Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Vitamin A is a critical micro-nutrient when it comes to enhancing our immune function and warding off infections. Vitamin A plays a central role in the functioning of cells of the innate immune system and acts as a crucial antioxidant.
Vitamin A can be found in foods such as:
· Green leafy vegetables
· Butternut squash
· Sweet potato
· Dried apricots
· Orange fruits
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, this means that vitamin A supplements or vitamin A rich foods should be consumed with good fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts and fatty fish such as rainbow trout, wild salmon and sardines.
Zinc is an important trace mineral required through diet as our bodies are unable to make it on its own. Zinc plays a central role in the immune system, working as an antioxidant, assisting to boost our immune cells whilst reducing inflammation.
Zinc deficiency can lead to the reduced ability of our immune cells to function optimally. Low levels of zinc may increase our susceptibility to developing conditions such as pneumonia and other infections.
Zinc deficiency may result in symptoms such as frequent colds, constantly feeling rundown, lethargy and fatigue, reduced brain function and poor wound healing.
Zinc can be found in foods such as:
· Pumpkin seeds
· Sunflower seeds
Vitamin D is important for a range of different functions in the body, particularly in protecting us against many different illnesses. Often throughout winter our vitamin D levels are particularly low, especially in Victoria.
Vitamin D deficiency poses a risk for the elderly, those who avoid the sun for health purposes, those who primarily work indoors such as office/factory/shift workers, obese individuals and individuals with naturally very dark skin.
Ultimately, we want to be gaining majority of our Vitamin D intake from the sun, 10 minutes twice per day. In Australia, we only obtain on average 5-10% of vitamin D through food sources.
Vitamin D food sources include:
· Fatty fish
· UV-irradiated mushrooms
· Sprouted seeds
· Fortified orange juice
Vitamin C is an important micro-nutrient due to its potent antioxidant role assisting our bodies immune defense through boosting cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.
Vitamin C fights against pathogens and acts to scavenge free radicals of the skin, protecting us against environmental oxidative stress. Vitamin C deficiency results in an increased susceptibility to infections.
Vitamin C sources include :
· Kiwi fruit
· Capsicum/bell peppers
· Brussel sprouts
· Raw cabbage
· Aloe vera juice
**Beware to avoid choosing vitamin C intake through frozen fruit as vitamin C is such a delicate vitamin, its lost once frozen!