7 plant-based nutrients for a stronger immune system
And before you know it, Winter has arrived and with it the sniffles, the shivers and a chaffed red-raw nose from all those tissues. aghhh...choo!
But wait, it's not Winter yet and there's still time to turn that immune system of yours into Optimus Prime.
As you already know, good nutrition is paramount for a strong immune system. Without it, you'll be more susceptible to seasonal illnesses including the flu and the common cold. Furthermore, a weak immune system can set you up for digestive upsets, allergies and a number of other serious conditions, including inflammatory disorders.
Heres a few tips to get you started...
plant-based nutrients that strengthen your immune system
Antibodies are one type of protein found in the body that fight infections and foreign materials. Plant foods rich in protein include legumes, nuts, seeds, soy products and whole grains e.g. quinoa and oats.
2. Vitamin A
Plays a role in the regeneration of your mucosal barriers (found in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory tract), as well as regulates your immune fighting cells. Vitamin A is found in carrots, spinach, sweet potato, kale, pumpkin, apricot and lettuce. Think orange and green veggies.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals that cause inflammation. Furthermore, it helps your immune system function. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, nuts (*almonds), nut butters, seeds (sunflower*) and sunflower oil.
4. Vitamin C
Certain immune cells, including phagocytes and t-cells, require vitamin C to perform their functions (i.e. kill bad stuff in your body). Furthermore, vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant. Rich food sources of this vitamin include guava, red/green capsicum, blackcurrants, berries, brussel sprouts, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, broccoli and stone fruits.
To read more on Vitamin A, C & E click here.
This mineral affects multiple aspects of the immune system, including it's super important role in forming the skin barrier, as well as its crucial role in the development and function of certain immune fighter cells (e.g. neutrophils and natural killer cells). Zinc is found in quorn, tofu, peas, beans, soya, lentils, all bran, shredded wheat, pine nuts, cashews, pecans, brazil nuts, hummus, oats, mushrooms, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
A potent antioxidant that plays a regulatory role in oxidative stress, which in turn influences inflammation and the immune response. Rich food sources of selenium include brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, lentils, mushrooms, soya/mung beans and pasta.
Essential for your good gut bacteria, which in turn strengthen your immune system. Click here for more info on prebiotics.