What is the immune system?
The immune system is the body's defence against infection. Although there's much which still isn't completely understood, it's known that leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes physical activity, minimising stress, and eating a good diet will support an strong immune system.
So how does nutrition impact the immune system?
A good diet will help you consume the recommended daily intakes (RDAs) for all essential nutrients. Essential nutrients need to be consumed because your body does not make them. If you're deficient in certain vitamins and minerals then this could lead to a weaker immune system.
Some of the most important nutrients in relation to the immune system are:
Vitamin C - Helps white blood cell production & function
Vitamin D - Impacts how immune cells function
Vitamin E - Powerful antioxidant and protects immune cells
Zinc - Helps regulate immune function
Selenium - Antioxidant which reduces inflammation
Protein - Necessary to repair damaged cells
Essential fats - Omega 3's important in immune cell regulation
Protein - Important in building the immune system.
Following general good-health guidelines is the best way to keep your immune system strong. A balanced diet with a particular focus on adequate micronutrient intake, i.e. vitamins and minerals, as well as major macronutrients like protein and essential fatty acids are key to supporting the immune system with nutrition.