Vitamins to fuel and protect your body

nutritious food

Posted on 12/1/2020

In today’s “new normal,” day-to-day life, personal health and wellness is at the forefront of all of our minds. We are protecting ourselves, cleaning more often and trying our best to live fit and healthy lives. One of the most important factors in determining our long-term health and wellness is the food that we put into our body. Especially during this time of year, when sweets and rich foods are easily in reach, it’s more important than ever to make sure our diet is full of nourishing foods to fuel our immune system and fight off illness.

While a healthy, balanced and colorful diet is extremely important, there are a few key vitamins and minerals that help build our immunity more than others. They all act on different parts of our body’s reaction to illness, allowing the body to fight longer and harder against these intruders. These particular vitamins, and some of their function in the immune system, include:

  • Vitamin C – Protects your cells against free radicals, and absorb/store iron
  • Vitamin B6 – Makes antibodies to fight disease
  • Vitamin E  – Defends your cells against free radicals

Luckily for us, these vitamins are found in many of the foods that we eat on a daily basis. Some common foods that contain these nutrients include:

  • Vitamin C – Oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and kale.
  • Vitamin B6 – Tuna, salmon, chicken, chickpeas, bananas
  • Vitamin E – Vegetable oil, peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, broccoli

The above is by no means an all-inclusive, but definitely a good starting point to begin making changes to help strengthen your immune system. Although these vitamins can easily be found in the health and wellness aisle at your local grocery store or pharmacy, it is not the best way for our body to absorb and take in these nutrients. Including foods that contain high amounts of each of these vitamins into our diet is a much easier, and healthier, way to get our body’s fill.

Another important aspect of strengthening our immune systems that comes in handy during the current times is daily physical activity. This could include walking, running, hiking, yoga and strength training. Any time you are getting your heart rate up and blood pumping, you are stimulating your body to build stronger muscles, flushing out the lungs and heart as well as boosting your immune system. Exercise helps recruit specific cells that find pathogens and wipes them out, as well as increases the amount of these cells that flow through the body on a regular basis.

If you have questions, a nagging injury that is limiting your ability to perform daily tasks or are unsure about the right path to take for your personal wellness journey, please reach out to your health care provider to discuss the best plan for you.

By: Erica R. Konopka, P.T., DPT. Erica is a physical therapist and multi-site center manager for Select Physical Therapy in North Carolina. 

SSM Physical Therapy is part of the Select Medical Outpatient Division family of brands.