Our body is constantly in contact with bacteria, viruses, radiation and pollution. Therefore, we need a strong defense system to protect us from getting ill. Strong and healthy defense systems consist of the intact physical defense system (skin and mucous layer) and the healthy immune system.
To boost our immune system, we can adopt a healthy lifestyle and focus on nutrient-rich food in our daily lives. In this post, we will be discussing the importance of maintaining our immune system at a healthy state and also the variety of fruits that contain essential vitamins to maintain a healthy immune system.
What Is Considered A Healthy Immunity?
A strong immune system is critical to keep you healthy all year long and especially to protect you during the flu season. On a daily basis, we are constantly exposed to potentially harmful substances or viral infections that will make us fall sick. A healthy immune response system recognizes and neutralizes these harmful substances from the environment should they enter into our body such as bacteria, viruses and also pollutants.
People with poor immune health will have a higher risk of getting sick when they are exposed to cold or flu viruses, having frequent infections, longer lasting or have an allergic reaction that affects the body, leading to long recovery time.
What Vitamins Strengthen the Immune System?
Eating enough nutrients as part of a varied diet is required for the healthy function of all cells, including our immune cells.There are many vitamins and minerals that can help to strengthen our immune system, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, Zinc, Selenium and many more. Out of all of these immune boosters, vitamin C is one of the commonly discussed and widely available vitamins that we can obtain through fruits, vegetables and also through supplementation. Besides being an immune booster, vitamin C is also needed for growth and repair of all tissues in our body, which is an important function for wound healing.
Although Vitamin C is present in so many foods, the amount of consumption might still be inadequate probably due to lifestyle habits and poor food choices such as constantly consuming food that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, while not taking in important nutrients.
Here are a few examples of fruits that are widely available which contain high amounts of vitamin C:
Orange is a widely eaten fruit that makes up a significant portion of vitamin C daily intake. Commonly available in households, it is a go-to fruit to prevent or reduce the likelihood of a cold. Oranges contain 59 mg of vitamin C per 100 gram.
In addition to vitamin C content, apples contain quercetin, a type of antioxidants that helps to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Just like oranges, grapefruits are also a great source of vitamin C. However, grapefruits interact with statin, which is a medication that helps to lower cholesterol level therefore both should not be taken together. Besides vitamin C, grapefruits also contain significant amounts of vitamin A and fibre.
Besides vitamin C, strawberries also contain an excellent amount of manganese, folate and potassium, which are the most abundant vitamins and minerals in strawberries. They are also loaded with antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds.
Not only does it have a higher content of vitamin C than orange, with 228mg of vitamin C per 100mg of fruit, guava is also loaded with other nutrients that are beneficial to us. One of the key nutrients in guava is fibre, which is known to help with digestion and ease the symptoms of constipation.
Often labelled as superfood, blueberries are high in antioxidants and contain anthocyanin, which is a type ofplant flavonoid. These powerful antioxidants may help protect cells against damage from disease-linked free radicals.
Pineapples are loaded with vitamin C and manganese. It also contains a group of digestive enzymes called bromelain that breaks down protein molecules and aids in digestion.
Besides taking in vitamin C rich fruits, there are also multiple ways to strengthen our immune system by changing our daily lifestyles such as:
- Find relaxing ways to cope with stress levels
- Exercise regularly or increase your physical activity
- Eating a balanced diet
- Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a day
- Avoid smoking and minimize consumption of alcohol
While citrus fruits may be the most well-known source of vitamin C, you can also find a wide variety of other fruits and food sources that are rich in Vitamin C such as peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. A diet rich in vitamin C is an essential step toward positive health benefits and disease prevention.
- Hill, C. (2022, May 10). 20 foods that are high in Vitamin C. Healthline. Retrieved October 10, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_21
- Whitbread, D. (2022, September 27). Top 10 foods highest in Vitamin C. myfooddata. Retrieved October 11, 2022, from https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/vitamin-c-foods.php
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