Our immune system is our body’s frontline defense against germs and bacteria. When a foreign invader such as a virus enters our body, our immune system responds by producing antibodies to destroy or attack the virus. When we are run down or our immune system is compromised either through excess stress, poor eating or fatigue our body isn’t able to respond efficiently.
Viruses are sneaky. They typically spread throughout the body by getting inside cells with weaken cellular membranes. Once inside the cell, viruses use the cell’s mechanisms to grow and multiply. The virus will replicate and expand until it bursts the cell’s membrane allowing for the replicated virus to circulate through blood or tissues. In order to best protect ourselves from becoming ill, it is important that we feed ourselves a diet filled with key vitamins and minerals which can help boost our immune system’s ability to ward off infections that lead to colds and flu.
Cell membrane integrity is essential in preventing the beginnings of a viral infection
When we focus on nutrients and healthy habits that help our bodies maintain our cellular wall integrity, we are better equipped to fight off foreign invaders such as viruses. Nutrients that help maintain cell wall integrity are vitamins A, C & E, selenium and essential fatty acids.
Foods that are high in vitamin A include: sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, swiss chard and kale. Foods that are high in vitamin C are: peppers - especially red and yellow, broccoli, red cabbage, papaya, kiwi and citrus fruits. Look for vitamin E in nuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds and almonds.
by Denise Body Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Pilates Instructor