5 Nutrients That Help Your Immune System

Our immune system needs extra help supporting and sustaining our health and wellbeing during the fall and winter months. There are many ways for ensuring an active immune system, but the most important way to keep your immune system at peak functionality is through the foods you are eating.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Two common forms of Vitamin A are retinol and carotenoids. These nutrients are transformed into active nutrients when they reach the digestive system. In other words, the digestive system triggers these nutrients into an active state, so the body can put them to use.

Most common of these carotenoids is the Beta carotene. It is appreciated for its significance in our immune system. It also aids in controlling the cellular reactions in our immune system and helps in the development and growth of the cells within the immune system. 

Sources of beta carotene and vitamin A are as follows:

  • Broccoli
  • Fish liver oil
  • Eggs
  • Apricots
  • Cheese
  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C

It is a water-soluble vitamin which acts as an antioxidant and supports the immune system against possible oxidative damage. It functions by neutralizing the free radicals before they get to harm the immune system usually through inflammation. 

This vitamin helps the immune system to perform vital roles, such as production of white blood cell and maintaining the optimal functioning of other cells within the immune system. 

Nutrition sources of the vitamin C are as follows:

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries

Blueberries

These include a kind of flavonoid known as anthocyanin. It has strong antioxidant properties which help in boosting the immune system. In particular, flavonoids play a crucial role in immune defense system of the respiratory tract, thus protecting you from colds and other winter illnesses.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains many probiotics that aid in maintaining the functions of the immune system. 

When planning a diet plan, search for products which are labeled with a seal from the National Yogurt Association saying, “Live & Active Cultures”. This seal indicates that the yogurt contains 2 particular types of good bacteria at a minimum. 

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber, which helps fight inflammation, is readily found in apples, citrus fruits, carrots, oats and beans. Soluble fibers help your body digest food slower rather than be overwhelmed by nutrients. Often the excess nutrients will be excreted rather than stored. Soluble fat will help your body manage and use significantly more nutrients.

Keeping your immune system running well during fall and winter can be challenging but including these foods in your diet will help you be healthy throughout that time of year. If you need extra help, many of the nutrients discussed above are provided in many supplements. These supplements would help increase your body’s absorption of these nutrients to add extra strength during the colder months.

References:

Unitypoint.org. (2018). 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune System. [online] Available at: https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=7ed35a9b-7295-4619-a0c1-f9e729cbb11d [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].

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