Why your immune system matters


According to reports by Harvard Medical School, there appears to be a connection between nutrition and immunity as we age. “Micronutrient malnutrition,” is named to a person who is deficient in some essential vitamins and trace minerals which would normally be obtained through diet or supplementation – this deficiency is more pronounced with age. These studies also show that older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets, and with our immune response capability becoming reduced with age, more infections and more cancers are reported.

Why do micronutrients matter?

There are close to 30 vitamins and minerals which the body cannot manufacture in sufficient amounts on its own – such as Vitamins B6, C, E, zinc, iron and magnesium, to name a few. Our bodies desperately need these micronutrients for bodily functions, disease prevention, hormonal regulation, enzyme and cell production.

What can we do?

In order to boost the immune system, the recommendation is always to “live a healthier lifestyle” – including quitting smoking, reducing the intake of too many alcoholic beverages, exercise and in general moving more, stretching, sleeping, stress control through breathing and practices such as meditation, and so on.

A healthy diet plays a big part in boosting the immune system, and especially as we age. Easy solutions such as adding more bright-coloured steamed vegetables and berry fruits in every meal are a must, as these will contain more concentrated micronutrients without the requirement of eating a higher quantity of food and thus affecting weight.

We are aware of supplementation of micronutrients through a high-quality multivitamin, however it’s important to focus more on eating healthy, fresh foods (more than canned or pre-prepared) as the main source of these micronutrients.•

The following are some tips, ideas, and recipes for increasing micronutrients intake – and boosting your immune system:

NUTS AND SEEDS:

High in antioxidants, vitamins, zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium fiber, Omegas. Studies show that consuming nuts and seeds may help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, and lower LDL cholesterol.

SPINACH:

Great source of Vitamins A, C, K1, B6, B9, E, Folic Acid, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium. Skip the lettuce, grab the spinach!

BERRIES:

Truly delicious, nutritious, and filled with micronutrients! Best in order of their nutritional content are: Elderberries, followed closely by blackberries, then tomatoes, kiwis, mulberries, red currants, strawberries, then raspberries, lychees, cranberries, pomegranate, and finally, blueberries.

Yes! Tomatoes, bananas, kiwi fruit and grapes

are also berries!

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This article first appeared in Silver and Gold's WINTER 2018 issue. Read it online and interact with us! www.silvergoldmagazine.ca

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