Four Powerful Nutrients for Vegan Immune Health
BY HAVA HOROWITZ / October 20.2020
In the midst of a pandemic, people are rightfully concerned about improving their immune health. The Center for Disease Control has provided many important measures to avoid COVID-19 infection (mask wearing, regular hand-washing, and social distancing to name a few), but ensuring your immune system is equipped with vitamins and nutrients to function optimally is also crucial.
The following nutrients are beneficial to the body for a number of reasons, but below are how they affect your immune system and ability to fight illness!
Omega-3 fatty acids come in three forms, ALA, DHA, and EPA-- and all are extremely important for immune health. Equipped with amazing anti-inflammatory properties, Omega-3 assists in the functioning of white blood cells and the immune system overall.
Food sources of Omega-3 ALA include walnuts and flaxseeds. DHA and EPA Omegas are harder to find on a plant-based diet, but can be sourced from algae and supplemented!
➡ Vitamin C
Vitamin C is probably the most well-known vitamin for illness prevention. A natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory, the nutrient has proven to help with shortening the duration and severity of colds.However, Vitamin C is much more effective when supplemented over long periods of time, as opposed to large doses at the start of cold symptoms.
Vitamin C is found in foods like bell peppers, citrus fruits, and tomatoes!
➡ Vitamin D3
Deficiency in Vitamin D is linked to increased susceptibility to infection, making it an important nutrient for immune health and overall wellness. Supplementing with Vitamin D boosts natural defenses against illness and prevents inflammation- allowing the immune system to function properly.
Plant-based sources of Vitamin-D are hard to come by, but it can be sourced from reindeer lichen, which is a species of moss!
Zinc is sometimes referred to as the gatekeeper of the immune system-- that’s why people often take it at the onset of a cold. Zinc is critical for the function of immune cells, and when taken regularly, can help in keeping sickness at bay. Vegan sources of zinc include beans, hemp seeds, and lentils.
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the immunity-boosting nutrients you need is to supplement! Taking a daily multivitamin takes the guesswork out of your diet, and allows vegans to continue living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle!