Good nutrition is critical to support a healthy immune system. There is a strong relationship between poor nutritional status and compromised immunity. Below, are seven essential nutrients that are known to support immune health.
- Protein is needed for the building of antibodies and immune system cells. Also, some of the amino acids that make up proteins are important fuels for cells in the immune system.
- Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect the body by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. These are found in red bell peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes or kamote, and carrots.
- Vitamin C helps the body build healthy skin and connective tissue, which helps to block the entry of foreign microbes. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects cells (for example, cells of the immune system) from damage caused by free radicals. These are found in citrus fruits and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, protecting cell membranes from damage due to free radicals. Healthy cell membranes help keep foreign microbes out.
- Vitamin D helps to activate immune cells and properly regulate their function.
- Zinc is needed for wound healing and for cellular reproduction, which is important in the synthesis of new immune system cells.
- Fluids and Electrolytes are also important to support the immune system. Consuming adequate fluids (ideally water) and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride help regulate the body’s temperature. Sick people need to drink extra fluids to keep from dehydrating.
People who are at the higher risk for compromised immune health are those who do not get adequate amounts of food in their diets, do not have access to foods with key nutrients, are malnourished, or have certain health conditions that may require additional nutrition support.
Sometimes it’s hard to get enough of all the nutrients you need to support your immune system, from your diet alone. Drinking an oral nutritional supplement like Similac GainSchool & PediaSure Plus for kids, and Ensure Gold with HMB for older adults and Glucerna for those with diabetes, can be a simple way to help supplement your diet.
Your diet is an important part of maintaining good health. So, follow a balanced diet, fill each plate with produce, lean meats, dairy and healthy fats — this can help you get the nutrition you need to help keep your immune system strong.
Scaling up nutrition advice with NutriConnect
To further help Filipino families to develop better health and well-being, Abbott launched NutriConnect, a nutritional counseling service which connects consumers to Abbott’s partner Registered Nutritionist-Dieticians (RNDs) by phone. The service offers free nutritional counseling on diabetes, healthy aging, childhood growth, and immune health. With the ease of booking over-the-phone appointments through Alagang Abbott’s Facebook messenger, families now have access to accurate information on ensuring proper nutrition for the family.
“Guided by our mission to help people live their fullest lives, we strive to give t Filipinos access to science-based nutrition to support their overall health. With the NutriConnect, we want to further empower families to eat healthy and stay healthy at every stage of their lives,” said Stephen Garbanzos, general manager of Abbott’s nutrition business in Philippines.