With Indonesia on hold due to the coronavirus, a strong immune system is required to protect ourselves from illnesses. The strength of our immune system is based on the food we eat and our lifestyle. Regular exercise is not enough to protect us, if not combined with the proper nutrition in our food.
Here are the foods you must eat for proper nutrition:
Vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients in the body, and would especially help with your immune system. The main reason is because vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Therefore, this vitamin helps our immune system cells including phagocytes (the kind that engulfs potentially harmful particles) to function. For your full dose of vitamin C, its best to consume citrus fruits, asparagus, cantaloupe, strawberries and kale.
Vitamin A is known to help with one’s immune system, for it helps maintain the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut and genitals. The bacteria and infectious agents that risks your state of health are trapped before it gets inside your body. It’s also responsible in the production of white blood cells, which helps clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream. All in all, vitamin A enhances our immune system and acts as anti-inflammatory vitamin. You can get vitamin A in sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, and cantaloupe.
Zinc is a mineral found in the human body including all organs, tissues and body fluids. The reason why it’s important for our immune system is because it aids in cell growth, cell membrane integrity, bone formation, skin integrity, cell-mediated immunity and host defense. Therefore lacking in zinc results to decreased immunity. For zinc, you can consume red meats (especially organs) and seafood. If not, you can consume whole grains and leafy root vegetables.
Vitamin E’s main function in the human body is as an antioxidant, in which it gets rid of those damaging free radicals that gets into the body. If you want to get vitamin E, then you can primarily find it in plant food. Despite that, the best sources are oils from plant foods such as canola and safflower oil. Otherwise, you can also consume nuts and peanut butter for Vitamin E.
More research has proven that a healthy gut leads to a healthy immune system. One way to have a healthy gut is to have more probiotics in your diet, so that live or active cultures of specific bacteria keeps your gut healthy. These live bacteria are said to enhance the body’s immune defense system by increasing secretion of antibodies; preventing bad bacteria to colonize in your gut; and enhancing lymphocyte cytokine (central regulatory cells of the immune system) responses. Eat more yogurt, cheese and other fermented foods and drinks like kombucha to have more good bacteria in your body.
Lastly, you need protein in your system to increase supply for amino acids. The reason is because amino acids leads to essential proteins in the body called immunoproteins (also known as immunoglobulins or antibodies) to increase in parallel. This group of protein is responsible for fighting off disease, bacteria and viruses. Proteins can be found in meats and seafood such as chicken, poultry, fish and shellfish. Alternatively, you can consume eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese for your dose of protein.
Eating a healthy diet can help us strengthen our immune system. In fact, this is one of the strongest and most effective ways to do it, compared to regular exercise. Although pills are available, eating it from the source guarantees that all the vitamins will work in sync to strengthen our immune system. If you do decide to consume it in pills, read and watch out for the side effects.
Do you regularly consume these foods to get the vitamins? Are there any other foods you eat or drink for your immune system? Tell us your experience in the comments section below!