Catching every cold going? Not throwing them off quickly? Your immune system does an amazing job, but it does need the right fuel. If you are susceptible to bugs, or generally feeling just ‘rubbish’, it may be time for a food audit.
Here are the top five vitamins that your immune system needs - and where to get them.
Vitamin C is vital for immune function. It comes from fruit and vegetables, and anyone getting somewhere near their ‘five a day’ will get all the vitamin C they need. The body cannot store this vitamin so a daily fruit or veg intake is important.
This is one of the few vitamins that humans can make for themselves. All we need is summer daylight on skin and the magic happens. Getting enough vitamin D is a balance between sun exposure and sunburn, and we can’t make it in the UK between October and April. That’s the time for a supplement.
This immunity essential comes from fish, poultry, legumes, vegetables and eggs. That means almost everyone should get all they need from their diet.
Vegan or not, everyone will be aware of the importance of vitamin B12 for health. Those on a mixed diet will get all they need from a normal intake of animal products. Strict vegans do need to supplement with 10 micrograms a day.
Start your immunity alphabet at the beginning by eating plenty of dairy products, oily fish and eggs. Alternatively eat colourful vegetables (red, yellow and green) as these contain beta-carotene. Your body can use this to make and store vitamin A.
With the exception of vitamin D and vitamin B12 for vegans, the advice is not to take supplements unless prescribed. Too much vitamin C just goes straight out, and excess vitamin A or B6 can actually cause harm. Eat the right food – tastes better anyway!
CAn we really not make vitamin D in this country between October and April? What about on a sunny autumn or winter day when you're out walking? Does that still not count?
If I feel I'm getting a cold I drink copious amouts of water and avoid all strenuous cardio. It seems to work for me as most of my colds go quickly or never even get started.
I'm glad you're not promoting taking too many vitamin pills. It's much better to get them from food. But I do have heard that our food doesn't contain enough vitamins nowadays, so it makes you wonder how much veg you need to eat.
it's just as well that the only supplement we need is vitamin D, because I am rubbish at remembering to take them. I am pretty good at remembering to eat food!