In order to protect our body from pathogens, viruses, and microorganisms that enter the body from the outside, the immune system that protects the body itself is of paramount importance. When this immune function is lowered, the ability to defend the body from potential or superficial risk factors that threaten our body is weakened, and various infectious and chronic diseases can occur, and the risk of cancer and other serious diseases is also increased. I can say that it will.
In order to manage and maintain this important immunity, it is important to have a lifestyle that harmonizes with factors such as steady aerobic exercise, proper management and relieving of stress, which is the main culprit that disturbs the immune system, sufficient rest, sleep, and eating habits. Among them, a diet composed of beneficial nutrients in the body that helps the smooth operation of various immune cells such as B cells, T cells, and NK cells and maintains metabolic homeostasis is the most essential element to be implemented first in order to increase immunity. no see. So today, let’s take a look at various essential nutrients that directly affect immunity enhancement through metabolic activation and help virtuous cycle.
Nutrients that boost immunity
1. Vitamin C
The intake of vitamin C is very important for the normal functioning of the metabolism and for strengthening the immune system. Among them, vitamin C is essential for maintenance and homeostasis of immune function because it is directly involved in supporting and bonding each organ and tissue in the body while having an excellent action in antioxidant action to protect the body from free radicals and inhibit oxidation. You could say it works. In addition, it plays an important function in preventing vascular diseases through inhibition of platelet aggregation, relaxation of blood vessels, and lowering of LDL cholesterol levels, as well as protecting the skin from UV rays and promoting collagen synthesis. It is also a nutrient that plays an important role in helping to promote overall health. Vitamin C is found in large amounts in citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, and lemons, as well as in various foods such as broccoli, paprika, strawberries, green peppers, kohlrabi, and mangoes. However, vitamin C has a weak property to heat, so when heat above 70℃ is applied, the structure of vitamin C is broken. Therefore, it can be said that the most effective way to consume vitamin C is to consume it without heating as much as possible.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, a type of fat-soluble vitamin that dissolves in fat, is a nutrient that plays an important role in immune response because it helps maintain the normal function of immune cells such as T cells and B cells. In addition, it helps the kidneys to reabsorb calcium and phosphate, so it is a nutrient that plays an important role in strengthening bones and strengthening bone density. When this vitamin D is deficient in the body, it is important to ensure that you consume enough of it because the physiological functions of the body are affected, and the incidence of various chronic diseases and cancer increases.
Vitamin D is found in egg yolks, including salmon, blue-green fish, and shiitake mushrooms. It has the characteristics of fat solubility and a stable structure as a biological element, so it has the advantage that the amount of loss is small even after cooking and long-term storage. Vitamin D also has the characteristic of being synthesized in the body through sunlight in addition to ingestion as food. The reason vitamin D is also called the sunlight vitamin can be attributed to these properties.
Beta-carotene, a member of the carotenoid family, has the advantage of being a powerful antioxidant. It suppresses various harmful and toxic substances and at the same time neutralizes free radicals that cause oxidation, thereby playing an important role in the normal operation of immune function. In addition, beta-carotene has the activity of vitamin A during body absorption, so it effectively regulates the function of biological membranes, and it is also a component that has a beneficial effect on improving eye function by participating in the normal production of rhodopsin, a photosensitive pigment in the retina. Beta-carotene is found in carrots, spinach, mugwort, lettuce, kale, bananas, apricots, mangoes, grapefruit, and various vegetables and fruits, as well as seaweeds such as seaweed and green onions. In addition, beta-carotene, like vitamin D introduced earlier, has a fat-soluble characteristic, so when consumed raw, the absorption rate is about 8%, but it is reported that the absorption rate reaches 60-70% when cooked with oil. .
Selenium is a trace mineral for the effective functioning of the immune system. It is in charge of slowing aging and protecting cells from free radicals that cause cell membrane damage with strong antioxidant power, which causes degeneration of body tissues. In addition, it is a micronutrient that performs an essential function for the enhancement of immune function as it excels in detoxifying toxic substances, which are the main risk factors for various chronic diseases and cancer. Since selenium deficiency can cause damage to the heart muscle, including deterioration of the body’s internal organs, it is important to consistently consume foods with a high content ratio. Selenium is known to be abundant in garlic, organ meats such as liver, and various foods such as shrimp, sea bream, tuna, and Brazil nuts. However, even with selenium with such excellent functions, excessive intake of selenium can cause severe fatigue due to toxicity, and it can cause problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin rash, nervous system abnormality, and nail damage, so it is important to consume properly.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient for the body’s immune system as it not only functions as an enzyme involved in the synthesis of essential nutrients in the body, such as proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids, but also plays a role in the normal synthesis and maintenance of immune cells that perform immune functions. Since it is also involved in the action of insulin, which regulates the influx of glucose into fat cells, it can be said to play an important role in the management of diabetes through blood sugar control.
When zinc is insufficient in the body, it not only damages body tissues and organs, but also causes problems in performing the normal functions of various immune cells. Therefore, it is important to consistently eat various foods such as oysters, pork, beef, eggs, eel, crab, almonds, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds that are rich in content. In addition, whole grains such as oats and brown rice, and legumes such as peas, which have not been refined, are known to have high zinc content, so eating these foods evenly is an effective way to consume zinc.