top of page

Nutrients for Healthy Immune Function

Specific vitamins and minerals are required to support cell development, growth, and immune function.


nutrients for healthy immune function

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a vital role in supporting the immune system by increasing the levels of antibodies in the bloodstream. These antibodies are necessary to fight off infections.


Additionally, it assists in the differentiation of white blood cells, which helps the body determine what type of immune protection it needs. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from harmful free radicals.


Food sources include;

green leafy vegetables, broccoli, capsicums, citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, and kiwi fruit.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in supporting the innate immune system, which is our first line of defence against infections. It has also been proven to exhibit antibacterial activity within specific immune cells, protecting against invading bacteria.


Some good food sources of Vitamin D include;

fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, sun-dried mushrooms, and cod liver oil.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a vital role in improving the immune system's functionality by enhancing antibodies' effectiveness in fighting against invading pathogens.


This essential nutrient can be obtained from a variety of food sources such as;

beef liver, sweet potato, carrot, capsicum, pumpkin, spinach, mangoes, and apricots to maintain optimal health.


Zinc

Zinc is essential for supporting immune responses, particularly immune cell development and communication. It regulates the necessary inflammatory response of the immune system during infections and acts as an antioxidant.


Research has shown that a mild zinc deficiency is associated with an imbalance in the functioning of both the adaptive and innate immune responses and an increased risk of infections.


Check out our Zinc Rich Buddha Bowl here.


Food sources include; seafood (especially oysters), beef, pork, chicken, legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs and whole grains.


Selenium

Selenium is a potent antioxidant and can help reduce inflammation, specifically within the respiratory tract.


A diet that is deficient in selenium may result in impaired immune responses and an increased susceptibility to infections.


Food sources include; seafood, organ meats and nuts such as Brazil nuts.


The Importance of Hydration

The Importance of Hydration


Studies indicate that our immune system operates more efficiently when adequately hydrated. The mucous membranes in our mouth require an ample supply of water to generate salivary immunoglobulin A, which acts as one of our initial defences against harmful bacteria and viruses.


Dehydration has been connected to poorer functioning of immune cells, particularly neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that assists in fighting infections. Proper hydration also aids in delivering nutrients and oxygen to cells.


Depending upon your exercise level, weight, pregnancy or breastfeeding status, the amount of water that you should drink may vary; however, aiming to drink at least 2-2.5 litres of water per day is a good starting point.


To maintain optimal hydration, you can add infused water, herbal teas and bone broths to your diet.


References;

1. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 3;9(11):1211.


2. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of Investigative Medicine. 2011 Aug;59(6):881-6.


3. Huang Z, Liu Y, Qi G, Brand D, Zheng SG. Role of vitamin A in the immune system. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2018 Sep 6;7(9):258.


4. Prasad AS. Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells. Molecular medicine. 2008 May;14(5):353-7.


5. Huang Z, Rose AH, Hoffmann PR. The role of selenium in inflammation and immunity: from molecular mechanisms to therapeutic opportunities. Antioxidants & redox signaling. 2012 Apr 1;16(7):705-43..


6. Fortes MB, Diment BC, Di Felice U, Walsh NP. Dehydration decreases saliva antimicrobial proteins important for mucosal immunity. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2012 Oct;37(5):850-9.


7. Chishaki T, Umeda T, Takahashi I, Matsuzaka M, Iwane K, Matsumoto H, Ishibashi G, Ueno Y, Kashiwa N, Nakaji S. Effects of dehydration on immune functions after a judo practice session. Luminescence. 2013 Mar;28(2):114-20.


9. Better Health Channel. Water – a vital nutrient [Internet]. Melbourne: Department of Health, State Government of Victoria; 2021 November 9. Available from



Comments


bottom of page