Ways to boost the immune system | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 15, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:23 AM, September 15, 2020

Health & fitness

Ways to boost the immune system

The best way to boost our immune system is through our daily food intake. Some vitamins and minerals contain a plethora of immune boosting properties.

Vitamin C is one such great source and citrus fruits are a powerhouse of this vitamin. Good sources are orange, lemon, lime, strawberry, and red bell pepper.

Increasing our intake of vitamin E is another effective way to boost the immune system. Some common food sources are nuts, spinach, broccoli, tomato, kiwi, and mango. 

Next in line of immune boosting components is vitamin A. Other than improving the functionality of our immune system, it is also known to aid in maintaining healthy vision and body growth. Vitamin A can be found plentiful in almost all food groups including poultry, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Cheese, butter, sweet potato, carrot, lettuce, egg, and papaya are excellent options.  

Vitamin D is another vital type of vitamin that amplifies the functionality of the body's immune system. The best source of vitamin D is exposure to direct sunlight for a specified time. However, if that is not possible, food such as oily fish, salmon, canned tuna, egg yolk, and mushroom prove as a source for vitamin D.

Last in our arsenal of immune boosting vitamins is vitamin B6. Not only does this optimise one's immunity, but also allows the body to store and use energy received from food. Dairy products such as milk and cheese, fishes such as salmon and tuna, vegetables such as green peas and spinach, fruits including banana and avocado, and legumes like chickpea contain a bounty of vitamin B6.

While these five types of vitamins can enhance the immune system, there are a few minerals that make noteworthy contributions too.

Zinc is the number one mineral to perform this task and it can be found readily in almost all food groups. Red meat, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains, dairy food, and eggs all contain ample amounts of zinc.

Iron also plays an integral role in carrying oxygen throughout our body alongside boosting the immune system. Iron-rich food sources include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and cruciferous vegetables. 

Last in the list of immune boosters is a mineral called selenium, found in milk, yoghurt, eggs, chicken, oats, garlic, and lentils contain selenium in plenitude. 

Eating a combination of food from the major food groups, while creating a colourful platter, will automatically boost the immune system and assist in maintaining a balanced diet.

Photo: LS Archive/ Sazzad Ibne Sayed

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