One of Asia’s most renowned wellness destinations, Chiva-Som Thailand knows a thing or two about how to keep optimum health in any condition, including these uncertain times. Here are five nutrients to help you fight off viruses, according to Renee Grandi, Chiva-Som’s nutritionist and naturopath.
Zinc is a well-loved mineral in the immunity world. Found in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, egg yolks, seafood and beef, zinc helps nourish the body’s innate and adaptive immunity system. With a co-factor for over 200 enzymatic reactions within the body, zinc supports the thymus gland in adaptive T-cell production/regulation and acts as a free-radical scavenger. Furthermore, zinc also fights against viruses and bacterial pathogens and promotes healthy function and integrity in white blood cells.
This is probably your go-to nutrient when it comes to immune-boosting superstars. Vitamin C is one of the body’s most essential antioxidants, helping strengthen the body’s immunity. White blood cells have high concentrations of vitamin C and are essential to all levels of defence against free radicals, pathogens and inflammation. Found in most green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, kiwis, papaya, strawberries, mango, red peppers and cabbage, vitamin C is a great nutrient to have on hand for viruses and bacterial infections.
Vitamin A can be found in many molecular structures, as retinyl palmitate it is one of the most abundant forms, while retinyl esters are found mainly in animal products such as eggs, liver, fish oils, milk and butter. Plant sources are mainly found in orange-coloured fruits/vegetables such as papaya, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. Vitamin A is excellent for skin and gut integrity, which is our first line of defence from the exterior pathogenic world.
The best source of vitamin D is found from UV sunlight. If you receive adequate levels of sunlight, usually you will not need to supplement vitamin D. This vitamin has been shown to significantly regulate immunity and to support autoimmune conditions. This fat-soluble vitamin also enhances the first defence system mechanisms against pathogens and strengthens the immune system.
Selenium is an essential trace element found in high quantities within immune tissue such as the spleen and lymphatic system. It can be obtained by eating brazil nuts, alfalfa, organic meat or eggs, onion and garlic, selenium can improve antigen response time and increase natural killer production. By reducing abnormal cell mutations, selenium helps to improve illness recovery time.