The flu season is in full swing and for many of us that means being struck down with a sore throat, runny nose, or worse yet, body aches and respiratory issues. In particular, many people are concerned over the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). If everyone around you is coughing and sneezing, you may be wondering if there’s any way you can protect yourself from getting sick. It all comes down to your immune system. A healthy diet is the best way to maintain a strong immune system. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the recommended essential nutrients that support immune health include vitamins A, C, B6, and E, as well as folate, selenium, iron, and zinc. While it’s always ideal to get these important nutrients from food, it’s not always possible to get adequate amounts from diet alone. Nutritional supplements may be a convenient and easy way to ensure that nutritional needs are met. So, which nutrients are best for helping to keep your immune system strong?
Probiotics are good bacteria that inhabit the gut and are an essential part of the immune system. Research has found they have beneficial effects on the immune system and may help to protect against infections.
Adequate micronutrients in the body help the immune system to function at its best. When there is a deficiency of certain nutrients in the body, such as zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, vitamins A, B6, C and E, immunity may be suppressed, which can leave the body susceptible to infections.
- Vitamin D
Studies have found Vitamin D may help to strengthen the immune system and that vitamin D supplements may help protect against acute respiratory infections including colds and flu.
- Vitamin C
May help protect you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity.
Zinc is required for optimal function of different types of white blood cells that protect the body from illness and infection, as well as other immune system processes.
Garlic contains a sulfur compound called allicin that according to research may help to boost your immune system.
- Green Tea
May help to enhance immunity due to its high antioxidant level. Some studies have shown it may have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral effects.
Remember, you don’t have to wait until you get sick to think about your immune system. By following a healthy diet and ensuring you are getting enough of the key nutrients above, you may help keep your immune system strong and working its best. And don’t forget to wash your hands!
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