Did anyone ever think that a virus can challenge the entire humanity and bring it down to its knees? So grave is the challenge that we are all compelled to take a step back and reflect on where did it go wrong and are you taking enough vitamins that your body needs?
Although there has been no cure found for coronavirus, all health experts have come to back the fact that having a great immune system is a strong deterrent against the infection. The question is how to build a healthy immune system?
You can make an informed decision if you stick to the basics, by ensuring that your nutritional requirements are adequately addressed. Let us continue reading to find the best vitamins that foster your immune system.
Essential Vitamins that Help to Boost your Immunity
Although vitamins have long been known to be vital for maintaining our base health levels and well-being, some are especially helpful in building immunity in the body. Core vitamins like E, C, and even members of B complex families contribute to immunity building in a non-specific manner. While vitamins A and D have distinct and have highly specific effects.
This vitamin, also known as Retinol, forms the first shield of protection against infections. Studies have proven that vitamin A helps keep the structure of cells of the skin, respiratory column, and even gut intact.
It is also used in the synthesis of antibodies that can neutralize infections caused by many pathogens or disease-causing agents like viruses, bacteria, etc. Some foods that are natural sources of Retinol are egg yolks, cheese, nuts, fish oils, legumes, etc.
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamin A in adults as per NIH are-
- Men: 900mcg (micrograms)
- Women: 700mcg
Also known as Cholecalciferol, vitamin D has a significant role in building the immune system of the body. It is majorly produced in the skin, but can also be acquired from food. It effectively increases the pathogen-fighting capacity of white blood cells in your body.
Reduced levels of vitamin D in the body have been linked with many upper respiratory tract infections like asthma, influenza, etc. Many studies have established an improved response to antiviral treatments in people taking vitamin D supplements.
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamin D in adults as per NIH are-
- Men: 15 mcg
- Women: 15 mcg
It is popularly known as Ascorbic Acid and has a proven role in boosting the immunity in your body. It is needed in the body to support the production of cells like neutrophils that are actively involved in building an immune response in the body.
It is also active in clearing the old cells and replacing them with new ones and enjoys a key role in protection against damage caused by oxidative stress.
In an elaborate study conducted in the US, its role against the treatment of the common cold was proven. Not only that, high dose vitamin C treatments have been shown to control symptoms of critical infections like acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamin C in adults as per NIH are-
- Men: 90000 mcg
- Women: 75000 mcg
This vitamin also enjoys a critical position in supporting various biochemical reactions to boost the immune system. The human body needs this vitamin to absorb vitamin B12, production of antibodies, and Red Blood Cells alongside many cells of the immune system.
Also known as Pyridoxine, Vitamin B6 is found in foods like chicken, fish, chickpeas, and even green vegetables.
Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) of vitamin B6 in adults as per NIH are-
- Men: 1300 mcg
- Women: 1300 mcg
Vitamins have a specific role to play in determining your immune response, especially in these testing times. However, there are other ways as well to adopt a healthy approach to everyday life.
Remember, there is no replacement for a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. These take time to build, but the results stay with you forever. To know more, read the expert advice on Best Healthy diets to follow.
Vegetables are an abundant source of fibers, essential for healthy bacteria that reside in your body. These help to strengthen our immunity by 70-80%. Remember, Mother Nature has everything in her lap that forms a wholesome diet.
Stock on Probiotics
Probiotics are a rich source of healthy bacteria living in the gut and also aid in the production of natural antibodies and immune cells. As a sizeable portion of the immunity comes from the stomach so you should ensure its health. In a separate study conducted in 571 children aged 1-6 years, it was proven that the intake of probiotics significantly brought down the severity of respiratory infections by 17%,
Rev up the Healthy Fats
Healthy unsaturated fats help in a correct inflammatory response in the body that has a significant role to play in your immune system. The primary purpose of inflammation is to heal. Good fats like mono- or polyunsaturated fats lead to the formation of prostaglandins that are useful to the body. Healthy Fats are found in fish, vegetable oils, nuts, etc.
Bathe in the Sunshine
Sunshine is a free source of vitamin D. Different studies have found that on exposure to sunlight, vitamin D is synthesized from cholesterol.
People with dark skin need to spend more time in the sun than the ones with lighter skin tones to produce a similar amount of vitamin D as been proven by research. Darker color skinned or olive-skinned people have more melanin pigment in their skin that acts as a natural sunscreen.
How to Get Smarter and Make Healthy Grocery Choices?
Your grocery shopping defines the health of your family. You have to make sure that your basket never runs out of citrus fruits, broccoli, garlic, ginger, almonds, spinach, turmeric, papaya, kiwi, and even green tea. All these have fantastic health benefits that will ward off many infections without any special effort.
These are a rich source of vitamin C that has a direct impact on your immunity as it helps in the production of White Blood Cells in your body- the primary cells that fight infections. Popular foods in this category are oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc. Vitamin C is water-soluble does not get stored in the body. Daily consumption of these fruits is essential for a robust immune line.
Leafy and other Vegetables
The health benefits of consuming broccoli and spinach are long known to human beings. Here are a few important ones that you should be adding to your diet.
- Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins like A, C, and E in addition to many antioxidants and fiber.
- Garlic may have been loved by many for that typical zingy taste, without being aware of its amazing ability to fight infections. It is said that its immunity-boosting properties stem from the large concentration of compounds containing sulfur.
- Ginger is another ingredient that should never run out of your kitchen for its excellent properties to reduce inflammation and heal a sore throat.
- Spinach is not just rich in vitamin C but also loaded with beta-carotene that helps to boost the infection-fighting ability of our bodies. Also, spinach is the best when it is least cooked.
Nature’s candy is one category that you cannot ignore. But even today, some fruits fall in the essential basket.
- Kiwi A rich source of vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C.
- Papaya An excellent source of vitamin C, in addition to a decent amount of folate, potassium, and many vitamins of B series.
- Blueberries Apart from the taste, they are also a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and many antioxidants like anthocyanin, and other flavonoids, that profoundly increase the immunity of a person.
Apart from these, sunflower seeds, green tea, turmeric, almonds, etc. also have known health benefits and are rich sources of different vitamins.
Nature has a cure for every infection. The alternatives given by Mother Nature are simple and effective.
It remains up to you to make that choice and pick the essentials over the junk. A conscious decision now will go a long way to keep your family safe in this world ripe with uncertainties.
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