In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, health has become a top priority for the majority. People are taking measures to ensure that they don’t catch the virus—or any illness, for that matter. The strain the pandemic has put on the Philippines’ healthcare system, and the rise in COVID-19 cases, have made it even more difficult to see a doctor and receive proper treatment.
To better stay on top of your health, it is essential to get the right nutrients into your diet. Here are the best vitamins for your immune system available in the Philippines:
1. Vitamin C
Ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, is one of the key vitamins that help boost your immune system. Vitamin C has been shown to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and has been proven to strengthen the immune system itself and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections.
Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and pineapple are good sources of Vitamin C, but other fruits and vegetables contain this vitamin, too, including guava, papaya, strawberry, red and green chili peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower. Vitamin C-rich foods are best eaten raw, as cooking them can lower the amount of the vitamin you get from them.
2. Vitamin A
Also known as beta carotene, Vitamin A plays a vital role in several processes in the body. It is associated with maintaining healthy vision and keeping the immune system and organs functioning like normal.
Vitamin A in food comes in two distinct forms—preformed vitamin A and provitamin A. Preformed Vitamin A is the active form of the vitamin found in animal products like meat, chicken, fish, and dairy. Meanwhile, Provitamin A carotenoids are the inactive form present in plants like carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and red bell peppers.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, protecting your cells from damage. This helps the body slow the aging process of cells and deter illnesses like heart disease and cancer. It also contributes to healthy skin and eyes, as well as a stronger immune system.
Vitamin E can be obtained through vegetable oils, such as wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil. It can also be found in nuts like almonds and peanuts, seeds, and fruits and greens like asparagus, mango, and avocado. Additionally, it is also available in the form of supplemental vitamins in the Philippines.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D, including Vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3, is best known as the “sunshine vitamin,” as the skin produces it when exposed to sunlight. Its primary function is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body, as well as ensuring that the immune system functions normally.
Aside from this, Vitamin D can also help increase your resistance to diseases like multiple sclerosis and heart disease and reduces the likelihood of developing the flu.
While the best source for Vitamin D is direct exposure to sunlight, some foods contain the vitamin naturally or are “fortified” with it. These include salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fortified yogurt. If these methods are not adequate, you may need to take Vitamin D supplements.
Zinc is essential for many enzymes in the body, as well as powering its natural defense system. Zinc deficiency has been linked to immune dysfunction. Like Vitamin C, zinc can reduce the duration of respiratory tract infections.
Some zinc-rich food types include meat, seeds, and shellfish. Nuts and dairy products are also excellent sources of zinc and other healthy nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans also contain zinc. However, they also contain phytates that lessen the absorption of zinc and other minerals. Sprouting, soaking, or fermenting legumes can help counteract this.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, best known as “good bacteria.” The balance of bacteria in the gut and digestive system has been linked to several health benefits, including digestive health and immune functions. Certain probiotics have been found to promote the production of antibodies and boost the function of immune cells.
Probiotics are often found in fermented food, such as yogurt, milk drinks, pickled vegetables, and soy products. Take note that some probiotics may be destroyed by stomach acid before reaching the gut. To fully maximize its benefits, you will need to consume adequate amounts in your diet.
Keep Diseases at Bay with the Right Vitamins
In light of the pandemic, it’s all the more important to keep a healthier lifestyle. Besides getting regular exercise, eating the right food ensures that you’re getting the vitamins and minerals needed to boost your immune system. This helps your body protect itself against the COVID-19 virus and even other types of illnesses.
While vitamins and minerals can be obtained from what you eat, you may need to supplement your diet with multivitamins. Check out Mediclick’s wide variety of affordable multivitamins here.