1 November, 2017
Foods That Boost Immunity
With cold and flu season fast approaching, eating foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals can boost immunity and reduce the risk of catching nasty wintertime bugs.
While regular exercise and getting a good night’s sleep are important in helping to boost immunity, eating nutritious foods is just as important in helping the body fight off illness. Foods which contain vitamins A, B6, C, and E, and the minerals zinc and selenium not only boosts immunity but are vital to a healthy immune system.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is extremely important in immune defense. Vitamin A has been shown to enhance white blood cell functioning which helps the body resist and fight off infection. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, kale, and red bell peppers.
Vitamin B6 is crucial for the immune to function properly by aiding in the production of antibodies that help the body fight infection. Good sources of vitamin B6 include: beans, eggs, liver, bananas, turkey breast, cod, salmon, beef tenderloin, and walnuts.
Vitamin C is well-known as an immunity booster. Not only does of vitamin C increase production of white blood cells to help the body fight off infection, but vitamin C also increases the body’s level of interferon, which prevents viruses from even entering the body. Good sources of vitamin C include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, papayas, oranges, cantaloupe, and strawberries.
Important to a healthy immune system, vitamin E stimulates the production of cells that destroy germs and aids in the production of B-cells which is what produces the antibodies that destroy bacteria. Food sources of vitamin E are butter, eggs, whole grains, wheat germ, tuna, almonds, sunflower seeds, olives, blueberries, sardines, and liver.
Zinc is a mineral that not only increases the production of white blood cells, but also increases what are known as T-cells, which also help the body fight infection off. Food sources of zinc include: muesli, chickpeas, baked beans, dried figs, eggs, low-fat yogurt, shrimp, venison, green peas, peanut butter, almonds, and brazil nuts.
Selenium is a mineral that increases the cells in the body that find and destroy germs. The best food sources of selenium include: whole grains, scallops, shrimp, halibut, tuna, chicken, liver, cottage cheese, brown rice, brazil nuts, and garlic.
While including nutritious foods rich in these vitamins and minerals in the diet will help boost immunity and fight off certain illnesses, added protection against colds and flu can be provided through taking quality vitamin and mineral supplements.