Many of us don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables to keep ourselves healthy throughout the year. It’s not enough to eat an orange or grapefruit once in a while and expect a quick burst of vitamin C to act against an incoming cold.
A healthy immune system depends on a mix of minerals and vitamins that are balanced over time. Add to that a those of healthy exercise outdoors and regular sleep patterns, and you got yourself a recipe for top health.
Here are key vitamins and foods you should consume in order to strengthen your immune system for the upcoming cold season.
Let’s start with essential vitamins.
Everyone knows that vitamin C is closely connected to the body’s immune system. Not many of us realize that vitamin C is found in more than just citrus fruits. Spinach and kale contain a lot of vitamin C as well. You can also find it in brussels sprouts, bell peppers, strawberries or papaya. In fact, vitamin C is found in so many foods that people who have regular healthy diets usually don’t need to take supplements.
In general, it’s best to get most vitamins from food, however vitamin D is an exception to that rule. While you’re taking your vitamin D supplements, you can increase your intake with foods such as milk, orange juice, cereal, or fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, or salmon. And make sure to do that because vitamin D deficiency is widespread today and that element is crucial for a healthy immune system.
Vitamin A is in colorful veggies like pumpkin, squash, or sweet potatoes. The colorful compounds are a good indication of the presence of vitamin A. They are called carotenoids and our body is able to turn them into vitamin A. This vitamin has an antioxidant effect that helps to strengthen the immune systems against infection.
Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that assists the immune system to fight off infections. You will find vitamin E in nuts and seeds, in particular peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds. If you like spinach and broccoli, here’s some good news – they’re full of vitamin E.
It might come as a surprise, but vitamin B6 is a crucial vitamin that is part of over 200 chemical reactions happening in our bodies. That’s why is also critical to building a functional immune system. Where do you find vitamin B? Think bananas, cold water fish like tuna, baked potatoes, chickpeas, and lean chicken breast. If you’ve been dreaming of seafood, this is the right moment to dig in as well.
Here are other micro-elements you should include in your diet to boost your immune system.
Iron is an element that assists our organisms in carrying oxygen to cells. You will find a lot of iron in lean poultry like turkey or chicken, as well as seafood. Broccoli, kale, and beans contain other forms of valuable iron as well and are a perfect option for vegetarians.
Folate is what we know as folic acid in its natural form. In reality, folic acid is a synthetic element that is often added to foods because it brings so many health benefits. Get more folate by eating beans and peas on a regular basis. Leafy green vegetables have a lot of folate as well. To get folic acid, check out fortified foods like enriched pasta, rice, bread, and other 100% whole-grain products.
Selenium helps to slow the body’s overactive immune responses to aggressive infections or diseases like cancer. That’s why selenium has a huge impact on our immune system. You can find selenium in broccoli, tuna, garlic, sardines, barley, and brazil nuts.
Zinc is another key element to a healthy immune system because it helps to control inflammation in our bodies. You can find it in crab, lean meats and poultry, baked beans, oysters, chickpeas, or yogurt.
Depending on the season and your location, it might be difficult to buy high-quality fresh produce that will help you include all these vitamins and minerals in your diet. But healthy foods are essential, so don’t hesitate to use frozen fruits and veggies.
Manufacturers usually freeze them at their peak ripeness, which means that they have significant nutritional value. Make sure to choose plain frozen foods and avoid those with added sugars or sodium.
Include these foods in your diet to develop a healthy immune system that will help you fight off any infection.
About Author: Corinne Ledling is a businesswoman who also cooks in her free time. She’s a Content Manager at Bizstats.co.uk and loves to share tips and tricks about work and personal life.