The season is changing and the weather is shifting to colder temperatures and wind. This tends to bring upon that “under the weather” feeling that almost feels like a right of passage anytime the seasons change. Luckily, you don’t have to surrender to a seasonal cold or flu every year. Prepping your immune system with the proper superfoods and supplements will give your body the protection it needs to fight off any airborne illnesses that blow past you this time of year.
What Vitamins Boost Your Immune System?
Vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, Selenium, Iron, and Zinc are all immune boosting powerhouses present in many everyday foods you may already be eating. They also increase the vitamin absorption of other foods you eat with them, which is why they are considered a “super” food.
Food is medicine. Feed your body the good stuff it needs and it will thank you by fighting off any intruders that want to get cozy inside your system. Below are the eight important nutrients that fend off airborne enemies.
This vital nutrient maintains the mucus barriers in your lungs, gut, and eyes which help naturally trap bacteria bacteria and inhibit it from entering into your body. Vitamin A also supports the creation and function of your white blood cells, working to clear any bacteria that did manage to enter your body and make its way into your bloodstream.
This antioxidant vitamin B6 serves as an anti-inflammatory agent that relieves stress from the brain, nervous, and immune system, keeping the body healthy and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Vitamin C, the most commonly known immune boosting vitamin, strives to defend your body from potential infections. It helps clear out immune cells in your body that have died in order to make room for and replace them with new, strong cells. They also function as antioxidants and fend off oxidative stress damage and free radicals.
The ultimate-protective vitamin, vitamin D rushes to the front lines and fights off pathogens by protecting your white blood cells. It also decreases inflammation, which takes pressure off of your body and gives it more resources to fight off external enemies.
This powerful antioxidant fights off infection by protecting your cells from damage. Vitamin E also serves to repair any damaged cells and help them to live longer, which aids in the prevention of degenerative diseases and high blood pressure.
Selenium works to lower the oxidative stress in your body and reduce any inflammation, which in turn strengthens your bodily immune system. Healthy amounts of selenium in the body have been known to also defend against or limit the effects of influenza, asthma, tuberculosis, and Hepatitis C.
The mineral iron helps transport oxygen to the blood, which works to create immune cells and lengthen their lifespan. More oxygen and more healthy immune cells leads to a healthy defense system.
Increasing your zinc intake supplies your body with the resources it needs to develop your immune cells, protect against respiratory tract infections, and even minimize recuperation time if you are already sick.
What Foods Contain These Vitamins?
Here are many of the nutrient dense-foods that have sky-high vitamin content:
Vitamin A - Broccoli, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Black-eyed Peas
Vitamin C - Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Peppers
Vitamin B6 - Tuna, Blackstrap Molasses, Avocados, Grass-fed Beef, Chickpeas
Vitamin D - Wild-caught Salmon, Sardines, Eggs, Mushrooms
Vitamin E - Avocados, Almonds, Butternut Squash, Spinach, Olive Oil
Selenium - Brazil Nuts, Sardines, Grass-fed Beef, Eggs
Iron - Spirulina, Dark Chocolate (70%+ cacao), Beef Liver
Zinc - Lamb, Pumpkin Seeds, Cocoa Powder, Kefir, Chickpeas
Here is a great superfood recipe for Spicy Avocado Dill Dressing. Drizzle it on top of a bed of vitamin packed veggies and top with seared salmon for a millionaire meal.