The human immune system has been honed over thousands of years of evolution.
It is a well-tuned self-defense mechanism that protects us from disease and infection. Bacteria are everywhere and some of it isn’t good for us which is why it is important to help our body’s natural defenses wherever we can.
A healthy immune system is an essential part of our lives and we should do everything we can to help it keep us safe. Providing it with the nutrients it needs to function is one way to prevent disease and infection. That is what we are going to discuss today.
Nutrition and the immune system
Vitamins and minerals are essential for many bodily functions, including our immune system. Without the necessary fuel to do the job, many of functions are compromised, which is why we are all encouraged to eat a healthy balanced diet. A diet that gives our body everything it needs to grow, repair and protect us from the elements.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to eat well by using color. Dark green vegetables, red, yellow and orange fruits and lighter green vegetables all contain vitamins, minerals and essential antioxidants to help our bodies do what it needs to do. Think berries, citrus fruit, spinach, kale, apples, sweet potatoes and carrots to name just a few.
Vitamins linked with a healthy immune system
There are a range of vitamins that are currently linked with a healthy body and immune system. The science is still developing, but we know that these vitamins are beneficial to a healthy body.
Vitamin A – Essential for healthy cell growth. Found in eggs, cheese, milk, meat, kidneys, fish oils and yoghurt
Vitamin B complex – Helps the body use other nutrients such as folic acid and process calories. Found in most vegetables, liver, eggs, meat, yeast and seeds
Vitamin C – Antioxidant vitamin used for cell growth and repair and for fueling the immune system. Found in citrus fruits, berries, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and many more foods
Vitamin D – Primarily used for bone growth and health and to help absorb calcium. Found in sunlight, milks, breakfast cereal (fortified), orange juice and yoghurt
Vitamin E – Used in cell maintenance, organ maintenance, blood and circulation. It is also our main antioxidant. Found in eggs, nuts, sunflower seeds, dark green vegetables, avocado, olive oil, corn oil and canola oil
Vitamin K – Used for blood clotting and bone growth and health. Also helps maintain healthy bacteria within the body. Found in meat, most vegetables and wholegrain products
There is a good reason why doctors talk so much about a healthy, varied diet. Without it, our immune system and our entire body does not have the nutrients it needs to operate at its full potential. If you want to stay well and avoid infection and disease, a balanced diet is the only way to give your body a fighting chance!