Your immune system prevents infection and disease, so you need to keep it in tip top condition. Discover which vitamins boost your immune system, here.
Your immune system is extremely important as it prevents infection and disease. In order to keep it in tip top condition, you’ll need to look after it which can be done by eating food rich in the proper nutrients, as well as getting enough sleep and exercise. However, if you feel like your immune system needs a bit of a helping hand, there are also plenty of vitamins to boost the immune system out there too.
Whether you’re looking to take a multivitamin to fill in any gaps or a single supplement because you’re lacking in a certain nutrient, here’s the top 9 vitamins that can help to boost your immune system.
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is one of the most important ones for boosting your immune system. In fact, having the right levels of vitamin D in your body can lower the risk of respiratory infections and can even improve the response of antiviral treatments in people with certain infections.
You can usually get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone in the spring and summer months, but you can also get it from salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, foods fortified in vitamin D and supplements.
Widely known as the biggest immune booster of all, lacking vitamin C in your system can actually put you at an increased risk of sickness. This clever vitamin supports the function of immune cells and improves your ability to protect against infection by helping the immune cells attack pathogens, clear away old immune cells and replace them with new ones. On top of all this, this vitamin that can boost your immune system is an antioxidant, meaning it can protect against damage from oxidative stress and can help with reducing inflammation!
You’ll need to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin C each day as your body’s unable to produce or store it. It’s present in most fruits (particularly citrus) and vegetables.
Zinc is key for proper immune cell development and communication and plays an important role in inflammatory response. Additionally, zinc protects tissue barriers in the body and prevents foreign pathogens from entering. If you’re deficient in this immune boosting vitamin, it can actually prevent your immune system from functioning properly, putting you at a higher risk of infection and disease.
Zinc is found in a great deal of foods including lean meats, poultry, oysters, crab, baked beans, yogurt and chickpeas.
Selenium is very important for fighting infections. In fact, research that’s been carried out on animals shows that it may be able to enhance antiviral defence against certain influenza strains.
You can get selenium from seafood, meat and liver, poultry, cottage cheese and Brazil nuts (these contain 100% of your daily intake in just one nut!).
B-vitamins are needed to keep your immune system functioning properly so you’ll need to make sure you’re getting enough in your daily diet. B6 in particular helps to produce new immune cells, process antibodies and helps the immune cells to communicate.
You can take B-Complex vitamins as a supplement and you can get it from fortified cereals too.
Vitamin E is an immune boosting vitamin as it’s an antioxidant which helps your body fight off infections. On top of this it also helps your body with around 200 biochemical reactions, as well as helping your immune system to function properly.
Vitamin E is particularly potent in nuts, seeds and spinach.
Not only does vitamin A help to fight off infections, but it also supports T cells which are white blood cells that identify pathogens such as viruses and infectious bacteria, making this an incredibly important vitamin for boosting your immune system.
Vitamin A is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, cantaloupe and green leafy vegetables.
Folate has a big role in producing new immune cells and a deficiency in this essential vitamin can result in a weakened immune system, so it’s incredibly important for you to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet.
You’ll likely encounter its synthetic form, folic acid, in supplements, but it’s also added to a lot of foods due to its fantastic health benefits. You can get folate from green vegetables, beans, oranges, berries, nuts and seeds, cheese, breads and fortified cereals.
Iron is instrumental in lots of immune system processes as it helps your body carry oxygen to cells, including the white blood cells which play an integral part in the proper functioning of your immune system.
Iron is found in the most quantity in red meat, poultry, oysters, sardines, clams, mussels, beans and dark, leafy greens.
If you’re unsure about what vitamins to supplement your diet with, have a health concern or are taking any other medications, always consult your doctor first. They’ll be able to recommend which vitamins to take and in what quantities to ensure you don’t end up taking too much, as this can actually end up causing more harm than good.
That’s our guide to the top 9 vitamins to boost the immune system! Want to find out more about boosting your immune system? Read our article, next!
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