Now more than ever, it is important to protect your immune system.

With COVID-19 positive cases continuing to rise in the area, protecting your immune system at all costs can help protect your from the virus, as well as other common illnesses.

One way that you can protect yourselves is by taking certain vitamins and herbs, according to Healthy Food Herb and Vitamin Store co-owner, Linda Garrison.

One of the more common vitamins that can protect you is Vitamin C.

While you can take supplements that will give you the Vitamin C needed each day, many foods also carry a good amount of the vitamin.

Such foods include citrus fruits, berries, green and leafy vegetables, cauliflower, potatoes and pepper.

“Vitamin C is very important because Vitamin C activates your immune system by helping it to produce interferon,” Garrison said. “Interferon is a substance in your body that fights viruses. An individual who is not taking Vitamin C should be taking at least 500-1000 milligrams daily.”

Another vitamin that is just as important is Vitamin D. While most people suggest you be careful of the sun, using sunscreen to protect your skin, Garrison said that she encourages her customers to spend at least 15 minutes outside so that your body can get the Vitamin D that it needs each day.

Your Vitamin D levels should be round 30 IU’s normally, however, Garrsion said that because of COVID-19, your levels should be in the 60-80 range.

“Vitamin D supports the immune system in hundreds of ways,” Garrison said.

Foods that have Vitamin D in them include fish liver oil and sardines.

As far as something we might not think of originally, zinc can help support your immune system in a multitude of ways. Garrison said that without a doubt, individuals should be using zinc.

Garrison said that zinc locks down your cells so that it makes it harder for the virus to get into the cell and replicate.

“The virus only replicates when it gets into the cell,” Garrison said. “So, if we can lock the doors of the cells to keep it out, it still can be floating around, but it’s can’t replicate or reproduce. We have capsules you can swallow and for the children we have zinc in lozenges. We should be taking at least 15-20 milligrams a day to support the immune system.”

Many foods have zinc with pumpkin seeds eggs and oysters being those that will benefit your immune system the most.

It’s not just vitamins, though as herbs can also be a big help.

One herb that has helped immune systems up to centuries ago is garlic.

“Garlic is very, very interesting,” Garrison said. “This goes back centuries that there were certain groups of people who refused to help build the pyramids unless they had their daily ration of garlic.”

Garlic has a natural antibiotic in it as well as thinning your blood, which can be really beneficial dealing with COVID-19.

“One of the effects that COVID-19 can cause is that it can make your blood clot,” Garrison said. “Garlic has blood thinning qualities so it can help with that.”

As for honey, which is commonly thought of as a huge help to your immune system, Garrison said that you have to be careful with it. Garrison said that you should make sure that you buy honey that is local and unfiltered.

Last, but certainly not least, Garrison said that building a “victory garden” can help put the right food and Vitamins and herbs in your body.

“Everybody should have their own gardens so that we are getting more natural foods,” Garrison said.