The key nutrients for a healthy immune system

Posted on: 08 February 2018 by 50connect editorial

As we succumb to another cold spell, it's important to know which nutrients you need to support your immune system and fight against flu.

OrangesWith so many products and supplements available trying to include them all in your diet can be confusing and near impossible. The following list outlines the key nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and where to find them.

Vitamin C

The best way to make sure you get plenty of vitamin C is to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day. Foods especially rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits and fruit juices, red peppers, broccoli, guava and kiwi fruit so try and include at least one of these foods in your 5 a day.

Zinc

Good sources of zinc include red meat, shellfish and wholegrain cereal and wheat germ.

Vitamin D

Is found in very few foods which are why Public Health England recommends that in the winter everyone should consider taking a supplement. These can be in the form of additional supplements such as Holland and Barrett’s Vitamin D3 or in Gummy formats now at Healthspan.

Vitamin B6

Good sources include pork, chicken, peanuts, wholegrain cereals, wheatgerm, and green vegetables.

Folate

Good sources include broccoli, fortified breakfast cereals, spinach and chickpeas.

Selenium

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are an excellent source but Selenium can also found in fish and chicken.

Iron

Red meat is the best source of iron because it contains iron in a form which is more easily absorbed by the body. If you don’t eat red choose a fortified breakfast cereal such as bran flakes which have had Iron added to help boost your intake. If you also have a small glass of orange at the same time as cereal the vitamin C from the juice changes the chemical structure of the iron which means the body can absorb but to 10 times more vitamin C from the cereal.

Omega-3 fat

Eat oil-rich fish like salmon, mackerel or fresh tuna once a week. If you don’t eat fish you can buy eggs and also chicken which contains omega-3 or consider a supplement. 

Probiotic bacteria

Live yogurts and fermented food like kefir kimchi and sauerkraut.

Prebiotic fibre

A type of fibre which boosts the growth of probiotic bacteria in the gut, found in onions, leeks, garlic, asparagus and bananas.

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