

  5. Get outdoors. Uhhhh … run group!!!!

  6. Limit alcohol. Well…. a single drink occasionally is okay

  7. Stay hydrated. So many positive benefits!!!

  8. Stay connected to friends and family.

Additional Resources

Pandemic Preparedness


Elderberry syrup is antiviral and stimulates a beneficial immune response. Like several other immune system supplements, elderberry is an antioxidant. Research has shown that it can shorten the duration of the flu by four days on average, if not stopping the flu and the

common cold in its tracks.

Garlic For thousands of years, people all over the world have hailed garlic as an elixir of health. Its cloves are said to help treat the common cold, keep the plague at bay, and even ward off vampires. For many years there have been suggestions that garlic can help with a whole variety of medical problems, including heart disease, high cholesterol and colds and flu.1 Part of the reason for this is that garlic contains allicin – a property which is released when you cut into the vegetable (this property is also the cause of the vegetables distinctive smell). This, along with the antioxidants inside the vegetable, help to fight off infection and support the immune system – the part of the body that protects and fights against things like cold and flu. One study conducted by the University of Florida used a group of 120 people to determine the effects of aged garlic on the growth of immune cells and cold and flu symptoms. They found that taking aged garlic reduced the severity of cold and flu symptoms and that these symptoms also went away quicker. Their overall conclusion from this was that garlic boosted participant’s immune cell function. Another study conducted in Mexico, using similar methods, found that garlic reduced the frequency of colds in adults but not the duration. Oil of Oregano Oregano oil is an essential oil made from the oregano plant that is purported to have healing properties. Research shows oregano oil has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. In addition compounds in oregano oil are also potent antioxidant, anti- inflammatory, antidiabetic, and cancer- suppressor agents. Oregano oil is made by air- drying the leaves and shoots of the plant. Once they are dried, the oil is extracted and concentrated by steam distillation. The oil contains compounds called phenols, terpenes and terpenoids, which have powerful antioxidant properties and are responsible for its fragrance:

1) Carvacrol: The most abundant phenol in oregano oil. It has been shown to stop the growth of several different types of bacteria.

2) Thymol: A natural antifungal that can also support the immune system and protect against toxins.

3) Rosmarinic acid: A powerful antioxidant that helps protect against damage caused by free radicals.

These compounds are thought to underlie oregano's many health benefits.

Olive Leaf

ULTIMATE USAGE: Folkloric use of olive leaves dates back to ancient Egypt and is referenced by Hippocrates. It's mentioned in modern medical texts as a containing powerful antioxidants that can help give support to a healthy immune system*, and to promote overall good health and wellbeing

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is often touted as a natural cold remedy. The nutrient is featured in supplements promising to boost the immune system. Our bodies don't make vitamin C, but we need it for immune function, bone structure, iron absorption, and healthy skin. We get vitamin C from our diet, usually in citrus fruits, strawberries, green vegetables, and tomatoes. The most convincing evidence to date comes from a 2013 review of 29 randomized trials with more than 11,000 participants. Researchers found that among extremely active people—such as marathon runners, skiers, and Army troops doing heavy exercise in subarctic conditions—taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C every day appeared to cut the risk of getting a cold in half. But for the general population, taking daily vitamin C did not reduce the risk of getting a cold.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection. The immune system defends the body from foreign, invading organisms, promoting protective immunity

Vitamin E Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses.

Zinc 15 Zinc is a mineral that's important to the body in many ways. Zinc keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. Severe zinc deficiency depresses immune function, and even mild to moderate degrees of zinc deficiency can impair macrophage and neutrophil functions, natural killer cell activity, and complement activity. The body requires zinc to develop and activate T-lymphocytes. Individuals with low zinc levels have shown reduced lymphocyte proliferation response to mitogens and other adverse alterations in immunity that can be corrected by zinc supplementation. These alterations in immune function might explain why low zinc status has been associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections in children in developing countries and the elderly.

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