Food to Support your Health and Immunity

Food to Support your Health and Immunity

We have talked generally about how the Mediterranean diet is really healthy. There are specific nutrients which can support immunity. These include Vitamins A,C, E and D, Zinc and Selenium. In addition beta-glucans and lysine (an amino acid), which have antiviral properties.   Good food sources of these important nutrients are:

Vitamin A/Beta carotene

  • oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, pilchards and anchovies.  These can be bought in tins  and you probably have some that are lurking in the back of your cupboard and need eating up  
  • eggs
  • yellow, orange and dark green fruit and veg such as carrots, mango, sweet potato, spinach and broccoli

Vitamin C (all fruit and veg) especially

  • dark coloured berries
  • citrus fruit
  • broccoli, spinach
  • tomatoes

Zinc

  • fish and seafood
  • tofu, miso
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds

Selenium (brazil nuts)

Beta glucans

  • oats and oat bran
  • mushrooms, especially shitake

Lysine

  • eggs, poultry
  • peas, soy
  • cod

Vitamin D is crucial to immunity and in the UK we are prone to sub-optimal vitamin D levels especially during winter.  Where it is safe and allowed get into the sunshine.  There are some vitamin D rich foods such as halibut, salmon, trout and egg yolks.  In terms of supplementation, adults and children can start by taking a conservative daily dose of 1000 IU and 400 IU vitamin D3 respectively.

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