No, Your Immunity Boost Drinks Aren’t Doing Anything

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IT’S COLD AND FLU season, which means everyone and their mother are doing everything in their power to prevent illness.

And now, TikTok is catching into the trend with an “immunity bomb” recipe that’s going viral. Several of these videos have popped up promising immune support via a concoction mostly consisting of turmeric, citrus, and ginger. But does this trend have backing?

Turmeric, the key ingredient in all of these videos, is a root spice most famous for being a staple in Indian cuisine. It has been touted for its health benefits over recent years, and it does have (some) scientific backing.

The root has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and even improve gut health. Both inflammation and the gut are believed to influence the immune system. However, it cannot be dubbed an “immune booster,” because it does not make more immune cells, says Erin Kenney, MS, RDN and owner of Nutrition Rewired.

In fact, nothing actually “boosts” your immunity. The best you can do is shore up the immunity you already have. And that’s by doing the boring stuff—getting regular exercise, good sleep, and eating well.

Additionally, the amount of turmeric a person would have to consume to reap the benefits these studies have shown is way more than you could stuff into a trendy beverage.

“You’d have to eat copious amounts of turmeric root—more than can be packed into a TikTok ‘immunity bomb’ or even eaten as part of a healthy diet,” says Perri Halperin, MS, RD, CDN, at Mount Sinai Health System.

Unless you’re really just a fan of the taste of turmeric, Halperin suggests skipping the smoothie and sticking to a traditional healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. “The whole of the diet is more powerful than any one part,” says Halperin.

Immunity is all about your everyday health habits, so do all the basics and you’ll give whatever’s going around less of a chance to get you down.

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Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.

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