A truly healthy immune system depends on a balanced healthy diet over time. It’s like training for a battle and preparing your body ahead of time so it can through a good punch when attacked by viruses, bacteria and toxins. Other lifestyle practices such as regular exercise and good sleep will better prepare you for the battle.
With some exceptions, it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from your food rather than in pill form. Smith shares some tips for some of the top vitamins and minerals your immune system needs to perform:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C may help prevent infections or shorten their stay. Citrus fruits are a standout, but did you know there are other good sources? It’s true! Smith recommends the following:
- Bell peppers.
- Brussels sprouts.
Fun fact: vitamin C is in so many foods that most people may not need to take supplements unless a doctor advises it. Consult with your doctor before taking any vitamin C supplements.
2. Vitamin E
Like vitamin C, vitamin E can be a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. This important vitamin — part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in your body — is critical in how your immune system functions. To get your vitamin E, think high-fat plant foods such as:
- Peanuts/peanut butter.
- Sunflower seeds.
- Oils such as sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil.