When you fall sick, the growth and development of bacteria, viruses, and infections in the body are faster than ever. And to combat them, your immune system needs to be at the top of its game because the immune system’s primary job is to help the body recover from illnesses. However, when viruses and bacteria enter the body and grow on a large scale, they tend to weaken the immune response, trapping you in a vicious cycle. At such times, the only way to get your immune system back on track is to fuel it with all the necessary nutrients. However, most of our food sources only focus on macronutrients, including proteins, fat, and carbohydrates. Very little attention is on the micronutrients, strengthening the immune system and can help you recover soon.
Micronutrients involve all types of vitamins, minerals, and microminerals. Fortunately, we have many supplements that can make up for all the lost or lacking micronutrients that the body needs. Studies show that consuming dietary supplements when you’re sick can speed up the recovery process and reduce the risk of developing more infections within the body. But then again, there is a ridiculously long list of supplements available in the market. So how do you know which ones to take? Read this guide to find out!
The Right Nutrition
When it comes to health, no matter what your condition is, nutrition happens to be an inevitable factor in determining the intensity of your illness. With the help of supplements, the necessary nutrients your body needs act as fuel to lower the power of the illness.
Since you are getting the proper nutrition, your body’s response to medications improves. This means any possible treatment or medicinal component will work better when you consume supplements. This speeds up the recovery process and reduces the duration of being ill.
Here’s what may help:
Zinc plays a significant role in the immune system, but most people seem to have a lower zinc intake. Zinc lozenges help in cleansing the respiratory tract, which is essential when you have the flu. Other than that, it also works towards increasing the white blood cells in the body. These fighter cells help combat the excessive production of pathogens and can limit the replication of the virus. By taking zinc lozenges, you can practically reduce the duration of your illness by 2-3 days. The National Institute of Health advises consuming zinc lozenges of approximately 75-90 mg per day. However, you must wait for at least 24 hours after seeing the cold symptoms to take the supplement.
Even though these supplements can reduce your period illness, they have their fair share of side effects as well. Some of the most common side effects involve nausea, anosmia, vomiting, and dysgeusia. You may also experience a loss of smell, but these side effects only last for a concise duration.
Vitamin D is yet another fundamental micronutrient that has a lot to do with the immune system and gut health. The reason behind its importance is that Vitamin D can practically help your health before you even catch a serious illness. That’s right! What happens is, Vitamin D identifies any external virus that enters our body and fights it off before it even turns into an infection. When you fall sick and your immune system weakens, the body can quickly catch other illnesses as well. But if you start consuming Vitamin D supplements on time, you can keep that from happening.
Other than that, Vitamin D supplements also work towards clearing the upper respiratory tract, leaving it free from any infections. In this way, when your body has enough Vitamin D during sickness, your body can tackle current infections and any future infection too.
Probiotics work with the immune system in improving the overall health condition. They also play a massive role in ensuring gut health. Besides, studies show that probiotics can significantly reduce respiratory tract infections (RTIs). When you fall sick, the body finds it difficult to fight off new bacteria because your immune response slows. At such times, taking probiotic supplements can be a great help, as the body will fight any harmful bacteria with ease.
Probiotics will not only improve your body’s condition from within but also make you feel good. Apart from that, you tend to eat less than usual when sick for various reasons, which adversely hampers the bowel movement. However, having probiotics can resolve this issue significantly, as they support ensuring healthy bowel movements. So, at least, your stomach won’t be creating any new problems as you won’t be constipated.
Even though probiotics come with their own set of benefits and contribute massively to keeping the bodily processes smooth, they may impose some side effects. The most commonly existing ones include bloating in the stomach, slight constipation, and gas. However, these side effects do not occur to everyone.
Adding vitamin C to your nutrition can prove to be an absolute game-changer, especially when you are sick. There is a reason why vitamin C is one of the most popularly discussed supplements every time the immune system comes into play. Vitamin C is known for improving cellular functions, which leads to an overall improvement in the immune system. It also helps in producing pathogen fighting agents in the body. This is why, when you fall sick, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and bell peppers are a good choice because they contain a ton of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful supplement that can help you fight micro infections as well as major ones. In addition to that, Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb iron in the most effective way. And iron, in turn, increases hemoglobin levels and strengthens the immune response. This is why people with sufficient Vitamin C in the body face a cold for shorter durations. The general dosage of Vitamin C is 1000 mg per day. However, if you’ve been eating your fruits and vegetables regularly, you can cut it short to 500 mg per day. And the best part about Vitamin C supplements is that there are generally no side effects seen.
The first thing that grandmas usually bring when they see you sick is turmeric, and there is a reason for that. Turmeric is one of the strongest anti-inflammatory agents that can boost your immune response up to a great extent. Turmeric also happens to be one of the best antibacterial and antiviral agents, so it holds great value in times of sickness. The ideal dose of turmeric is anywhere between 500 to 100 mg per day.
Today, most of us struggle with inflammation within the body, and there are various causes. The most common ones include excessive exposure to environmental toxins, physical and psychological stress, damage caused by UV rays, and so on. These take a toll on the body and cause inflammation in various organs, resulting in sickness. And turmeric, being an anti-septic, can fight them off very quickly. However, make sure that you consult a health expert before you start consuming turmeric daily, especially those in pregnancy or who have been taking blood thinners. In such cases, the supplement may cause more damage than benefit.
Elderberry is probably one of the most underrated supplements. You may or may not even know about its health benefits because it is not talked much about. However, you should know that it has a strong set of components that can help you recover sooner than usual and develop a healthier immune system in general. The antioxidant properties present in elderberries work towards fighting viruses and bacteria and can potentially reduce the duration and intensity of cold and the flu.
Besides, elderberries contain several vitamins, which means that an elderberry supplement brings you the goodness of vitamins as well. Other than that, often, people experience a high stress level when they are sick. But the antioxidants in elderberries can help you lower the stress level as well. So you can feel pleasant even when you’re sick.
Even though health experts usually recommend the supplements mentioned in this guide, you must still contact your family doctor or general physician before starting any long-term or short-term supplements. The reason behind this is that, even if supplements come packed with nutritional properties and boost health, they can impose extreme side effects if your body does not react well to them.
You see, every individual’s body composition and internal functioning are different. Several factors like age, gender, health conditions, lifestyle, etc., come into the picture for deciding how the body will respond to a particular supplement. A health professional will always provide you with the most suitable supplement prescription to suit your bodily requirement. This is why it would always be in your best interest to check with your nutritionist or general physician before taking any supplements.
Nutrition plays a huge role in our lives. It is only when we fall sick, do we realize how important it is to make sure that our diet is nutritionally sound and focuses on micronutrients just as much as the macros. So make sure you remember your body’s requirements and the value of nutrients so that you don’t fall sick in the first place. And in case you do, you know which supplements to have.