“The immune system is a complex system of blood cells and organs. It protects the body from harmful germs that can cause illness.”
Before the Coronavirus crisis, many people may have suffered from various symptoms of low immune function without recognising it. However, it is now vital to understand the signs to protect yourself from catching the virus and to improve your overall health – a healthy immune system helps us to fight infections such as the COVID-19 virus.
Symptoms of poor immune function include (but are not exclusive to) feeling tired all the time, lots of digestive issues, prone to picking up colds or frequent infections, skin infections and wounds that are slow to heal, and finally high stress levels.
A healthy diet is essential for supporting the immune system as our gut is the foundation of the immune system; listed below are the key vitamins, minerals and foods that help to keep this area of the body healthy.
Selenium – this antioxidant helps lower oxidative stress in your body, which reduces inflammation and increases immunity. Selenium is key to reproduction, thyroid gland function and DNA production. Good sources of selenium can be found in: Brazilian nuts, tuna, oysters, pork, beef, chicken, tofu, whole-wheat pasta, shrimp, and mushrooms.
Vitamin D – our bodies can make vitamin D with exposure to sunlight. You can also get small amounts of this vitamin from fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon. You can also find it in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks, as well as foods fortified with vitamin D, such as some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
If you can tolerate mushrooms they are high in vitamins D and B, because growers expose their crops to small amounts of ultraviolet. Mushrooms are also high in vitamin B12, which is key for vegetarians as this vitamin is most often found in animal products.
Zinc – this mineral helps to heal wounds and supports normal growth. Zinc is found in meat and shellfish, especially oysters, where you can find the highest source of zinc. Chickpeas, lentils and beans, seeds and dairy are also excellent sources of zinc.
Vitamin C – this vitamin is essential for the healthy immune system response. Vitamin C helps to stimulate both the production and function of many types of white blood cells and helps your body to produce antibodies; proteins that bind invading microbes to neutralise them. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, green vegetables, melon, kiwi fruit, mango, pineapple and papaya.
Probiotics – these may help give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Also, some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body. They may also boost immune cells like the IgA-producing cells, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Try to eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, live organic yoghurt, cheese, pickles or a take a probiotics supplement.
Oily fish – similar to vitamin C, oily fish stimulate production and support of white blood cells. Oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fats, particularly EPA, which have been found to elevate mood. A therapeutic dose is just 1g of EPA daily, which is the amount found in a single serving of mackerel or salmon.
If your diet is not quite up to scratch, you can consider taking supplements – other vitamins and minerals that support immune function include; vitamin A & E, Iron, and Folic Acid.
By including these food, vitamins and minerals in your diet, you can greatly increase the support of your body’s immune system and natural defence mechanism, whilst decreasing your risk of infection and contracting the Coronavirus.
Look out for our next blog post to discover how to change other areas in your lifestyle, to also help support your immune system.
If you have any further enquires about this or wish to improve your health in general, book a FREE 15 minutes telephone consultation now!
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counselling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.