It’s the spookiest time of year again. Between werewolves and seasonal woes, it can be hard to tell what remedies to turn to. Silver might take out the werewolves, but what weapons does your immune system need to fight back? If you think you know your immune health facts, give our Halloween immune health trivia a try and see how many you get right.
We’ll ask you trick or treat and give you an immune-themed statement. Remember—a false statement is Trick, and a true statement is Treat (see what we did there?)
Best of luck and have fun!
Trick or Treat? Elderberry leaves were believed to protect against witches
Treat: During the Middle Ages, it was believed that putting elderberry leaves on the front door of your household would ward off witches and evil spirits. While this probably won’t hold up on Halloween amidst the trick-or-treaters, it still makes for a fun story.
Trick or Treat? Yoga and breathing exercises can play a part in boosting immune function
Treat: These practices are packed with zen-efits. Yoga and breathing exercises may be able to boost your immune health by lowering stress levels.1 Since stress can have negative effects on your immune system, taking some time to stretch and reboot is a great way to keep the bad vibes at bay and namaste all day.
Trick or Treat? Most of your immune cells are in your lungs
Trick: It takes guts to be an immune cell, so it makes sense that’s where they spend a lot of their time. 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so fueling it with probiotics is one of the best ways to keep your microbiome and immune system healthy.2
Trick or Treat? Elderberry has only recently been used to promote immune health
Trick: Elderberry has been used for centuries. Even Hippocrates was a fan—so much that he called the elder tree his “medicine chest.” That’s a pretty big compliment coming from the “Father of Medicine,” but it also makes sense with how jam-packed elderberries are with antioxidants and flavonoids. This brings a whole new meaning to “respect your elders.”
Trick or Treat? You can use the flowers, bark and actual fruit in elderberry for wellness
Treat – Waste not, want not—elderflowers and elderberries are both full of antioxidants to support immune health and the bark can be used to promote regularity. The best part is there are a ton of forms this nutrient comes in, so if you’re not a fan of its tart flavor you can still enjoy its benefits.
Trick or Treat? Our bodies can create vitamin C naturally
Trick: While it’s true most animals can produce their own vitamin C, humans can’t… same goes for guinea pigs weirdly enough. Since we can’t synthesize this immune-boosting essential nutrient, we have to get it by including vitamin C in our wellness routines and diet.
Trick or Treat? Your body can store large amounts of vitamin C
Trick: Unfortunately, since vitamin C is water-soluble, the human body can’t store it for long periods of time. The recommended daily amount of vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women, but there are a lot of ways to reach these goals.3 This nutrient can be taken as a capsule, gummy or even dissolved in water and can also be found in citrus fruits, potatoes and pumpkins too!
Trick or Treat? Our bodies can synthesize their own vitamin D
Treat: With a little help from the sunshine, our bodies can synthesize vitamin D. When UV rays hit our skin, cholesterol is used as an energy source to synthesize this essential nutrient. From bone to immune support, it’s a good idea to keep the sunshine vitamin on deck year-round.
Trick or Treat? Wearing a sleep mask may help boost immune function
Treat: Restful sleep is crucial for healthy immune function because it allows the body to produce immune system helpers called cytokines. One of the best ways to produce these proteins is by practicing good sleep hygiene. Healthy sleep habits can include reducing sound and light pollution with a sleep mask and white noise machine, or simply lowering the temperature in your bedroom. Find out which habits help you sleep tight so that your immune system is ready to fight.
Trick or Treat? A glass of red wine can give you an antioxidant boost
Treat: You read that right. If you’re looking for some extra antioxidants, wine night may not be a bad idea. Red wine has quite a few polyphenols or antioxidants like resveratrol and catechins.4,5 Keep in mind, alcohol in excess can have negative effects on the immune system so if you’re looking to get the boost without the buzz, you can always just stick to the nutrients.
So, how’d you do? Regardless of the score, we hope that you learned some fun new facts about your favorite immune-boosters and had a blast doing it! Stay spooky out there and have a Happy Halloween!
1. Gopal, A., Mondal, S., Gandhi, A., Arora, S., & Bhattacharjee, J. (2011). Effect of integrated yoga practices on immune responses in examination stress - A preliminary study. International journal of yoga, 4(1), 26–32. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-6131.78178
2. Vighi G, et. al. Clinical & Experimental Immunology. 2008 Sept. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
3. Vitamin C. (2017, October 18). https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932
4. Craveiro, M., Cretenet, G., Mongellaz, C., Matias, M. I., Caron, O., de Lima, M. C. P., ... & Taylor, N. (2017). Resveratrol stimulates the metabolic reprogramming of human CD4+ T cells to enhance effector function. Science Signaling, 10(501).
5. Snopek, L., Mlcek, J., Sochorova, L., Baron, M., Hlavacova, I., Jurikova, T., Kizek, R., Sedlackova, E., & Sochor, J. (2018). Contribution of Red Wine Consumption to Human Health Protection. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 23(7), 1684. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23071684