In this article, you will find which vitamins & minerals are best for boosting your immunity and what foods you can find them in.
A healthy immune system helps in protecting you from toxins and infections. And diet plays a very important role in keeping your immune system in top shape.
Eating nourishing foods rich in certain vitamins can help your immune system fight off illnesses such as colds and flu. It can also help to keep your energy level high and recover from injury faster.
Sadly, most people rely on pills. Why? Because they don’t eat enough fresh fruits & vegetables regularly. Eating nourishing foods rich in certain vitamins regularly can keep us strong and healthy year-round.
You can have a truly healthy immune system over time by eating a balanced healthy diet regularly that provides enough vitamins and minerals. This can be further reinforced by doing regular exercises and 8-9 hours of good sleep.
With some exceptions, it’s best to get our vitamins & minerals from food than supplements.
Vitamins-Enriched Foods That Help Build Up Immune-System
Eating foods with the right vitamins will help you boost your immune system.
You can improve your immune system by maintaining healthy eating habits over time. The more you regularly choose a vitamin-rich foods diet, the more likely you are to boost your immune system for the long haul. You can’t just eat a few oranges one day and expect to be protected against catching a cold or flu. It’s rather a cumulative effect.
Here is the of vital vitamins & minerals to maintain your immune system strong & healthy.
Helps your immune system function properly. It helps prevent infections or shorten their stay such as cold and seasonal viral attacks. It’s Also beneficial for those who are exposed to physical exertion from vigorous sports.
Most people know about this. Vitamin C is one of the best immune system boosters of all. Vitamin C works as a strong antioxidant, meaning it can protect your body from inflammation-causing toxins.
Getting our intake of vitamin C on a regular basis is important for good health as your body neither produces it on its own nor It can store it to use later. Fortunately, vitamin C is present in so many foods that most people don’t require a vitamin C supplement unless a doctor recommends it.
Recommended Foods High In Vitamin C
Vitamin C is most commonly associated with orange citrus fruits, but you can get your fill of vitamin C from a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Red bell peppers.
- Citrus fruits such as oranges or orange juice (one orange contains up to 51 milligrams of Vitamin C)
- Grapefruit juice.
- Green bell peppers.
- Cooked broccoli.
- Brussels sprouts.
- Brussels sprouts
Important Tip: Vitamin is contained in so many foods that majority of the people don’t need supplements unless a doctor advises so.
Related: Best Natural Way To Get Vitamin C
VITAMIN D – Sunshine Vitamin
It’s one of the most important nutrients that help maintain strong bones and a healthy immune system. Very few foods contain Vitamin D. The following are the foods that contain vitamin D.
- Fatty fish like Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Sardines
- Dark leafy vegetables
- Vitamin D-fortified foods like cereals, milk, and orange juice.
Note: Though it’s best to get most of the vitamins from food, Vitamin D is an exception to this rule. Check with your doctor to find out whether you need a vitamin D supplement.
Related: Vitamin D Best Natural Sources & Supplements
Just like vitamin C, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that helps keep infections at bay. It’s one of the most effective nutrients for your immune function
This powerful vitamin has an important role in how the immune system functions, so-much-so, it’s part of about 200 biochemical reactions in your body, including keeping your T-cells working at their peak performance
To meet your vitamin E needs, eat high-fat plant foods like:
Avoid taking vitamin E supplements. Not only they may be harmful in some situations, there is also little clinical research establishing that vitamin E supplements can benefit your health.
Rather fill your plate with the following vitamin E-rich foods. The higher on this list, the more vitamin E they contain:
- Wheat germ oil.
- Seeds, like sunflower seeds.
- Nuts, like almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and peanut butter.
Boosts serotonin; helps fight fatigue & depression
Foods having Vitamin B12:
- Fortified foods (like breakfast cereal)
Related: Vitamin B12 Deficiency & Sources
This vitamin helps in the proper functioning of biochemical reactions in your immune system. One of its important roles is producing white blood cells and T-cells. Those are the cells in your body that help fight off invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
The following foods are high in Vitamin B6.
- Chickpeas (the main ingredient in hummus).
- Cold-water fish, like salmon and tuna.
- Beef and beef liver.
- Chicken breast.
- Fortified breakfast cereals.
- Winter squash.
- Cottage cheese.
This vitamin also is an infection fighter. It comes in two forms. One comes mainly from animal foods like fish and dairy and the other from plant carotenoids. Whereas tuna is a great source of the first form, and for carotenoids, go colorful.
The following foods contain vitamin A.
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark, green leafy vegetables
- Butternut squash
Folate is the natural form. Folic acid is the synthetic form, which is often added to foods due to its health benefits. To get more folate, try to include beans, lentils, and leafy green vegetables regularly in your diet. Avocado is also a great delicious source. You can also get food fortified with folic acid. Read the labels before you buy food.
This mineral helps carry oxygen to cells. It plays important role in many immune processes. Your body can more readily absorb heme iron, which comes from animal foods. The following are rich sources of heme iron:
- Red meat
For vegetarians, the following are some good sources:
- Iron-fortified cereals.
Related: A Complete Guide To Iron Deficiency & Treatment
Zinc is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Experts hail it as the “gatekeeper” of the immune system in your body as it’s responsible for making all your immune cells function properly.
The following foods contain zinc.
Oysters are the richest food source of zinc. The following are other foods that boost your zinc intake.
- Blue crab.
- Beef (choose lean cuts only).
- Broiled pork chops.
- Turkey breast.
- Canned sardines.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Cheddar cheese.
- Greek yogurt.
Dietary selenium benefits keeping your immune system healthy in two ways. On one hand, it triggers your immune system when there’s a threat, on the other, it also tells your immune system when to pump the brakes. That means it can prevent your immune system from going overboard, protecting you from chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease.
The following foods are high in selenium.
- Brazil nuts.
- Canned sardines.
- Lean meats.
- Cottage cheese.
- Brown rice.
- Milk and yogurt.
- Nuts and seeds.
Some ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are also fortified with selenium.
Colorful Diet To Fulfill Your Vitamin & Mineral Needs
The more colorful the fruits and vegetables you eat, the better. Keep in mind this simple rule while buying fruits and vegetables.
Aim to include in your diet a wide variety of foods and try to choose fruit and vegetables from every color of the rainbow. Your plate will be more tempting to look at, and this will ensure that you’re getting as many health-boosting vitamins and minerals as possible.
Increase Your Water Intake
Besides a vitamin-packed diet, staying hydrated can boost your immune health.
Water makes your body create lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells.
Make sure to avoid overdoing beverages that can dehydrate you, such as coffee and soda. And remember to eat more hydrating foods, like cucumbers, watermelon, and celery.
Should You Take Vitamin Supplements?
Whereas vitamin & mineral supplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet, the best way to meet your essential nutrient need is to get them straight from the dietary sources.
Your body can absorb and use vitamins and minerals better when they come straight from the foods you eat than from a supplement.
Moreover, some supplements may cause problems if you have certain health conditions. Moreover, they can have side effects, particularly if taken with other medicines or before surgery. Furthermore, the effects of many supplements haven’t been tested in women who are pregnant or in children.
Because of these reasons, experts say it’s best to get your immune system-boosting vitamins & minerals through food rather than supplements, if you can.
If you think you need a supplement, you should talk to your doctor first. They can advise you whether a supplement is right for you and how to meet your needs.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”