A: With cold and flu season right around the corner, it is important to make sure your immune system is in good shape. There are several ways to keep your body healthy and, by default, your immune system. Make sure to eat a healthy diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Get plenty of sleep at night and try to lower stress levels. Exercise regularly, avoid excess alcohol and don’t smoke. Wash hands frequently, and clean surface areas that may harbor viruses and bacteria.
There are several supplements that are linked to a healthier immune system. Probiotics replace and help maintain the “healthy” bacteria that naturally live in our digestive tract. Low vitamin D levels may be responsible for a lower immune response. If your vitamin D levels are low, a supplement may be helpful to get your levels back to normal and help fight off infections. Once you start to feel sick, starting a regimen of echinacea, zinc and/or vitamin C may help you get better in a shorter amount of time. As always, if you are taking any medications or have chronic health conditions, check with your physician or pharmacist before adding a supplement to your regimen.
Information provided by Jen Alexander Pharm.D., pharmacy manager, Nucara Pharmacy, 4927 Maple Drive, Pleasant Hill, 515-264-1503.