It’s a no brainer that eating healthily does us a world of good, and a balanced diet is the blueprint for true wellbeing. Our immune systems are the first line of defense when it comes to warding off pathogenic invaders. It is vital to combat these invaders by consuming all the key nutrients that’ll keep our immune systems firing on all cylinders. Frequently feeling fatigued, lacking energy, and being prone to getting endless colds are all signs of a struggling immune system. The best way to turbocharge your way back to good health is by eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Choosing a good quality supplement is a great way to complement a diet that may be lacking. From A to Zinc, here we reveal the best vitamins and minerals to boost immunity.
Best for: maintaining your body’s defenses
Find it in: eggs, meat, milk, cheese, cream, liver, kidney, cod
Found in dairy and meat products, Vitamin A plays a role keeping your body in tip-top condition. In terms of your immune system, Vitamin A is like a solider, strengthening your body’s defenses. Our eyes, gut and lungs have mucus barriers that trap bacteria and other infectious agents. Vitamin A is the building block of these barriers and helps produce white blood cells that capture and destroy invaders from within your blood stream.
Best for: scavenging free radicals
Find it in: citrus fruits, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, green and red bell peppers, broccoli
Found in orange juice, our good friend Vitamin C is the cheery vitamin we were encouraged to have as kids. Unlike animals, humans cannot synthesize this micronutrient and we must consume it in our diet. A potent antioxidant, Vitamin C fights free radicals that may be running wild. This can help delay or prevent illnesses like cancer or heart disease. Vitamin C is a go-to remedy for the common cold and is actively transported to the skin, where its antioxidant properties help strengthen the skin’s barriers.
Best for: all-round good health
Find it in: sunshine, oily fish
Consider Vitamin D the rockstar nutrient. Its benefits are almost endless. It regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, thus facilitating brilliant immune system function. One study showed that COVID-19 sufferers lacking Vitamin D are twice as likely to experience major complications. Furthermore, Vitamin D has been shown to prevent Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure and strengthen bones and muscles. It really is one of the best vitamins to boost your immune system.
Best for: promoting blood health
Find it in: beans, dried nuts, red meat
Our bodies need iron to make haemoglobin to carry oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body, and myoglobin, to carry oxygen to muscles. A lack of it means our bodies cannot function at optimum level, at times resulting in anemia and less oxygen flow throughout the body. In terms of the immune system, it’s hemoglobin that provides oxygen to damaged cells, tissues and organs so the body can to fight diseases and infections.
Best for: preventing infections
Find it in: Brazil nuts, meat, fish and eggs
Like Vitamin C, selenium is an antioxidant so will reduce oxidative stress across your body. But where it really comes into its own is battling off any potential threats like bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Some studies have shown that elevated blood levels of selenium enhance immune response, conversely, deficiency harms immune cell function and may lead to a slower immune response.
Best for: supporting your immune cells
Find it in: shellfish, red meat, poultry, kale, mushrooms
Cells we rely on to keep us alive depend on zinc. If they do not have it, they can’t do their job. Zinc is key for normal development and function of cells mediating innate immunity, neutrophils, NK cells and macrophages. Weakened immune cell signalling means a poor immune response when our body senses we’re under attack.
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