Building your Immunity
Your Immune System Marches On Its Stomach
Like any fighting force, the immune system marches on its stomach. It needs good, regular nutrition to stay strong if it is to offer protection from various illnesses.
If you are restricting your food intake, don’t eat the recommended 5+ vegetables per day then you could have lower levels of the key nutrients your body needs to maintain your immune system. So have a think about what you are eating if you find yourself repeatedly unwell.
There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans however the following is known:
Protein is part of the body’s defence mechanism. Eat a variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protects from infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots or eggs.
Vitamin C protects you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. Include more of this healthy vitamin in your diet with citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.
Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and may improve immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts and peanut butter
Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.
Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, also may influence immune response.
As you can see, if you are eating a balanced diet, all these vitamins and minerals should find their way to your immune system helping to boost your immunity and protecting you from illness.
– Nereda Merrin, Nutritionist