Before we launch into how you can strengthen your immune system with superfoods, it’s helpful to understand what the immune system is and how it works.
hat exactly is the immune system?
The immune system is your body's defence against infection and illness, and it can be split into two main parts; the innate immune response, and the adaptive immune response.
At the first sign of infection, the innate immune response springs into action. This is a fast but non-specific response that buys time for a more targeted response by the adaptive system.
Starting with your skin, the innate system creates physical and chemical barriers within the body. Responsible for inflammation, excess mucous and high temperatures, the innate response is what makes you feel sick and need to rest.
Adaptive immunity is the part of your immune system that you’re not born with; it’s developed over time as you naturally become exposed to harmful bacteria, viruses and other pathogens.
The adaptive immune system is a slower and highly specific response, in which specialised white blood cells produce antibodies to fight the pathogen. It usually takes 5-10 days for the adaptive immune system to be ready to launch its attack.
The immune system incorporates many organs and biological functions, and when it’s functioning correctly, this intelligent system can distinguish threatening invaders from your body’s own healthy tissue. When the immune system fails to tell the difference, this is known as autoimmunity.
So how can you support healthy biological functioning and strengthen your immune system?
How to strengthen your immune system
There are many ways you can keep your immune system healthy and ready for action, but the key is to stay out of its way!
To strengthen your immune system naturally, the first step is to eat more unprocessed, natural whole foods. Aim for a diet that’s at least 80% whole foods, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds.
The next step is to know which micronutrients are the most important for immune system support.
Vitamins for immune system support
Vitamins A, B6, C and D, along with minerals such as zinc, iron and selenium, all have essential roles to play in healthy immune function. Let’s quickly explore a few of these vitamins for immune system support.
Vitamin A is essential for the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut and genitals, which help trap bacteria and other harmful pathogens. It’s also involved in the production and function of white blood cells, which help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream.
B Vitamins are known for providing energy, but Vitamin B6 is especially important because it also helps in the maintenance and regulation of your immune system. Low B6 levels can decrease the production of the antibodies and white blood cells needed to fight infections.
Vitamin C keeps your skin (aka your first line of defence) healthy by boosting collagen production, and strengthens the immune system while supporting the adrenal system. It’s known to reduce inflammation and shorten the duration and severity of colds by boosting the growth, spread and activity of your immune cells.
Vitamin D enhances the function of your immune cells, (like T-cells and macrophages) that protect your body against pathogens, so it’s no surprise that vitamin D deficiency is linked with higher susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune system disorders.
Zinc is needed for immune cell development and communication, but it also helps slow down the inflammatory response. There are many potent plant-based sources of zinc, including spinach, beans, flaxseeds, sesame and pumpkin seeds, garlic, and Cacao Powder.
But what’s the best way to get these micronutrients in?
Superfoods are the best immune system supplements!
The first 3 superfoods for boosting your immune system naturally make up the Tropeaka Immunity Blend, but they are also available as individual products. Unlike synthetic vitamins that are created in a lab, the ingredients in Immunity are whole foods. The natural vitamins found in whole foods are more easily absorbed and used by the body, which means better immune system support.
This potent Peruvian superfood with a refreshing citrus flavour grows along the basins of the Amazon river and contains 50x more vitamin C per gram than oranges. Camu Powder a great source of the antioxidants and phytochemicals that provide cell protection to support your immune system naturally.
A popular addition to smoothies and smoothie bowls, Acai Powder is a delicious way to take in the essential vitamins for immune system support. The acai berry is not only a good source of omega 3’s, but it has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit.
Goji Berry Powder
Goji berries have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2000 years. They’re super high antioxidants as well as vitamins A and C, so our Goji Berry Powder is a tasty and convenient way to fight chronic inflammation and harmful free radicals.
Wheatgrass is the young, newly sprouted leaves of the young wheat plant. Our Organic Wheatgrass Powder is packed with a huge list of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids for immune system support and overall wellbeing. It’s also a fantastic source of folate, which is a powerful vitamin for healthy immune function and converting carbohydrates into energy.
With more than 7x the vitamin C of oranges and 5x more iron than spinach, Tropeaka Barley Grass can help improve your immune system. On top of proving powerful cell protection, this chlorophyll-rich leaf of the barley plant is an excellent source of vitamin B6 for energy and immune system support.
In scientific studies, Spirulina has shown to have a direct effect on both innate and adaptive immunity
Along with many of the vitamins and minerals that are essential for immune system support, Spirulina is rich in chlorophyll (aka nature's cleanser), and it's a great source of healthy, plant-based iron too!
Superfood Greens + D is a unique blend of wheatgrass, barley grass and Spirulina, as well as 9 other alkaline superfoods. Research shows that taking a vitamin D supplement can help strengthen your immune system and protect against respiratory illnesses like Covid-19.
Not only does this powerful blend contain 50% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D from a natural, plant-based source, but it also contains the full range of essential amino acids, which help to regulate the immune response!
It’s called Epigallocatechin Gallate, and along with matcha’s flavonoids and chlorophyll content, EGCG makes this energising drink powerful for immune system support. Drinking matcha is also a natural way to detox, and a detoxified body is better able to fight off pathogens.
70-80% of your immune system is in your gut
Protect Herbal Infusion
While it’s not technically a superfood, this delicious herbal tea infusion includes a powerful combination of medicinal herbs that have been used for immune system support in many traditional cultures.
- Olive leaf: a powerful, antioxidant-rich plant used medicinally in North African and Mediterranean cultures. Instead of masking symptoms, olive leaf extract fights free radicals to boost your immune system naturally.
- Ginger root: with roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine, ginger has antibiotic properties, and it's known to help with fevers, high blood pressure, colds, nausea, arthritis and migraines.
- Elderberry: due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, the berries and flowers of the elderberry tree have been used in traditional medicine all over Europe, North Africa, and Western and Central Asia. On top of reducing inflammation, elderberry also lowers stress, and protects your heart!
- Lemon myrtle: a powerful antioxidant, anti-fungal and antimicrobial prized by Indigenous Australians for its healing properties and diverse use in cooking.
- Echinacea: Native Americans have used Echinacea for centuries to treat pain and inflammation, and it’s long been used to boost the immune system naturally.
Immune system support is just one of the many benefits of these superfoods. While they can’t directly protect you from pathogens, they can help support your immune system’s natural process and keep your whole body healthy.
Bonus tip for immune health: Support your gut health!
Have you ever wondered why some people only get mild symptoms from a viral infection while others will get totally knocked down by the same bug?
When you consider that 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut and that no two people have the same gut microbiome, it actually makes perfect sense.
So how do you improve your gut health to strengthen your immune system? Here are 5 quick tips:
Knowledge is empowerment
You now know the 8 superfood supplements that will boost your immune system naturally. More importantly, you also have a clear understanding of what the immune system is, how it works, and which micronutrients play a vital role in building a healthy immune system!