As the weather turns colder you’re more likely to suffer from coughs and colds so now is a good time to look at all you can do nutritionally to help keep your immune system running in tip-top shape.
Your body has a built-in defence in the form of your immune system. In order to keep your defences up your body relies on good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
A balanced diet is a great start as many nutrients are involved in supporting the immune system. Fruits and vegetables are key players because they provide a variety of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Zinc which contribute to the maintenance of healthy immune function.
Your body relies on a steady source of vitamins, particularly Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables to protect cells from oxidative stress and to help support immune function. Your immune system also has some ‘special forces’ in the form of white blood cells. These cells produce specialised proteins – called antibodies – that seek out and destroy invading viruses and bacteria. Since antibodies are proteins, you need adequate protein in the diet to ensure you’ll be able to manufacture the antibodies your body needs.
Healthy protein foods – like fish, poultry, lean meats, soy foods and low fat dairy products – provide the building blocks that your body needs to make these specialised proteins as well as important vitamins and minerals such as B2, B12, Zinc and copper which contribute to normal immune function.
Eating well really does pave the road to good health. And to help your body in the fight against foreign invaders, your internal ‘army’ needs the best nutrition possible.
Written by Susan Bowerman MS, RD, CSSD, Herbalife’s nutrition expert and registered dietician.