8 Vitamins and Minerals for a Healthy Immune System
Who wouldn’t want the healthiest, most functional immune system possible? Do you know the role your diet plays in keeping it able to protect you from bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other pathogens?
Unfortunately, the majority of people don’t eat enough of the fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods we need to keep our bodies healthy. It’s silly to think you can just eat an orange or grapefruit and expect one quick burst of vitamin C to prevent a cold. A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced mix of vitamins and minerals over time, plus normal sleep patterns, adequate stress management, proper hydration, and a hefty dose of exercise.
When possible, it is better to get your vitamins and minerals from natural food sources. God made foods in a perfect form with important ratios of nutrients, fiber, etc. However, at times, supplementation of these nutrients is helpful to keep your body and immune system functioning optimally. Here are some tips on important vitamins and minerals that can help keep you healthy.
Vitamin C has a well-known connection to the immune system, but did you know you can get it from much more than just citrus fruits? Leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, strawberries and papaya are also excellent sources.
As mentioned above, it’s best to get most of your vitamins from food, but vitamin D may be the exception to that rule. Vitamin D actually is more of a hormone in the body with connections to many bodily processes and is best produced by the body after skin exposure to UV radiation from the sun. You can try to increase your intake through foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines). Many people have a hard time absorbing vitamin D from food and don’t spend enough time outside in the sun, and thus, they are vitamin D deficient. Supplements are important in this case because vitamin D is extremely important, but talk to a doctor first. We can help you at Radiant Life Chiropractic if you have questions.
For vitamin A, go colorful. Foods that are high in colorful compounds called carotenoids — carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe and squash — are all great options. The body turns these carotenoids into vitamin A, and they have an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection.
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are all high in vitamin E. So are spinach and broccoli.
B6 is part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in your body and is critical to how well your immune system functions. Foods high in vitamin B6 include bananas, lean chicken breast, cold-water fish such as tuna, baked potatoes and chickpeas.
Iron, which helps your body carry oxygen to cells, comes in different forms. Your body can more easily absorb “heme iron,” which is abundant in lean poultry such as chicken and turkey, plus seafood. You can get other forms of iron in beans, broccoli and kale.
Selenium seems to have a powerful effect on the immune system, including the potential to slow the body’s over-active responses to certain aggressive forms of cancer. You can find it in garlic, broccoli, sardines, tuna, brazil nuts and barley, among other foods.
You can find zinc in oysters, crab, lean meats and poultry, baked beans, yogurt and chickpeas. Zinc appears to help slow down the immune response and control inflammation in your body.
Obviously, in the midst of a pandemic, there’s no better time to do anything you can to keep your body healthy. Will eating well or taking supplements prevent you from getting Covid-19? Definitely no. However, if you most likely will be exposed to the virus, why not give your immune system the best chance to protect your body and have the best outcome possible? If you have any questions about eating well, we can help and we work with partners who can take your knowledge to the next level. If you are interested in high-quality supplements, then call or text 215-259-5100, and we can help you with that also!