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National Nutrition Week: Protein, Zinc, Vitamin D And Other Essential Nutrients That You Need For Strong Immunity

National Nutrition Week: A healthy diet supports your immune system. Here are some essential nutrients you should add to your diet for a strong immune system.

National Nutrition Week: Protein, Zinc, Vitamin D And Other Essential Nutrients That You Need For Strong Immunity

A diet rich in protein, vitamin C and zinc can help you maintain a healthy immune system

National Nutrition Week is observed from 1st to 7th September every year. This week highlights the importance of eating healthy and right nutrition for optimal health. The ongoing covid-19 pandemic has made everyone realise how important is to be healthy and build on a strong Immunity. What you eat has a great impact on your immunity. Key nutrients for better immunity are proteins, vitamins and minerals like zinc, selenium and magnesium. Also, one needs to have a good gut health, remember 70-80% of our immune cells are in our gut. So, a good gut means good immunity.

National Nutrition Week 2021: Vital nutrients for strong immunity

1. Protein

Protein is needed to strengthen immunity as well as fight disease. Increased protein consumption is also crucial after recovery to restore muscle loss, immunity, and energy levels. Include a source of protein in each meal to ensure optimal protein intake. Protein can be found in legumes, millets, eggs, dairy, nuts, chicken, and fish.

2. Vitamins

Go seasonal and go local, the nutrient content especially the vitamins will be in abundance and also easily available. Daily target 3-4 fruits and at least 2-3 servings of vegetables. One doesn't need to take supplements to boost immunity. Taking plenty of fruits and veggies gives the needed vitamin C and A. Vitamin D the sunshine vitamin, you get from the sun, besides mushroom, egg yolk and dairy products are too a good source.

3. Minerals

Nuts and seeds are abundance in micronutrients like zinc, selenium, magnesium and iron. Have 1-2 tablespoon daily mix of flaxseed, chia, melon and pumpkins seeds. Also include lots of nuts like almonds in your diet. It's a rich source of protein besides being high on magnesium, zinc and selenium.

4. Prebiotics and probiotics

Good Gut health is key to good immunity. Include foods rich in prebiotics like banana, onion, garlic etc. which help to create a suitable environment for probiotics or good bacteria. One can also take probiotics in diet to improve gut health like yogurt and fermented food. Probiotics feed on prebiotics and this encourages beneficial bacteria to multiply in the gut. Gut dysbiosis, or an imbalance of gut bacteria, can be caused by eating a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners. A healthy gut is linked to improved overall health and immunological function.

Follow these simple tips and keep your immunity strong!

(Ritika Samaddar is the Regional Head, Department Of Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics at Max Hospitals, Saket)

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