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Support your immune system with good nutrition—here's how

By The REBEL Team Published Oct 16, 2021 1:30 pm

Our current situation has us doing whatever we can to boost our immunity as it helps us fight against diseases. While there isn’t one surefire fix to improve our immune system, it’s important to remember that our first line of defense against all sickness is having a healthy lifestyle. This doesn’t necessarily mean a complete transformation, but rather simple changes we can easily incorporate into our daily routines, including diversifying what we eat to ensure we get the right nutrients in.

Fun fact: 70 to 80% of our immune system is found in our gut so food can definitely impact its efficiency. But, this doesn’t mean that there is just one go-to food to solve our problems; having a good balance of nutrients is and will always be essential. REBEL’s in-house Registered Nutritionist and Dietician Jo Sebastian lets us understand the basics of nutrition and what we can add into our diets to improve our immunity:

  • Vitamin A: An antioxidant that plays an important role in maintaining our immune system and protecting our cells. The average amount we should be getting in a day is around 700 micrograms for males, and 600 micrograms for females. Be sure to include Vitamin A-rich food in your diet like red and yellow fruits and veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, mangoes, and oranges; leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, and kang kong; as well as from eggs, fortified cereals, and liver.
  • Vitamin C: An antioxidant that aids in white blood cell production and fighting inflammation. The general requirement for males is at 70 milligrams, and for females, 60 milligrams. Examples of food high in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, bell peppers, guavas, pineapples, papayas, and mangoes.
  • Vitamin E: This antioxidant is responsible for helping our bodies fight viruses and bacteria, and the recommended amount per day for adults is 20 milligrams. Examples for Vitamin E food sources are nuts and seeds, whole grains, plant oils (like olive oil), avocados, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Vitamin B6: It plays a role in every reaction related to our immune system, and males are advised to get 1.7 milligrams of it a day, while females should get 1.6 milligrams. Vitamin B6 is easily obtained from food like bananas, beans, oatmeal, potatoes, eggs, whole wheat bread, and milk.

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  • Zinc: This mineral helps us fight off bacteria and aids in speeding up wound healing. Males are required to get 6.5 milligrams of it daily, while females are advised to get 4.6 milligrams. Zinc-rich food includes peanuts, tofu, chicken, pork, beef, fish, and whole grains.
  • Selenium: This antioxidant helps reduce inflammation, while also assisting master antioxidant glutathione in providing us with benefits. It is recommended for males to get 38 micrograms of it and 33 micrograms for females daily. Selenium can be found in seafood, nuts, seeds, chicken, tofu, and beans.
  • Prebiotics: These are food for the gut, found in high fiber food sources like onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and whole grains.
  • Probiotics: These are good bacteria that help our gut function efficiently. These good bacteria can be found in fermented food such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and sourdough bread.

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Apart from incorporating a wide variety of vitamins and minerals into what we eat, we shouldn’t forget to include around 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, drink around 2 liters of water, and get about seven hours of sleep every day. These keep our bodies strong and help in its repair, regeneration, and recovery.

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