Have you been paying attention to the news coming from medical science recently? If so, you’ve probably realised that COVID-19 attacks those with weaker immune system. Those who are most at risk are immunocompromised. The immune system is an essential bodily system that needs to be nurtured and supported, regardless of your age. The immune system is the body’s defense mechanism against foreign organisms such as viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
Looking after your health on a daily basis is the long-term foundation for peak immunity. A good diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables, proper hydration and sufficient sleep are all key. But these days call for more urgent action. So, what are some of the best ways to keep ourselves safe?
We’ve all heard the advice from the scientists. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and keep your distance from others. Whilst this is sound advice, there are other important things we could be doing. So if you’re looking for some alternate ways to build your immunity, vitamins are probably the fastest and best ways to give your immune system the boost it needs. Below we have provided an A-to-Z of the best vitamins that have been proven to enhance your immune system.
Vitamin A is integral to the development of the immune system, as well as boosting it. Vitamin A has beneficial effects on the gut mucosal immune system particularly. It also regulates cellular immune responses. This vitamin also has an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin so care must be taken not to take over the recommended dose. A precursor of vitamin A can be found in orange colored vegetables, such as carrots. This source is known as ‘carotene’, and is converted to vitamin A in the body.
While the whole range of B vitamins are beneficial, Vitamin B6 is vital to your immune system as it produces antibodies to help fight viruses and infections. Vitamin B6 can also support brain health by improving cognitive function. It also has a direct influence on the central nervous system. Food sources include poultry, eggs whole-grains and fish. So feel free to treat yourself to that salmon tonight. It’s packed with this vitamin!
It’s long been known that vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to boosting your immune system! Out of all of the vitamins listed here, this is the one that you should’ve started taking, like yesterday as we cannot manufacture it in our bodies.
Vitamin C is water soluble and safe. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that stimulates the production of white blood cells, which can help you fight off bacteria and viruses. It also helps the body produce antibodies, which increase immunity from invading pathogens by binding themselves to foreign microbes, which neutralizes them before they cause harm.
A deficiency in vitamin D can increase your susceptibility to infection and has been linked to autoimmune diseases. Absolutely nobody wants or needs that at any time, but especially in this pandemic. To acquire sufficient vitamin D, it’s recommended to drink milk and get out into the sun, as zinc can be formed by the action of sunlight on bare skin. But when you go outside, make sure you use a face-mask and stay a safe distance away from everyone else! #socialdistancing
Another antioxidant, vitamin E helps modulate immune functions. Immune cells have higher concentrations of vitamin E, which is all the more reason to use it to boost your immunity! A deficiency in this vitamin can cause a decrease in cellular immunity. It helps the formation of red blood cells, which can improve blood circulation. Consider purchasing foods rich in vitamin E such as leafy greens, nuts, sunflower seeds, and kiwi fruit.
Iron, found in hemoglobin, is an important trace element. Around 70% of it can be found in red blood cells. Red blood cells help transfer oxygen from your lungs throughout your body, including your immune system. Without this essential function, you’re going to start to feel tired and fatigued, a condition known as anaemia. This inevitably affects your immune system’s ability to fight against infection.
Selenium helps lower oxidative stress in your body, which can weaken your immune system. A deficiency in this substance can harm your immune cell function and weaken the immune system’s response to potential pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Selenium is a trace mineral that is required only in tiny amounts.
Zinc is probably the most vital element when it comes to your immune system because it maintains balance. It can decrease the rate of infection by slowing your immune system’s response. This helps control inflammation that can be deadly in your immune system. You can find zinc in many foods such as oysters, poultry, red meat and chickpeas.