Having a strong immune system is more important than you think. After all, the human body comes in contact with practically millions of fungi, parasites, and bacteria on an everyday basis. Keeping your immune system strong will not only prevent conditions such as AIDS, cancer, and pneumonia, it will also help you fight sickness. Maintaining a strong immunity is not a mammoth task – it just requires you to modify your eating habits and take the necessary vitamins.
Vitamin A plays a vital role in keeping your immune system in top working condition. Vitamin A, being an antioxidant, keeps infections, viruses, and germs at bay. It also helps in moistening the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and mouth, which enables them to catch germs, retarding their infiltration. That’s not it – vitamin A also increases the body’s ability to produce white blood cells. Beta-carotene is actually a precursor to vitamin A.
This means that beta-carotene is utilized by the body, and it is converted to the vitamin form. Beta-carotene belongs to a class of antioxidants known as carotenoids, which assist in producing T-cells that fight against infection or antigens. Fruits and vegetables such as carrot, sweet potato, whole milk, eggs, and liver are fine food sources of this immunity-boosting vitamin.
Vitamin B6 is one of the most overlooked vitamins, when it comes to immune health. The truth is, that your body needs vitamin B6 for one of its most crucial functions i.e. to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is required by the body to carry oxygen to different parts. Additionally, vitamin B6 plays a key role in promoting cell growth and protein assimilation. Research studies, conducted on animals, reveal that vitamin B6 deficiency is linked with low antibody production. You can get your daily needs of B6 by adding fortified cereals, fruits, vegetables, beans, and meat to your meal plan.
When it comes to immunity, everyone knows that vitamin C is good, but they don’t know why. Vitamin C is also antioxidant, which is quintessential for producing white blood cells. These cells strengthen the immune system against infection and environmental toxins. Vitamin C helps produce interferon, which is a protein needed for killing viruses. This anti-oxidant vitamin also elevates glutathione levels, which increases immunity. While the recommended dosage of this vitamin is anywhere between 60-90 mg for adults, many medical experts suggest an upper limit of 200 mg. Though you can meet your daily needs of vitamin C by having 4-6 generous servings of fruits and vegetables daily, vitamin C supplements can also be used.
Vitamin E is another essential nutrient for boosting your immunity. The human body requires vitamin E for producing B-cells, which are a form of lymphocyte. These cells strengthen the immune system to fight against bacteria. The Council for Responsible Nutrition points to a research study conducted on 88 healthy individuals over 65 years of age. The study revealed that vitamin E supplementation improves immune system function considerably. The best responses came from those who were given 200mg of this antioxidant vitamin daily.
To keep your immune system strong, it is extremely important for you to get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is not present in abundance, in foods. However, being exposed to sun rays will help you get the amount of vitamin D you need. You may also choose to take a vitamin D3 supplement as well, for your daily vitamin D needs. For adults, the recommended dose of vitamin D for immunity is 4000 IU. Foods such as milk, eggs, cheese, and fish are excellent food sources of vitamin D that you should add to your diet plan.