Nutritional status is a major predictor both in prevention of infection and in brain health. All of you have heard previously that those with poor nutritional status are those more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, Hypertension and also more susceptible to SARS-COVID and potentially any future novel pathogen.
Although supplements can be very beneficial for both prevention and in lessening the extent of an infection; using food as our primary source of health is ultimately the best way to go. Sources of Vitamin C, D, B Vitamins, E, Essential fatty acids and Zinc are highest on the list.
Sources of Vitamin C include Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, red and green peppers, cabbage, sweet and white potatoes and oranges. These foods naturally help immune system function along with support of respiratory health and natural detoxification. Adequate sources of Vitamin C promote regular bowel movements and healthy digestion.
Sources of Vitamin D include egg yolks, cheese, beef, liver, salmon tuna and mackerel. Vitamin D is not only a vitamin but a hormone as well. Vitamin D stimulates differentiation of monocytes (part of our white blood cells) to macrophages which increase the ability to destroy pathogens. It is important to keep levels higher to alleviate anxiety and depression. Vitamin D is one test that is important to check periodically to keep levels between 65-80.
Vitamin A helps in the production of secretoary IgA which lines our mucous membranes in the digestive, respiratory and vaginal tract. This membrane is important to keep intact to prevent infection. Food sources of Vitamin A include dark and leafy greens, orange and yellow fruits and veggies, broccoli, spinach eggs and cod liver oil.
Low amounts of B vitamins have been associated with a weaker immune system. Food sources of B vitamins include beans, lentils, barley, red meat, sunflower seeds, almonds, citrus fruits, avocados and bananas.
Sources of Vitamin E is important as we age. It helps with T-cell immunity (one of our helper cells) along with keeping good brain function. Sources are sunflower seeds, almonds, leaky greens, peanuts wheat germ and hazelnuts.
Our brain needs good sources of fats and all our cells in our immune system need fats in order for proper function. Salmon, Mackerel, nuts, seeds, Chia seeds, Flaxseeds and walnuts are great sources.
Zinc is important in the prevention and replication of viral infections. Good sources of zinc include oysters, lamb, cashews, turkey, dark chocolate and legumes.
It can be important at times to take supplements in order to boost our immune system maintain good gut health and ultimate brain function. Most importantly though is the food we choose to eat and as my mentor Sachin Patel has said; “That our grocery store receipts can be more of a predictor of our health then our lab tests.”