Your immune system is your first line of defense against various diseases, and it’s essential to keep it strong and healthy. Although most people know, at least in theory, the most basic do’s and don’ts necessary for strengthening their immunity and maintaining its healthy function, immunodeficiency isn’t a rare condition, mainly because this system is complex and multilayered, which means that it requires a balance of its numerous entities in order to function properly.

There are various factors which affect your immunity, and a proper diet is among the most important ones because it’s a source of vitamins, organic compounds that have a profound effect on the immune response. Let’s see how these essential nutrients can fortify your immune system and reinforce your body’s natural defenses.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays an important role in protecting cells from the damage caused by oxidation, stimulating growth, and preventing macular degeneration thus saving your vision. When it comes to boosting immunity, it has been established that vitamin A is crucial for a healthy gut lining and balanced microbiome, which is, in turn, responsible for your immune system.

Research studies have shown that 70% of the immune system is situated in the gut, so it’s only logical that by maintaining a healthy gut, you’re also taking care of your immune system. Vitamin A is naturally found in salmon, cod liver oil, eggs, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, fortified cereals, and fruits such as apricots and mangos.

Vitamin C

Despite some opposing evidence, vitamin C is still regarded as one of the most important immunity boosters. Its antioxidant properties are important for keeping inflammation caused by oxidation at bay, thus preventing heart disease and cancer. It can also help wounds heal faster and neutralize the effects of toxic chemicals and air irritants. The human body can’t produce or store vitamin C, which is why it needs to be taken on a daily basis through various foods and supplements.

Citrus fruits, spinach, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers are the best sources of vitamin C, but taking supplements is also a good idea especially when you have to ramp up its levels quickly. Since not all supplements contain the same amount of the active ingredient, make sure to shop only in stores that sell high-quality vitamins online and always read the labels.  

Vitamin D3

There are several types of vitamin D, and D3 is significantly more powerful than D2 for increasing the levels of this vitamin in your body. It’s commonly known as the enhancer of calcium and phosphorus absorption, which means that it’s indispensable for strong, healthy bones. The fact that its deficiency has been linked to several autoimmune diseases is a clear indicator of this vitamin’s importance.

Your body produces vitamin D through sun exposure, which means that people who spend a lot of time indoors are at a greater risk of suffering from its deficiency. Although certain foods, such as mackerel, salmon, and cod liver oils, are rich in this vitamin, supplements are an excellent option in this case as they make sure that your daily intake meets nutritional requirements.

Vitamin E

This vitamin is mainly known for its beauty benefits. You can use it to hydrate and rejuvenate your skin, as well as promote hair growth.  Being an antioxidant, vitamin E helps in neutralizing free radicals responsible for cell damage and improper immune response. In other words, vitamin E can enhance the immune system and reduce susceptibility to various infectious diseases.

This vitamin is a potent ally in fighting off cancer cells, while foods rich in vitamin E can lower the risk of heart disease.Some sources say that it’s also effective for controlling the levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood. To stock up on vitamin E, fill your pantry with nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, and fortified cereals.  

Vitamin B complex

This complex of eight vitamins has numerous health benefits, and there’s strong evidence that B6 and B12, in particular, promote cell growth, supercharge the immune system, and help it destroy pathogens. Research studies suggest that supplementation of vitamin B6 can help HIV patients strengthen their immune system.

The fact that all B vitamins are soluble in water means that the human body can’t store them, so it’s important to prevent deficiency by a regular intake and supplementation. Different types of vitamin B can be found in eggs, liver, lentils, black beans, spinach, salmon, sunflower seeds, meat, poultry, and soy-based meat substitutes.

These 5 vitamins are the ABC of a strong immune system and they are the key to warding off disease and living a long, healthy life.

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