When it comes to staying healthy, the immune system is the body's first line of natural defense. A strong immune system can fight off dangerous bacteria and viruses before they turn into full-blown illnesses. Someone who does get sick can address an infection faster if their immune system is fully operational. Since so much relies on having a strong immune system, many people wonder if it is possible to increase immune strength.

The immune system is very complicated, but simply put, its strength can be increased by either eating anti-microbial foods or eating foods that increase the production of immune system cells. Just eating well, exercising regularly, and sleeping enough can make a big difference. There may be certain supplements that can help further increase immunity by increasing the production of disease-fighting cells. To boost the immune system through natural methods, the following remedies may do the trick.

Natural Leafy Greens

In general, anything that increases a person's overall health should boost their immune system. A great example of this is leafy green vegetables. Dark-green leafy vegetables are loaded with important micronutrients, antioxidants, and chlorophyll that help build strong and healthy cells. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are particularly helpful because they contain compounds that help bolster the immune system.

The simplest way to get the advantages of leafy greens is to eat more salads and side dishes that include veggies like spinach or kale. However, there may be even more benefits from super greens like spirulina and wheatgrass. These can be eaten plain, but their strong, grassy taste is often so concentrated that people prefer to ingest them in a smoothie or pill form.

Boosting Health From Vitamin C Supplements

Vitamin C has long been one of the most commonly used options. Most research has shown that vitamin C does not actually stop a person from catching an illness. However, those who take vitamin C have less severe symptoms and tend to get better faster. The increased immune response associated with vitamin C is also linked to reduced inflammation even when people are not sick.

There are plenty of great ways to increase a person's vitamin C intake. This vitamin can be found in citrus fruits, strawberries, mango, broccoli, and kale. There are also plenty of great supplements to get vitamin C from. People can pick from basic pill forms or special vitamin C preparations that contain other antioxidants or electrolytes.

Immunity Through Probiotics

This may seem a little unconventional, but it may be possible to fight off harmful bacteria by eating more bacteria. Probiotics are types of beneficial bacteria that humans get by ingesting certain types of fermented foods. When a person eats probiotic foods, these bacteria travel to the intestines where they continue to grow. The probiotic bacteria fight off dangerous bacteria and help the body to better digest foods.

Probiotics can be found in several types of fermented foods, including yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Read the label carefully to make sure there are live cultures in a potential probiotic food. There are also probiotic teas, powders, and supplements that can be added to other types of food if desired.

Syrup From Natural Elderberry

Elderberry can help to boost the immune system through several different methods. First of all, it has high amounts of vitamin C, so it helps increase overall immune system activity. Elderberry also has a unique anti-inflammatory effect when applied to mucous membranes, so it can help to bring down throat and mouth swelling when people have colds.

Elderberries cannot be eaten raw, so it can take a bit of extra effort to get the immune system boosting effects of these berries. Some people like to take raw berries and boil them with sugar and water to create a syrup. Those who do not want to bother with all that work themselves can find commercially prepared options.

Adding Healthful Mushrooms to a Diet

Mushrooms are starting to gain some attention in the health and nutrition communities because these types of fungi contain some unique compounds. It turns out that many mushrooms have a special type of polysaccharide compound, and studies have found that injections of these compounds can enhance immune function. Test subjects that had supplements of the polysaccharides had higher levels of the T cell lymphocytes that help to fight off dangerous bacteria.

Almost all types of mushrooms have beneficial polysaccharides, but levels in different types of mushrooms can vary. The best options seem to be those that are not white. People can increase polysaccharide intake through eating maitake and shiitake mushrooms. There are also medicinal mushroom capsules that contain dehydrated versions of reishi and other mushrooms for those who do not like the flavor of mushrooms.

Juiced or Dried Natural Ginger

Fresh ginger is an excellent way to boost the immune system. It is useful because it contains gingerol, an anti-inflammatory compound. Ginger is an ideal immune system supplement to take if a person is already sick. This is because its anti-bacterial properties will help kill off clusters of bacteria in the throat and mouth. It is also helpful for people with upset stomachs because it helps to ease nausea.

Those who have access to fresh ginger root can get its benefits by juicing the fruit and mixing the liquid with a little apple juice or lemon tea. Consumers who cannot get fresh ginger can try ginger root supplements.

Flu-Killing Vitamin D Supplements

Vitamin D is essential to immune system health because it helps the body to absorb other vitamins and nutrients. This important vitamin is also useful in creating specific types of antibodies. It is very helpful for fighting off respiratory illnesses like the flu or tuberculosis.

It is possible to get vitamin D just by spending a few minutes sitting in the sun. However, those who don't like the heat or UV rays have other options. Try eating more fatty fish and nuts that contain vitamin D.

Enhancing Immunity Through Raw Garlic

There are many helpful compounds in garlic that aid the immune system in fighting off illnesses. The most useful is allicin, but there are several other garlic compounds that have antiviral and anti-fungal properties. These ingredients help the immune system by killing off dangerous bacteria before the immune cells even encounter them. Garlic is also a natural type of blood thinner, so it boosts circulation and improves overall health.

Since garlic is used in almost every type of cuisine across the world, adding it to the diet is simple. However, the most effective form is raw garlic, which can be quite bitter. Those who want all the benefits of garlic without having to choke down handfuls of raw cloves should look into getting garlic supplements instead.

Natural Vitamin E From Nuts and Oils

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is mostly known for its abilities to speed up wound healing and reduce scars. It turns out that vitamin E is also helpful for boosting the immune system. This important vitamin is essential to building healthy cells that can actually fight off diseases. Unfortunately, many people are deficient in vitamin E because it is so often overlooked.

Like any other type of vitamin, supplements are always a useful option. However, there are also many ways to get vitamin E through a natural diet. Since it is fat-soluble, vitamin D is most commonly found in fatty foods like nuts, olive oil, and canola oil.

Improving Health Through Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranates are an excellent source of anti-bacterial compounds and antioxidants that reduce inflammation. Their high levels of vitamin C further boost immune system functioning. Pomegranates also contain ingredients that help to reduce cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. These heart-healthy benefits are important because the body needs a properly functioning immune system to circulate disease-fighting white blood cells throughout the body.

Picking out all the fresh pomegranate seeds from the whole fruit can be a little time-consuming, so some people prefer to just get the benefits of pomegranates from juice. Those who do this just need to be careful to avoid purchasing unhealthy options with excessive amounts of added sugar.