In these extraordinary times, staying healthy is now more important than ever. One of the ways to ensure that you are in tip-top shape is to boost immunity. A healthy immune system will not only keep you from most toxins and infections, but it will also help mitigate the effects or symptoms that could land you in the hospital.
Learn the top nutrients you need to boost your immunity, and which food to source them from.
While supplements may help boost your immune system, some supplements come with chemicals or compounds that can interact with your current over-the-counter medication or other prescriptive medicine and may either give you an allergic reaction or reduce the efficacy of your medication. Some supplements may also have chemicals or compounds that may also be unhealthy for you as well without you knowing it, especially if you have a health condition.
A more natural way to get the nutrients you need is in fruits and vegetables. Consuming fruits and vegetables not only provides the top nutrients you need to boost immunity, but also provides many substances that can keep your body strong, healthy, and happy!
Unfortunately, not a lot of people eat enough fruits and vegetables. According to a study from Manila Standard, three out of four Filipinos are not eating the required fruits and vegetables where we are getting top nutrients from. Another survey also showed that people in urban areas like cities are more fond of meats, poultry, and fats as compared to people living in rural areas. Moreover, the same survey also revealed that most households are not meeting the estimated average requirement for some of the top nutrients needed to help boost immunity.
But before we dive in further on how to boost your immunity, we list down the top nutrients first that can help make you stronger and healthier.
Top Nutrients for Better Health
Vitamin C will not be on this list. Vitamin C is often the go-to nutrient for people with colds or flu.
With the resurgence of pathogens and infections that affect the respiratory system, vitamin C is becoming the go-to supplement to help boost immunity. And why shouldn’t you? Vitamin C is thought to boost white blood cells, which are the very things in our body that fight infections 24/7. Moreover, vitamin C aid these white blood cells function more effectively while protecting them from damage by free radicals and other potentially harmful molecules. Vitamin C is also a top nutrient that is needed by the skin. As it is actively transported to the skin, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that strengthens the skin barrier and helps your skin heal faster.
What’s more, people who do not have the right amount of vitamin C levels are not doing well health-wise, and that they recover much faster if they regain their nutrient levels back.
Vitamin C surprisingly can be found in so many fruits and vegetables. While citrus fruits are an obvious choice, you can integrate other vitamin C-rich vegetables like spinach, kale, bell peppers, and brussels sprouts into nutrient-packed dishes such as:
For desserts, do away with the usual ice cream or cake, and instead, switch it with fresh strawberries or a hearty slice of papaya.
Vitamin E is often marketed as a beauty supplement. But did you know that this vitamin offers more than what they are being advertised?
By definition, vitamin E is considered a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infections that threaten the body. Vitamin E is also essential to the body’s processes – it is involved in a whopping 200 biochemical reactions! That is why this top nutrient is critical to your immune system, and that you need to boost immunity to keep your vitamin E levels up with high-fat plant foods. And just like vitamin C, vitamin E also offers similar benefits. As an antioxidant, it also helps reduce free radicals and other molecules that could cause harm to the body, which is why it is touted as a supplement to combat signs of aging.
Vitamin E is evident in nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and hazelnut. If you are not fond of eating them raw or in their natural state, you can gain your nutrient via recipes such as:
Aside from good vision, vitamin A is also a top nutrient for boosting your immune system.
Most people who take vitamin A as a supplement are taking it for good vision. Vitamin A is also introduced in the body topically in aid of skin conditions like acne and wrinkles. Vitamin A is also used as medicine to treat diseases such as measles, dry eyes, to a specific type of leukemia.
On the other hand, vitamin A as a supplement should be taken in moderation, as excess levels of it could cause side effects. It is better to introduce vitamin A into your diet naturally with food such as eggs, whole milk, liver, and fortified skim milk, and cereals.
If you are allergic or have an intolerance to dairy and poultry, for instance, you can always get it from plant-based sources. Dark green leafy vegetables are a great start but do not also forget to get the ones with colors like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and butternut squash.
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is so important nowadays, now that we spend most of our days working, studying, and living our lives at home.
As we continue with our daily lives at home working, studying, and even spending quality time with the people we love, we often forget to even step up and bask in the rays of the sun and get our much-needed vitamin D.
Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for bone health. This is why even newborn babies are exposed to natural light to gain bone strength and mass. Vitamin D also keeps the body from experiencing bone-related diseases like rickets, osteoporosis, and even fractures. The top nutrient is also important in ensuring that the parathyroid glands do not borrow from the skeleton to keep the blood calcium within the normal levels.
Unlike some of the nutrients in this list, it is hard to get vitamin D in your diet. And if you work at night, it can be hard to pencil in time to get your much-needed sunlight, especially if you are living in a hot climate. However, you can get your nutrient from seafood, including salmon, mackerel, tuna, and even sardines. Nowadays, you can also source this nutrient from vitamin D-fortified milk, orange juice, and even cereal.
Your food sources may be limited, but it doesn’t mean you cannot have variety. Here are some healthy recipes that are easy enough to make at home.
Folate and Folic acid
Folic acid is important for pregnant women. For those who are with a child during these trying times, you need all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Both folate and folic acid are considered top nutrients for pregnant women. Aside from boosting the immune system, folate aids the body in producing healthy blood cells. Folic acid not only helps treat depression but also treat uterine cervical dysplasia or abnormal cell growth in the cervix.
Good sources of folate and folic acid include beans, lentils, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas, chickpeas, and kidney brands. You can also get these top nutrients to boost immunity in fortified foods like pasta, bread, and rice.
There is a reason why iron is associated with strength.
Iron, which comes in different forms, has several functions that aid in keeping your immune system healthy. Iron, for one, helps your body carry oxygen to cells. When you have too little iron in your diet, it can cause anemia and then weaken the immune system.
To introduce this top nutrient in the body, there are plenty of sources you can find from the meat, poultry, and even seafood season. Heme iron is abundant in red meat, chicken, turkey, canned sardines, oysters, and clams. On the other hand, you may want to moderate your red meat intake and go for plant-based sources such as beans, broccoli, kale, and iron-fortified cereal.
Selenium plays an important role in preventing infections and inflammations.
Selenium plays an important role in your immune system. This antioxidant helps keep oxidative stress in your body down, which then reduces inflammation and enhances your immunity further. The best sources of selenium are animal sources like meat and liver, seafood, and poultry, but you can also over 100% of the daily value of this top nutrient in a single Brazil nut.
Zinc, when partnered with vitamin C, is a powerful duo against invading bacteria and viruses.
Zinc is a much-needed nutrient in boosting your immune system. It is needed for the production of new immune system cells. Studies also show that zinc affects multiple aspects of the immune system, from the barrier of the skin to gene regulation within lymphocytes.
Although it is easy to get this along with vitamin C in a single-pill supplement, it is always best to get this top nutrient from various sources like oysters, crabs, lean meats, and poultry. You can also source zinc from other food items such as yogurt and chickpeas.
How to Shop for Food and Nutrients That Can Boost Your Immunity Naturally
AllDay Supermarket redefines the grocery experience by offering farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, meats, and even dietary-specific options.
One simple rule when looking for food items that can boost your immunity is by choosing a smorgasbord of fruits and vegetables in different colors. The more colorful your shopping cart, the better. This way, you get as many immunity-boosting vitamins and nutrients as you need to keep your immune system healthy as long as you can. As for your animal sources, the fresher and the leaner the food, the better it is for your health.
Moreover, consistency is the key. Same as with taking vitamins and supplements every day, you should do the same thing with your fruits and vegetables. The more consistent you are in introducing healthy food into your diet, the more opportunities your body gets to enjoy the vitamins and nutrients it brings. You cannot expect that you eat a bountiful salad and then rely on its effects in the next few days while resorting back to your old food habits.
While this may be difficult to keep up, luxury homes and properties at Brittany are well-supported by a one-stop supermarket that offers farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, and so much more.
Since 2014, AllDay Supermarket has been redefining the grocery shopping experience for homeowners who have bought house and lot units, condo for sale, and other properties for sale in all Brittany development locations in the country. Aside from its wide assortment of goods, bigger floor areas, beautiful store interiors, AllDay is proud of its reputable partners and growers, as well their accreditation from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS), to ensure delivery of the freshest meats and produce that the Filipino deserves. Shoppers also have the option to go with organic products by simply switching aisles to the Organic or All-Natural Section, which is also housed in the same, air-conditioned, well-designed location.
If you just bought a condo for sale or any of the lots for sale at a Brittany development and would like to experience the neighborhood, you know that that the only way to fully understand the place is through food. Take advantage of the Paluto section, where you can shop and have it cooked and served exactly the way you like it.
AllDay Supermarket, now with 26 locations across the country, also provides a safer and more convenient experience to its customers nationwide by offering an online shopping website. Residents (and even neighboring areas) can simply head to the AllDay Market website, select their location, and shop not only essential healthy food items but also other items from AllDay’s affiliate brands such as AllHome, AllDay Rx, AllToys, and AllSports, with a same-day delivery to boot.
An important note
No supplement in the world can cure or prevent disease. But eating the right food, couple with good lifestyle habits, can.
With the pandemic still ravaging the world today, it’s important to understand that while the right food, with supplements, diet, lifestyle modifications like social distancing, and proper hygiene practices boost your immunity to a point, it does not mean that you are no longer susceptible to bacteria and viruses. There are still factors like your age, exercise habits, diet, and psychological stress that can affect your immune system. Regardless, these healthy-living strategies make sense because they already come with other proven benefits that could help your body battle infections and other pathogens that can not only threaten your overall health but your way of life.