The benefits of vitamins and supplements have been hotly debated for years. A stroll down the vitamin aisle of any pharmacy or health food store can be overwhelming for even the medically minded.
As with most injury and illness, prevention is better than cure. Maintaining your overall health and wellbeing, both physical and mentally, has a significant impact on how your body recovers from illness. In the same token, this can also impact the effectiveness of any preventative measures you implement, including vaccinations.
So with the COVID-19 vaccination now being rolled out across Australia, how can you boost your immune system ahead of receiving your vaccination?
While the best form of defence is a healthy diet and lifestyle, after all, you are what you eat!
However, there is undeniable evidence that specific vitamins such as vitamins A, E, C and D are hugely beneficial for general wellbeing.
These four vitamins regularly show up in clinical studies, medical research and academic conversations in the medical world. But why?
We’ve broken it down and collated a few extra things to do to ensure you’re immune system is in top shape, with winter also lurking around the corner.
The role Vitamin A plays in the immunity battle is vital. Vitamin A has a significant impact on skin, gut health, inner ear and eye, bladder, and the respiratory tract – all problem area’s often associated with cold and flu. Healthy levels of Vitamin A can help ward off or shorten the duration of infections.
We’ve all seen a jar of Vitamin C in our mother or grandmothers cupboards. The first sign of the flu and you’ve no doubt had someone say ‘dose up on Vitamin C’. And it’s good advice!
Low Vitamin C levels mean reduced immunity and a higher likelihood of picking up an infection.
Vitamin C also affects the body’s absorption of iron, and metabolic rate, which can affect your energy levels.
With Australia’s endless sunshine, Vitamin D deficiency is uncommon; however, some people absorb it more than others.
Vitamin D is a type of hormone that helps promote the body’s immune and neuromuscular systems, playing a pivotal part in managing immune cells.
10-15 minutes of safe sun exposure can drastically help reduce immunity and is a natural mood booster – so it’s good for the brain too!
You may have seen Vitamin E on the label of your favourite lotion or skin potion; this is because it protects skin cells, as well as improving immune system function, particularly T-cells. These T-cells protect the body from pathogens and activate immune cells to fight off infections when they enter the body.
|Rich sources of Vitamin A include:
|Rich sources of Vitamin E include:
|Rich sources of Vitamin D include:
|Rich sources of Vitamin C include:
|· Cod liver oil
· Orange and yellow vegetables (think carrots and pumpkin) don’t forget to leave the skin on for extra flavour and nutrients!)
· Beef liver
· Dark leafy greens such as spinach
· Egg yolks
· Vitamin A supplements.
|· Sunflower seeds
· Wheat germ oil
· Bone marrow
· Vitamin E supplements.
|· Safe sun exposure on bare skin (min. 30 minutes a day)
· Cod liver oil
· Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna
· Egg yolks
· Beef liver
· Vitamin D supplements.
|· Red capsicum
· Oranges and other citrus fruit
· Berries, particularly strawberries
· Leafy greens such as spinach
· Vitamin C supplements.
Pillow talk, get some sleep!
Sleep hygiene and rest is vital to a healthy body. 6-8 hours sleep a night is recommended, and while this may not be possible for some, it’s during this time, your body’s cells rest and recharge.
To function efficiently, no matter how many vitamins you take, they need a break too.
Make sure come bedtime you switch off, put your devices in sleep mode too and give your body and mind a chance to wind down.
Stay active – find 30!
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), an estimated 2 in 3 (67%) Australians aged 18 and over were overweight or obese.
With an undeniable correlation between weight and overall health and wellness, not only are there related issues such as diabetes and heart disease, but excess weight can also affect your ability to fight infection.
A simple stroll in the morning or afternoon can have substantial positive effects such as:
- Boosting your mood
- Sharpen your focus
- Reducing stress
- Improving sleep quality
COVID has seen our work-day change significantly as many have moved to a work from home model.
While this can be handy for some, it’s also seen a shift in the work-life balance, with many of us putting in extra hours and struggling to disconnect.
Creating a work-life balance, taking a break and disconnecting is essential.