Immunity is the body’s strong defense system to protect itself. When various bacteria and viruses introduced from the outside penetrate the primary protective barriers such as tears, mucous membranes, skin keratin, and digestive juices, immune cells such as white blood cells, lymphocytes, and phagocytes are activated to remove external antigens. . Therefore, in order for these immune cells to function actively, it is important to have a variety of lifestyle habits, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate stress relief. In particular, depending on the composition of the foods you eat every day, it can be said to be a measure that determines the normal operation of the immune system. Oily foods, various chemical seasonings, and various foods containing fructose inhibit the activation of immune cells, so it is important to reduce intake. Also, it is very important to have a balanced intake of various nutrients that help improve immunity. Now, let’s take a closer look at the types of foods that are essential for strengthening immunity.
Nutrients good for immunity
1. Vitamin C
A balanced intake of various nutrients is important to help the immune system function normally, and vitamin C intake is essential. Vitamin C, one of the water-soluble vitamins, is one of the excellent antioxidants and plays a role in protecting our body from free radicals that damage the immune system by indiscriminately attacking normal cells. In addition, vitamin C is involved in the formation of tissues that support our body and connective tissue, and at the same time protects the health of the skin and gums, and is effective in restoring blood vessel function damaged by oxidative stress. It is known that vitamin C is abundantly contained in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, and in various foods such as strawberries, kiwi, guava, green pepper, red pepper, acerola, camu camu fruit, and kakadu plum.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, a type of fat-soluble vitamin, is also an essential nutrient for immune management. It is said that it helps the thymus to produce immune cells and contributes to the activation, effectively defending and removing various foreign antigens when they enter the body. In addition, vitamin D not only increases the absorption rate of calcium in the body, but also has excellent efficacy in strengthening NK cells that only remove cancer cells. Vitamin D is contained in salmon, herring, shiitake mushrooms, milk, cheese, butter, and eggs. For more effective synthesis and absorption in the body, exposure to sunlight for a certain amount of time a day is important.
3. Vitamin E
Like vitamin D, vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin, is well known as an excellent immunity-boosting nutrient. It neutralizes free radicals, the main culprit of cell damage, and stabilizes the immune system, as well as effective in preventing cellular aging by maintaining cell membranes. Vitamin E is also known to have an excellent effect in normalizing the function of T lymphocytes, one of the immune cells. Vitamin E is abundantly found in various foods such as nuts and seeds, blue-green fish, green vegetables, and avocados.
4. Beta Carotene
Beta-carotene, a type of carotenoid, is also an important nutrient to help stabilize the immune system. It plays a role as provitamin A, which is converted to retinol in our body, and plays an important role in protecting cells by preventing damage to cells in the body from free radicals. In addition, the ability to neutralize harmful carcinogens and toxic substances with strong antioxidant action is also the benefit obtained from ingestion of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is contained in large amounts in carrots, spinach, red pepper, kale, mango, apricots, bananas, seaweed, green onions, seaweed, and kelp.
Micronutrient intake is also essential for effective management of immunity. Micronutrients play an important role in reducing the body’s excessive inflammatory response and helping the immune cells interact smoothly. Although micronutrients are in very small amounts, they cannot be synthesized in the body, so they must be ingested from outside. Zinc, one of the representative micronutrients, plays an excellent role in the activation and growth of immune cells and suppressing viruses. Zinc is abundant in shellfish, meat, and whole grains that have not been refined, and it is recommended to consume within a range that does not exceed the recommended daily intake of 15 mg.
Selenium, which plays an important role in the immune function of our body along with zinc, is said to play an excellent role in enhancing the body’s detoxification and immune functions through its powerful antioxidant action. In addition, selenium has been proven to have an excellent effect in regenerating damaged cells caused by free radicals and at the same time preventing the degeneration and aging of body tissues due to free radicals. In addition, selenium is known to strengthen the function of the heart and prevent myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, and angina pectoris. Selenium has been designated as one of the essential nutrients by the World Health Organization for its many excellent effects. Selenium content is low in vegetables and fruits, and it is reported that it is abundantly contained in garlic, meat, grains, and eggs.