With a global health crisis playing out, it's understandable that consumers are seeking out products that can 'improve your immunity'. Thus, we have seen an influx of, so called, 'immune boosting' products hit shelves - from functional drinks to fortified cereals, and plenty in between. Though some of these make weighty health claims, it is important to remember that there is no magic bullet to 'boosting' your immune system.
That being said, a healthy balanced diet can certainly support healthy immune function - and there are certain ingredients and 'superfoods' which are being touted for being particularly rich in particular vitamins and nutrients, to help you on your way. And with huge consumer appetite already displayed for functional and fortified products, it's no surprise that we are seeing more and more of these geared towards immune function. We take a look in this article at both trending ingredients/superfoods, and product formats.
The Usual Suspects
Vitamins have long been touted for immune support, in particular vitamin C... how many of us have been told that Vitamin C-rich orange juice is the ultimate cold prevention?! So it's no surprise that we are seeing products boast about their Vitamin C content, as well as other vitamins like A and B12. In fortified products, these are often being paired with traditional bedfellows like magnesium and zinc, which are said to promote overall bodily health and help modulate the body's response to stress.
But move over Vitamin C, because there's a new 'super vitamin' in town when it comes to immune support. The wellness sphere has been brimming with conversations around the immune support credentials of Vitamin D (aka the 'sunshine vitamin') this year (for more on vitamin D click here). Vit D supplements have been snapped up in droves; indeed, Ocado recently announced it would be offering Vitamin D supplements to UK staff for free.
A fruit that is getting a lot of love in the context of immune supporting products, is Acerola Cherry - which are not conventional cherries, but cherry-like fruits that typically grow in warmer climes of Central and South America. They are gaining momentum in conversations around immunity, because they are said to be a naturally rich source of Vitamin C.