Thu, 26 March 2020
Good nutrition plays a vital role in boosting the immune system, so here is some sound advice from Royal Bahrain Hospital’s Dietician, Ms. Hanoof AlRayes.
Fill your plate with the colors of the rainbow – Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables as they are a great source of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, to help combat oxidative stress by protecting against free-radicals.
Beta-Carotene: Bright-colored fruits and vegetables that boost your immune system!
Found in: dark green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale), bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, cantaloupe and peas.
Vitamin C: Daily intake of vitamin C is essential as our bodies can neither produce it nor store it.
Found in: citrus fruits (oranges, lemon and grapefruit), bell peppers, kiwi, broccoli and strawberries.
Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection.
Found in: nuts (almonds and hazelnuts), seeds (sunflower seeds), vegetable oils (sunflower oil and corn oil), avocados and fortified breakfast cereals.
For decades, garlic has been praised for having antibacterial and antiviral properties; a great source of antioxidants. In addition, ginger root has potent immune-boosting properties that reduces oxidative stress.
Recent studies have proved that Vitamin D supplements play a role in reducing the risk of viral infections, such as respiratory tract infections, by reducing the production of proinflammatory compounds in the body. Vitamin D is found in limited dietary sources, such as oily fish, eggs fortified dairy products and breakfast cereals.
Several studies have shown that yogurt has a positive effect on the immune system as it contains probiotics that are beneficial for our gut flora, which is needed for proper digestion and immune function.
It is known that protein deficiency may result in depletion of immune cells; compromising our immune system. Make sure you consume an adequate amount of protein daily, especially from high-quality protein food, such as lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, quinoa and tofu.
Zinc is a mineral that also helps improve white blood cell function. It is found in shellfish (oysters, crabs and lobsters), red meat, poultry, beans and nuts.
Poor nutrition results in increased infections and complications secondary to immune system dysfunction. Certain things that have been linked to suppress immunity include:
1) Lack of sleep – Make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep daily.
2) High-fat diets – Recent studies have shown that low-fat diets are protective against fighting infections as fat may alter the gut bacteria that aids in immunity.
3) Sugary food and beverages – Evidence suggests that refined carbohydrates and simple sugars may impair white blood cell function.
For more nutrition related inquiries, visit the Nutrition & Dietetics Department at Royal Bahrain Hospital. To book your appointment with Ms. Hanoof AlRayes, call 17246800 or WhatsApp 32181810. You can also book your appointments through the RBH mobile application or visit www.royalbahrainhospital.com