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The immune system needs minerals and vitamins to function properly. To be protected from a cold and viruses, you should support your immune system. Dietary supplements can help you with this.
Which food supplements for your immune system?
Dietary supplements that can strengthen your immune system contain important trace elements and vitamins. We cannot do without iron, zinc or selenium. However, the body cannot produce these itself and must ingest the elements through food.
The trace element zinc can be involved in the formation and activation of immune cells. Scientists are researching whether zinc can block the docking sites of the common cold virus. With its antioxidant effect, the element can also contribute to cell protection.
A zinc deficiency, but also a zinc excess can have a negative effect on the immune system.
Like other trace elements, the mineral selenium is essential for the body. Many of our enzymes, which can speed up biochemical reactions, are made of this element.
It is important for a functioning immune system, since selenium strengthens the power of our defense cells and can be involved in the regulation of immune and inflammatory reactions.
Iron can participate in the formation of immune cells, which can be important for the defense against pathogens. With a deficiency of the element, the immune response can be weakened.
Iron deficiency is often the result of a disease of the immune system. Bacteria need access to our iron stores to reproduce quickly.
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Copper can contribute to a normal immune and nervous system. It is part of enzymes that can protect our body from free radicals.
The element can also play a role in modeling inflammatory processes in the body and prolonging the lifespan of body cells.
The German Society for Nutrition recommends that healthy adults consume 1 to 1,5 mg of copper a day. This roughly corresponds to the amount in 150 g of nuts.
vitamins for the immune system
In addition to minerals, vitamins are important for protecting our cells and the immune system due to their antioxidant effects.
Vitamin C has properties that may be particularly important for the innate immune system. White blood cells are the defense cells in our body and have a high concentration of the vitamin.
In addition, ascorbic acid can protect our cells from free radicals that can arise during inflammatory reactions.
Vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a hormone. It can be crucial for the formation of immune cells. Without the hormone, defense reactions in the body cannot take place. Vitamin D can influence different immune cells such as B and L lymphocytes, scavenger cells, dendritic cells or neutrophilic granulocytes.
The synthesis of proteins relevant to the immune system can be regulated by the hormone. It can also play a role in the regulation of inflammatory processes.
The group of B vitamins includes vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B12. They form the so-called vitamin B complex, which can help the body to recognize and fight off pathogens.
Vitamin B9 and B12 can support the normal function of the immune system.
Riboflavin (vitamin B) can contribute to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes and iron metabolism. The antioxidant effect can protect cells from oxidative stress, which can weaken the immune system.
Vitamin E may be responsible for the development, function and regulation of immune cells. The antioxidant properties of the vitamin can help protect cell membranes and regulate enzymes.
Our defense system also affects the protection of our skin and mucous membranes. Vitamin A can help protect the skin and mucous membranes of the intestines, lungs and urinary tract from infections and pathogens.
Pay attention to a balanced diet
You can cover your need for minerals, vitamins and macronutrients with a balanced diet. A variety of foods such as vegetables, fruit, milk and whole grain products are important.
Berries are rich in vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants. Purple, blue, or red berries contain anthocyanins, also known as bioflavonoids. These plant compounds are one of the most powerful plant antioxidants. They can ensure that our cells are protected from free radicals. Free radicals can lead to cell aging and disease.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, zinc, folic acid and the fiber pectin.
- Goji berries: These Chinese berries are notable for their vitamin C, A, and E content.
- Aronia berries: In addition to many trace elements such as zinc, iron or magnesium, these berries also contain vitamins A, B, C, E and K.
Garlic can strengthen our immune system. Thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral effect of the ingredient allicin, bacteria and fungi can be destroyed. Therefore, garlic is often referred to as a natural antibiotic.
whole grain products
In addition to supporting the intestines, fiber also supports our immune system. The dietary fiber inulin can promote the growth of bifidobacteria. Among other things, these have the task of inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.
yogurt or kefir
Yoghurt or kefir contain probiotic lactic acid bacteria. These, in combination with vitamin B5 and vitamin B12, can have an anti-inflammatory effect and have a positive effect on the immune system.
Ginger is known as a miracle cure for colds. The medicinal plant contains vitamin C and the minerals iron, calcium and magnesium. The root can have an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect due to the pungent substances it contains.
The circulation-enhancing reaction can lead to a pleasantly warm feeling and a calming of the mucous membranes.
Nuts & seeds
Nuts contain B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, zinc and magnesium. The ingredients primarily lead to the protection of the mucous membranes and strengthen the immune system.
More tips for strengthening the immune system
In addition to foods and supplements, there are other factors that can boost your body's immune system. This includes a healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise, fluids and rest periods.
- Sufficient movement: Endurance training in particular can strengthen the immune system. Jogging, swimming or cycling are excellent sports. The production of natural killer cells and antibodies can be increased with regular exercise.
- Drink a lot: Dry mucous membranes can make it easier for bacteria to spread. Water can also regulate normal functions in the body and can help red blood cells carry enough oxygen to support the lungs.
- Avoiding Stress: In the case of prolonged stress, the specific and non-specific immune defenses can be weakened. The number of immune cells in the blood can decrease, the natural killer cells can be less active and the T-lymphocytes can divide less.
- Enough sleep: Just three hours less sleep can affect your health and make your body more susceptible to disease. It is recommended to sleep at least seven hours a day.