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7 Food Nutrients That Boost The Immune System And Their Sources

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At such a critical time in which the world is sick, the reality of ‘you are what you eat’ is dawning on people and so today, we will be looking at nutrients that naturally boost the immune system and some of the sources they can be derived from.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the immune system is the complexity of cells in the skin, blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs, which, when working the way they should, protect the body against potentially harmful pathogens (like bacteria and viruses), and limit damage from noninfectious agents (like sunburn or cancer). Simply put, it is the immune system’s job to defend the body against illnesses and diseases.Like every other disease, bacteria or virus, the Coronavirus attacks the immune system, make the anti-bodies weak and then deposit toxins into the body. Once the immune system is weak, there is nothing to guard the body against the toxins or fight back and so, the virus will reproduce, leading to more harm.
Over time, feeding the body with certain nutrients and food has been proven helpful in keeping the immune system strong. As you will be stocking your household with foodstuffs, it is important that you know those nutrients that will help you prevent colds and flus, and enable your anti-bodies fight well against the Coronavirus, Hantavirus and other toxins that may be affecting the human body system during this dire period.
There are certain nutrients, according to research, that contain antiviral and antimicrobial properties which prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses in the body system. Some others are for the development and well-functioning of cells in mediating innate immunity. Many of these nutrients are either not produced by the body or are produced in insufficient quantities, hence, the need to get them from foods, supplements and other intake. Let’s see 5 of these nutrients and sources from where they can be derived.
1. Zinc: Zinc is generally considered to be an antioxidant and its deficiency in the body leads to severe immune dysfunctions, higher risk of pneumonia and other infections. It is one of the nutrients needed in order to stay healthy as it helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses . According to Science Daily, zinc is necessary in everyday diet in a recommended daily allowance of 8 to 11 milligrams for most adults. Oysters are the best source of Zinc, however, the recommended amounts can also be gotten from red meat, poultry, seafood (crab and lobsters), fortified breakfast cereals, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.
2. Copper: this is another essential trace mineral necessary for survival. It is found in all body tissues and plays a vital role in the red blood cells formation, maintaining the nerve cells and the immune system and in energy formation. It also helps the body form collagen and absorb iron. Intentional high uptakes of copper may cause liver and kidney damage and even death, hence, the recommended daily allowance is no greater than 10 mg daily. Rich sources of copper are shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, potatoes organ meats (kidneys, liver), dark leafy greens and dried fruits.
3. Vitamin A: this
fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods and is majorly known for its importance for vision, the immune system, and reproduction. It is needed for the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. It also keeping skin and the lining of some parts of the body, such as the nose, healthy. The tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of Vit A for men and women over 18 years old, however, is 3,000 micrograms (mcg) or 10,000 IU a day. Food that are high in colorful compounds compounds called carotenoids, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe are great options. Other sources include cheese, eggs, vegetables, oily fish, cod liver oil, milk and yoghurt, liver (is very rich in Vitamin A and so, you may be at risk of having too much if you eat liver on a daily).7 Food Nutrients That Boost The Immune System And Their Sources4. Vitamin C: after the outbreak of the Coronavirus, reports have been flying in the air that Vitamin C is a good nutrient that can help to boost the immune system against the virus. However, for adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day. Although too much dietary vitamin C is unlikely to be harmful, megadoses of vitamin C supplements might cause diarrhea and nausea. Rich sources of the Vitamin C are kiwi, orange juice, tangerines, strawberries, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
5. Vitamin E:
Like vitamin C, vitamin E can be 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 if you prefer to increase your intake through meals rather than snacks.
6. Vitamin B6: forms part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in the body and is critical in how the immune system functions too. A B6 deficiency may reduce the body’s production of white blood cells, including T cells. These cells regulate immune function, helping it respond appropriately. Additionally, B6 helps your body make a protein called interleukin-2, which helps direct the actions of white blood cells. Foods high in vitamin B6 include bananas, lean chicken breast, cold-water fish such as tuna, baked potatoes and chickpeas.7. Vitamin B12: B12 plays an important role in white blood cell production, and white blood cells are essential for proper immune system functioning. Not only can a lack of B12 lower your immunity, some immune system disorders can increase your likelihood of becoming deficient. Foods rich in B12 are beef, liver chicken, fish and shellfish such as trout, salmon, tuna fish, and clams, fortified breakfast cereal, low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs.
Read also: 5 Foods That Will Help You Achieve A Glowing Skin
Bonus: When it comes to a diet that supports good immune health, focus on incorporating more plants and plant-based foods. Add fruits and vegetables to soups and stews, smoothies, and salads, or eat them as snacks, Lin says. Carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, citrus fruits (such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines).Photos Credit: Getty

Also Read:  #DemocracyDay: Pray For Nigeria To Overcome Insecurity - Femi Gbajabiamila
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