What are immunity building micronutrients? Vulnerability is the core nature of a human body, and hence, it needs constant protection from all kinds of external threats. Luckily, for our convenience, it comes with a natural security system. We call it immunity, and its primary function is to protect our body against infections and diseases. Given the rising burden of conditions in the world, recently to the point of causing a pandemic, it is only natural for people to pay more attention to strengthening their immune system, to lead a healthier life. That brings us to the question, how exactly is the immune system instrumental in warding off ailments?
Mind Your Micronutrients
Ramya Ramachandran, Lactation Consultant and Diabetes Educator says that "a very well-known fact that we often tend to ignore is that the immune system gets affected by what we eat, which means an insufficient quantity of micronutrients in our diets can lead to immune deficiency."
- Micronutrients, especially vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, and B12, folic acid, iron, selenium and zinc are essential to achieve and maintain a highly competent immune system. For instance, vitamins A, C, and E found in colourful fruits and vegetables, help in maintaining the structure and function of the mucus cell lining of the respiratory and the digestive tract that acts as the first line of defence against infections. Whereas, vitamin D found in milk, tuna, salmon etc. teams up with the T cells to fight off infections and diseases.
- Zinc is not naturally found in our body; however, this mineral is quite critical for normal development and functioning of immune cells, which makes it extremely important to be consumed regularly. Another essential micronutrient is called Selenium, which protects our body by helping it detoxify.
- About the B vitamins, including B2, B6, and B12, they work in a group, as well as individually in every cell to accomplish multiple jobs simultaneously. Consuming food with B vitamins is very important for a healthy immune response. Lastly, the consumption of an adequate amount of iron-rich food is critical for healthy immune functions, as deficiency of the same may lead to an impaired immune system.
Immunity and Nutrition
"Depending on the overall condition and competence of the immune system, as a human being grows older, the amount of risk and severity also tends to vary. Multiple factors may influence the immune system and its competence, and that includes nutrition, too. If we look closely, there is an interrelation among nutrition, infection and immunity, the kind in which changes in any of these components can get the others affected" states, Clinical Nutritionist Ramya Ramachandran.
Considering that the looming threat of a fatal virus overtaking our body is still pretty fresh in the air, especially for people with low immunity, due to co-morbidities and old age, it is now more important than ever to work on making our immunity game strong. It is high time we become aware of our immune system, and pay heed to what we eat, to minimize the risk of compromised immunity, and safeguard ourselves from any such diseases.
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