If your body is a machine, then food is its fuel. You want to make sure you’re getting high-quality food filled with nutrient-dense vitamins to keep things running smoothly. Proper nutrition is especially important when it comes to your immune system. These four vitamins can help boost your immunity.
Vitamin A is an important immune-boosting vitamin. It’s also critical for vision and essential for the proper functioning of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs. You can get all the Vitamin A you need from food; it’s most prevalent in liver and fish oils, but you can also find Vitamin A in leafy greens, tomatoes, dairy products, carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, and squash — to name a few.
Your body needs Vitamin C to help the immune system do its job. It is a powerful antioxidant that can help direct immune cells, neutrophils, to the site of infection.
Vitamin C also aids in healing wounds; forming scar tissue; repairing cartilage, bones, and teeth; absorbing iron; and making skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it helps block damage caused by free radicals.
While we often only think of citrus fruits, there are many foods that can provide a rich source of Vitamin C. These include: broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Vitamin D is vital to bone health; it helps your body absorb calcium. Recent studies have revealed that it’s also beneficial to the immune system. Vitamin D helps regulate immune responses in the body. A deficiency in Vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity and susceptibility to infection.
Good sources of Vitamin D include: direct sunlight (at least 10-20 minutes per day), fortified milk, oily fish such as salmon, egg yolks, liver, and other fortified foods including some breakfast cereals.
A potent antioxidant, Vitamin E has been found to help control immune function and maintain a healthy immune system, especially in older people. Almonds and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of Vitamin E.
Dietary Vitamins vs. Supplemental Vitamins
Most people can get all the essential nutrients and vitamins they need from a healthy, diverse diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. If you feel you may not be getting enough vitamins from your diet, supplements can help. However, you’ll want to be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.
A Healthy Lifestyle For a Healthy Immune System
While it’s important to incorporate the four vitamins mentioned above, the most important thing you can do to boost your immune system is simply living a healthy overall lifestyle.
Healthy habits that boost immunity include:
- Healthy sleep habits
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding smoking and excess use of alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress
Learn More About Immune Boosting Vitamins with Baptist Health
To learn more about the best vitamins for your immune system, contact your Baptist Health Primary Care provider today to request an appointment.
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