The immune system of a well-nourished body is strong enough to keep disease at bay. Surprisingly, it is not the macro-nutrients, but trace elements and micronutrients in the food that increases the resistance to infections, according to a Harvard Health Publications report.
Though the link between malnourishment and a compromised immune system isn’t clear, research has seen that malnourished individuals in poverty stricken areas are more likely to get infections.
Here are some of the nutrients which will boost your immune system:
Selenium: There is research that implies that low selenium levels in individuals are linked to higher risks of bladder, breast, colon, rectum, lung and prostate cancers. Research is currently underway to determine whether the combination of selenium and vitamin E can have an effect on prevention of prostate cancer.
Vitamin A: A deficiency in vitamin A is linked with compromised immunity and a greater risk of contracting infectious diseases.
Vitamin B2: There is no clear evidence regarding how vitamin B2 affects the human immune system, but research suggests that it could improve the ability to fight off bacterial infections in mice.
Vitamin C: Even though this vitamin is touted globally as being an immune-system hero, a lot of the research backing these claims is said to have been poorly designed. It is thought that vitamin C does have benefits but these may be working along with other micronutrients, as opposed to the vitamin being beneficial on its own.
Vitamin D: When skin is exposed to the sun, vitamin D is produced by the body. Research has found that vitamin D evokes an antimicrobial reaction to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. However, the vitamin’s ability to keep other diseases at bay has not been explored in detail yet.
Vitamin E: An increased intake of vitamin E has been found to benefit older people in the way that their antibody reaction to hepatitis B and tetanus after vaccination was improved. However, the same was not the case for vaccines against diphtheria and pneumococcal vaccines.
Zinc: Lack of enough zinc in the body can alter the functioning of the immune cells. Zinc is a trace element that is needed but in moderation (15-25mg a day). Too much of the element can have a harmful effect on the body.
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