This content has been produced by DeltaV Partners
What is our immune system?
The immune system is precisely that, a system, not a single entity… made up of organs, antibodies, white blood cells, and other chemicals and proteins. It does an amazing job of attacking and destroying substances such as bacteria and viruses that it recognises to be ‘foreign’ and different from the body’s normal healthy tissues.
The need for a strong immune system is clear. When out of sync and unbalanced, we will struggle to fight off infection and disease. In practical terms, this means time off sick, trips to the doctor and a dip in our sense of wellbeing which can lead to a decline in our mental health.
How to build it
Following general good health guidelines is the single best step you can take towards naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy living strategies such as these:
- Managing levels of stress
- Exposing yourself to nature
- Good quality sleep
- Maintaining good levels of personal hygiene
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a balanced, whole and nutritious diet.
As ever, the devil is in the detail so within this article we will explore immune boosting foods and specifically, the vitamins and minerals that are needed.
Evidence suggests that various micronutrient deficiencies, such as deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E alter immune responses. Therefore, the necessity to build these into a healthy diet is clear.
The following table displays the benefits of these essential vitamins and minerals.
|Zinc||Iron||Vitamin E||Vitamin C||Selenium|
Boosts immune health
Reduces your risk of age-related diseases
Speeds wound healing
Preserves many vital functions in the body,
energy and focus
Supports the immune system
Regulates body temperature
which means it helps
protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules
called free radicals
May reduce your risk of chronic disease
May help manage high blood pressure
May lower your risk of heart disease
May reduce blood uric acid levels and help prevent gout attacks
Helps prevent iron deficiency
May reduce your risk of certain cancers
May protect against heart disease
Helps prevent mental decline
Supports thyroid health
Boosts your immune system
Where will we find them?
The following diagram highlights some nutrient-dense foods and the vital vitamins and minerals you’re getting from them.
Forming a new habit takes time and consistency, so look to add in something simple. Here are a few suggestions:
- Make your plate colourful.
- Switch your mind-set around breakfast. Too often we reach for the same choices. Take your time and cook something special.
- Have a nut and seed mix as a daily snack, as opposed to crisps or chocolate.
- Introduce a shake into your diet which has a generous portion of kale, spinach and nuts.
Our top tip!
Many people (not all) will no longer be commuting over the coming weeks, so take this extra time to prepare a healthy and filling breakfast full of the vitamins and minerals above. If your children are at home with you, involve them in the preparation. There’s so many benefits!