Vitamins play a major role in keeping your immune system strong, fighting against viruses, germs and other harmful substances. The vitamins also help to regulate body’s metabolism and assist in forming bone and tissue.
If you don’t give your body the necessary vitamins it needs, then the immune system collapses and eventually loses its resistance to fight against infection and other diseases. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the main Vitamins that help maintain a healthy and strong immune system and the foods rich in these vitamins.
Five immune boosting foods
1. Vitamin A rich foods
A deficiency in vitamin A is linked to autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. According to researchers, it has to do with our dendritic cells which can send out a “red alert” to stimulate immunity, or a “calm down” message that tones down excessive immunity that can damage the body. The “calm down” message is what makes use of vitamin A. Animal products such fish, fermented cod liver oil, shellfish, liver and butterfat from grass-fed cows are loaded with vitamin A.
2. Vitamin D rich foods
This nutrient also called “sunshine vitamin,”is essential for many metabolic and immunological pathways in the body. With autoimmune conditions — such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis — Th17 cells are out of control. However, vitamin D, in conjunction with Vitamin A can dampen the Th17 inflammatory response.
You can get vitamin D from animal and dairy fats. However, spending about 20 to 60 minutes a day, depending on your complexion also helps. You should also consider getting your vitamin D levels checked every couple of months.
3. Vitamin K2 rich foods
Vitamin K is a potent immune system vitamin which aids coagulation, helping blood to clot, preventing excess loss of blood during an injury or accidents. It is also essential for proper functioning of kidneys and bone growth and and prevents calcification of arteries and other soft tissue.
Foods rich in K2 include Kale, natto (fermented soy), spring onions, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli,prunes, Dairy (fermented), cucumbers and dried basil.
4. Iron rich foods
Many autoimmune diseases are linked to Iron deficiency anemia. One reason is because the intestines absorb a large amount of stored iron, ferritin. And in functional medicine, damage of the gut lining and leaky gut syndrome are preconditions for autoimmunity. But, before dealing with iron deficiency, it’s important that you deal with the underlying gut condition first.
Foods rich in iron include Red meat, pork and poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots, iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas and peas.
5. Micronutrient rich foods
Deficiencies in micronutrients like as selenium, magnesium and zinc can cause several autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease. This is mainly because of chronic inflammation, which decreases the absorption of these vital nutrients.
Foods rich in micronutrients include:
Calcium – Dairy products, almonds, tahini, green leafy vegetables
Magnesium – Nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes, green leafy vegetables
Zinc – Lean meat, chicken, fish, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
Selenium – Brazil nuts, wheatgerm, sunflower seeds, oats
How many of these foods do you consume regularly? Remember: Diet can often be key to healing your body.