Since the outbreak of novel coronavirus, we are hearing a lot about Immunity and the immune system. But what does Immunity mean? Immunity is the ability of our body to prevent or combat any infection. People with strong immunity does not fall ill frequently. A slight weather change or the change in environment does not cause any infection in individuals with high immunity, which, on the other hand, is quite often observed in people with low immunity. People with low Immunity catch infection fast and require frequent medications.
Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (Nobel Prize in Physiology & Medicine 1937) said: “A Vitamin is a substance that makes you ill if you don’t eat it”.
So, what vitamins increase or boost our immunity?
The immune system is very much influenced by nutrients. So, let’s have a look at some major vitamins and nutrients that can influence our immunity.
- Vitamin C: The cells of our immune system, such as T cells and phagocytes, can accumulate Vitamin C and the vitamin is responsible for their smooth functioning. Therefore, the deficiency of Vitamin C can reduce the capacity of the body to fight certain pathogens.
So how can we obtain vitamin C through diet? Here are some foods which are abundant in vitamin C. And, including them in your diet can help boost your immunity.
Fruits that contain Vitamin C: All Citrus fruits i.e. Lemon, orange, Indian gooseberry (Amla), guava, watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, kiwi, mango, pineapple, and papaya.
Foods with high Vitamin C: Green Vegetables, such as spinach and kale, cauliflower, cabbage, bell peppers, sweet potato, broccoli, tomatoes, and chickpeas.
- Vitamin A: It plays a major role in the development of the immune system and its regulation. The vitamin has a therapeutic effect in the treatment of various infectious diseases.
Fruits with high Vitamin A: Mango, watermelon, papaya, and apricot.
Foods abundant in Vitamin A: Cod liver oil, sweet potato, carrots, blackeyed peas, spinach, broccoli, red pepper, and pumpkin.
- Vitamin D: It plays a major role in regulating the autoimmunity. Sunlight is a major source of Vitamin D.
Foods rich in Vitamin D: Salmon, herring and sardines, cod liver oil, tuna, egg yolk, and mushrooms.
Vegetarian foods that are abundant in Vitamin D: Dairy products, oranges, soy milk, and cereals.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It helps to prevent cells from the damage of free radicles. It helps the immune system to fight infections.
Fruits rich in Vitamin E: Avocado, mango, kiwi, blackberries, black currents, olives, and almonds.
Foods high in Vitamin E: Nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ, and dark green leafy vegetables.
- Folic Acid: It is a synthetic form of Folate, a vitamin B that helps make and repair DNA. So, the deficiency of this vitamin can affect immunity. Here are foods that you can include in your diet to increase the intake of folic acid.
Fruits with high Folate: Citrus fruits, avocados, and banana.
Food with high Folate: Leafy vegetables, eggs, beans, broccoli, and milk.
- Iron: Iron is responsible for the proliferation and maturation of certain immune cells, such as lymphocytes. Add these foods to your diet to boost your iron intake.
Fruits high in Iron: Apples, banana, pomegranate, and dry fruits.
Food high in Iron: Liver, red meat, chicken, seafood, lentils, beans, and breakfast cereals.
- Zinc: It is required to make proteins and DNA. It also helps to fight off infection. Eat these foods which are abundant in zinc.
Fruits high in Zinc: Pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, avocado, blackberries, pomegranate, apricot, peaches, and kiwi.
Foods high in Zinc: Yogurt, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, oats, buckwheat, rice, quinoa, and amaranth.
So, eat healthy food, exercise regularly, and boost your immune system to stay fit and fine.