The old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” may have truth behind it after all. Eating nourishing foods rich in specific vitamins helps your immune system in preventing and fighting off illness. Here are some of the vitamins that help to strengthen your immune system:
Vitamin C is one of the colossal immune system boosters. Lack of sufficient vitamin C can make one more likely to get ill. There are several foods that are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
Everyday intake of vitamin C is essential for good health as our body does not produce or store it. Vitamin C exists in so many foods that if one was to consume sufficient amounts, many people would not need vitamin C supplements. However, how many people can confess to eating their ‘5 a day’ fruits and vegetables on a daily basis?
Vitamin C may help prevent infections or curtail their stay. Citrus fruits are a standout, but do you know there are other good sources?
- Bell peppers.
- Brussels sprouts.
Nothing can replace a good diet, however, sometimes when we are under the weather, it may be beneficial to take a good quality vitamin C supplement.
• Sunflower seeds
• Peanuts/peanut butter
• Oils such as safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil
Vitamin E is an all-powerful antioxidant that supports the body in fighting off infection. Nuts, seeds, and spinach are foods rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E (like vitamin C) can be an all-powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. This vital vitamin is a part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in your body. It is critical in how your immune system functions. Vitamin E can be obtained from high-fat plant foods like:
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanuts/peanut butter
- Oils such as safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil
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Folate /folic acid
Folate (the natural form) and folic acid (the synthetic form), are often added to foods for their incredible health benefits. Plenty of green leafy vegetables eaten regularly provide folate which is very important in strengthening our bodies’ immunity. Also beans and lentils are a source of folate.
One can get folic acid in Fortified foods are sometimes a source of folic acid (It is advisable to check the label first) e.g. from:
- Enriched pasta.
- Enriched bread.
- Enriched rice.
Avocadoes are a great source of many nutrients one of which is folate. Some studies have suggested that just one-half of a raw avocado can contain as much as 82 mcg of folate. This forms about 21% of the amount one requires per day.
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Vitamin A is an infection-fighter. It comes both from plant carotenoids and from animal foods such as fish, meat, and dairy. It is one of the key nutrients required for a good eyesight. You may have heard mothers tell their kids to eat carrots so they can see properly. This statement just emphasizes the importance of vitamin A. Tuna is an excellent source of preformed vitamin A. When it comes to carotenoids, colorful vegetables are a good source of vitamin A – such as:
- Sweet potatoes.
- Butternut squash.
- Dark green leafy vegetables.
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Vitamin D naturally comes from the sun. The sunshine vitamin is one of the most critical and influential nutrients for supporting the immune system. In countries where the winter cold months last a long time, it can be challenging to get sufficient vitamin D. It is therefore important to eat foods rich in the vitamin even though other sources are rather limited. The below food sources contain some vitamin D:
- Some types of mushrooms.
However, when it becomes challenging to spend time in the natural sunshine, a superior vitamin D source may be recommended. It is always advisable to consult your doctor before using supplements when unsure.
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