Missing work or college because of nagging cold, flu and fever? Maybe the answer lies in weakened immune functions that reduce the body’s capacity to fight off viruses and bacteria. Although the immune system works effectively in protecting the body against disease-causing microorganisms but at times it might get weak due to lack of nutrients, stress or excessive use of medication. No need to worry because it is possible to improve the functions of the immune system through introduction of micro nutrients in the form of multivitamins and minerals in the diet. There are lot many mineral required for proper immune system function.
Effective Tips to Boost your Immune System
Consider some of the mineral required for proper immune system function from the following. Some healthy lifestyle changes along with a control on addiction can go a long way in maintaining optimum functions of the immune system.
- Eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and omega 3 fatty acids
- Avoid alcohol and smoking
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Control mental stress through yoga and meditation
- Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily
- Sleep for at least 8 hours
- Lower the intake of refined sugar
- Maintain healthy weight
Important Vitamins and Minerals for Proper Immune Functioning
Adequate intake of vitamins and minerals through a well-planned diet is extremely important to promote immune functions and reduce the risk of cancer, AIDS and autoimmune diseases.
This fat-soluble vitamin functions as one of the most efficient immune system boosters. It prevents infections by promoting the functions of T cells, B cells and cytokines. It helps in protecting against viral infections, measles, common cold, flu, etc. and enhances the functions of white blood cells. It also maintains proper functioning of skin cells and cells lining the airways, digestive tract and urinary tract that work as a barrier against bacteria and viruses. Deficiency of vitamin A lowers immunity and increases the risk of infectious diseases.
The benefits of vitamin C for health need no new emphasis. It functions as a powerful antioxidant that helps to increase vitamins and the immune system by stimulating the production and functions of white blood cells – the vital component of the immune system. White blood cells locate, engulf and destroy the foreign bacteria and viruses that enter the body. It helps in regenerating vitamin E – yet another effective antioxidant. The severity of cold, flu, fever and respiratory tract infections can be reduced with the help of vitamin C. It also helps in relieving allergies.
The benefits of Vitamin D for absorption of calcium and improving bone health are well known. It is an extremely important nutrient for boosting vitamins and the immune system as well. Deficiency of vitamin D has been shown to increase the risk of developing auto-immune diseases, cancer, cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes. Vitamin D reduces the risk of influenza, throat infections, fever and cough. Our skin is capable of producing vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, therefore, make it point to spend at least 15 minutes in the sun on a daily basis.
The functions of Vitamin E as a powerful antioxidant are well known. It helps to boost immunity and reduce the risk of developing infectious diseases. The immunosuppressive property of vitamin E helps in treating auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It protects cells against the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress and reduces the risk of cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and cataract.
B complex vitamins are extremely important to strengthen the immune system. The health benefits of vitamin B6 includes maintenance of healthy cognitive functions, formation of red blood cells and breaking down of digestive proteins. It helps in synthesizing the antibodies that fight the disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Deficiency of vitamin B6 can hinder the maturation of T and B cells. Vitamin B6 is also needed for protein breakdown and cell growth.
This trace mineral functions as one of the essential nutrients to boost the immune system. Zinc maintains proper functions of the immune cells and a deficiency of zinc leads to troubled cell functioning. It helps in restoring the defense of the immune system and relieves cold, sore throat and heals wounds. However, it is best to take 100 mg of zinc till 3 months to improve your immune system because high dosage of zinc can be harmful and can also lead to immunosuppressive.
Selenium is the ultimate immunity boosting nutrient, and the survival of patients suffering from AIDS depends on the presence of this mineral in serum. Deficiency of selenium has been shown to increase the risk of various types of cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. It improves the defense mechanism of the immune system and helps in keeping away disease-causing pathogens. The best way to maximize the benefits of selenium is to combine it with vitamin E supplements.
Magnesium is an extremely important mineral that helps in proper functioning of vital organs such as heart and kidney. Deficiency of magnesium leads to impaired immune functions and trigger chronic inflammation that increases the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, etc. Magnesium also regulates the level of other nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, zinc and therefore it is important to have enough magnesium to metabolize these nutrients.
The most important function of iron is that it helps in transporting oxygen throughout the body. It promotes the production of hemoglobin, the carrier of oxygen present in red blood cells. Deficiency of red blood cells not only leads to anemia, but also increases exhaustion and reduces the ability of the immune system to fight infection causing viruses and bacteria. Iron is also required for proper functioning of immune cells – neutrophils and lymphocytes.
Copper plays a very important role in improving immunity by destroying foreign microbes. It promotes the functions of immune cells that attack and destroy foreign bacteria and viruses. Copper is essential for optimum utilization of iron in the body. It also improves enzymatic reactions and functions of connective tissues. But too much of this metal is harmful to health and therefore it is best to take copper supplements as per physician’s instructions.
Vitamins and minerals play an extremely important role in boosting the functions of the immune system and it is necessary to include these micro nutrients in the daily diet either through foods or in the form of supplements in order to optimize immune functions.
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