Boost Immunity Naturally with 5 Key Nutrients

Boost immunity naturally with these 5 key nutritients that you can find in whole plant foods and animal proteins. Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, they give you protection against harmful pathogens. The fibre in plant foods feeds gut microbiome, the community of healthy bacteris in your gut. Healthy gut biome improves immunity and keeps harmful pathogens from entering your body via your digestive tract.

Your immune systems needs these five key nutrients to perform at its optimum. Here I have listed the key nutrient with the food that contain high levels of these nutrients.

  1. Zinc

An essential mineral that plays many vital roles in the body to keep you healthy. Your body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, so you need to obtain it through foods or supplements. It aids growth, DNA synthesis and immune function and it’s here where it produces certain immune cells that help fight off bacteria and viruses. Low levels of zinc can impair your immunity, so it’s important to stay topped-up nutritionally.

Top food sources of zinc include: Oysters (52mg of zinc per 6 oysters), Beef steak (15mg of zinc per 5oz/142gr), Chicken Leg (5mg zinc per thigh and leg), Lean pork chop (4mg of zinc per 6oz/170gr), Hemp seeds (3mg zinc per 2tbs), Lentils (3mg zinc per cup), Oatmeal (2mg zinc per cup). The recommended daily value of zinc is 11gm men, 9mg women, 11mg pregnant women, 12mg lactating women.

2. Vitamin C 

An essential water soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to flight free radicals which are unstable molecules that are known to damage the immune system. It is also required by the body to develop and maintain scar tissue, blood vessels and cartilage. Evidence shows this vitamin C helps boost immunity.

Top food sources of Vitamin C include: Guavas (377mg Vit C per cup), Kiwifruit (167mg Vit C per cup), Capsicum (152mg per cup), Strawberries (98mg per cup), Oranges (96mg per cup), Papaya (88mg per cup), Broccoli (81mg per cup), Tomatoes (55mg per cup cooked), Kale (53mg per cup), Snow peas (38mg per cup). The recommended daily value of Vitamin C is 90mg.

3. Vitamin E

An essential fat soluble vitamin that is a powerful antioxidant, preventing oxidative stress to cells from free radicals – just like Vitamin C it helps repair damaged cells. It also protects against heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, alzheimer disease and age related eye damage.

Top food sources of Vitamin E include: Sunflower seeds (7.4mg per 1oz/2tbs handful), Almonds ( 7.3mg per 1oz/2tbs handful), Avocado 4.2mg per avocado), Spinach (3.7mg per cup cooked), Butternut squash (2.6mg per cup cooked), Kiwifruit (2.6mg per cup), Brocolli (2.3mg per cup cooked), Trout (2mg per fillet), Olive Oil (.6mg per 1tbs), Shrimp (1.9mg per 3oz/85gr). The recommended daily value of Vitamin E is 15mg.

4. Carotenoids

A class of pigment found naturally in many plants, when eaten are converted into Vitamin A. A fat soluble vitamin with high antioxidant properties, it regulates the immune system, promotes good vision, gene transcription, normal growth and development, has strong cancer-fighting properties and supports skin health. They are contained in orange, red and yellow foods.

Top food sources of Carotenoids include: Sweet potato (1096ug per cup baked), Carrots (1329ug per cup cooked), Tuna 1287ug per 6oz/170gr fillet), Butternut squash (1144ug per cup cooked), Spinach (943ug per cup cooked), Cantaloupe (299ug per cup), Lettuce (205ug per cup), Capsicum (198ug per cup cooked), Brocolli (120ug per cup cooked), Grapefruit (106ug per cup). The recommended daily value of Caretenoids is 900ug per day.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A type of essential fatty acid that suppresses inflammation, plays a protective role in immunity, prevents heart disease, stroke and the risk of dementia. Omega-3’s are an integral part of our cell membrane and affect the function of the cells receptors in these membranes. They provide the starting point for making hormones that regulate the clotting of blood and the relaxation and contraction of the artery walls.

Top food sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids include: Flax Seeds (6479mg per 2tbsp), Chia seeds (5064mg per 2tbsp), Salmon (4252mg per 6oz/170gr fillet), Walnuts (2579mg per 2tbsp), Oysters (1346mg per 3oz/85gr serving), Navy beans (322mg per cup), Brussel sprouts (270mg per cup cooked), Avocados (223mg per avocado). The recommended daily value of Omega-3 Fatty Acids is 1600mg per day.

Reference: My Food Data

A healthy immune system can prevent invading pathogens. Your first line of defence is to choose healthy lifestyle practices including a diet high is fruit, vegetables with animal or plant protein. Here is an immune boosting recipe, regular exercise, stress reduction which includes time to unplug and unwind, adequate sleep and  essential hygiene practices.

Stay healthy all year round with these 5 key nutrients that boost immunity naturally.

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