It strongly depends on our diet how strong our defenses are and keep pathogens out. Certain substances such as vitamin C can strengthen the immune system and thus help us stay healthy. The body cannot produce or store it on its own. You therefore need to supply this important vitamin to your organism several times a day through your diet. Read here what role it plays exactly for your immune system and in which foods the vitamin is contained.
Vitamin C is important for the immune system
An intact immune system is better able to fight off microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. Especially in the cold season, it works at full speed to prevent and fight diseases such as colds and flu. A healthy diet plays a major role in strengthening the body’s defenses. It is therefore important to take in essential nutrients through the diet. Vitamins, for example, are vital because they perform many functions in the body. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is probably the best known. It can have a very positive influence on the immune system and many metabolic processes. It protects the body cells from free radicals, which are aggressive oxygen compounds.
How does vitamin C help in the defense against pathogens?
Vitamin C helps in the formation of antibodies and leukocytes (white blood cells). The latter fend off viruses and bacteria. For this to work as it should, they need sufficient vitamin C. The white blood cells are thus more mobile and reach the pathogens better. In addition, vitamin C protects against free radicals and in this way can also ward off microorganisms. Furthermore, it helps to reduce stress, because it ensures that more norepinephrine is produced. This neurotransmitter is said to have a significant influence in overcoming depression. Stress, in turn, also weakens the immune system.
What foods contain vitamin C?
The body depends on a sufficient daily supply of the vitamin from food. In case of a permanent deficiency, you risk negative consequences for your health. The valuable, water-soluble vitamin is found in many foods, for example:
– Fruit such as citrus fruits, oranges, apples, strawberries and kiwis
– Fresh vegetables such as peppers, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and cabbage
Don’t overheat foods and dishes with vitamin C, as this will cause the nutrient to be lost. You’ll benefit most from eating it in its raw form. The body needs about 100 to 200 mg of vitamin C daily to stay fit and healthy. Since levels drop quickly, you should consume vitamin C-rich foods or drinks several times a day to ensure adequate intake and avoid deficiency. Smoothies are an optimal way to keep your body well supplied with vitamin C. They can even replace complete meals and thus help you lose weight.
By the way:
The intake of the vitamin also facilitates the absorption of iron. It is therefore a good idea to combine the vitamin with appropriate meals, for example in the form of orange juice. Many pregnant women lack iron, for example.
A slight deficiency of vitamin C is initially noticeable through non-specific symptoms, for example:
– Immunodeficiency and susceptibility to infections
In the case of an advanced deficiency, the following symptoms may occur:
– Inflamed gums up to loose teeth and tooth loss
– Poorer wound healing
– Edema (water retention)
– Pain in the joints
– Poorer collagen formation
In severe cases, bleeding in the retina of the eyes, in the conjunctiva and in the brain, as well as changes in the bones and joints are possible. A deficiency can occur not only in the case of reduced intake, but also in the case of increased demand, for example in smokers, older people, competitive athletes or diabetics. If you cannot ensure sufficient intake through your diet, it is possible to take a vitamin supplement to prevent a deficiency.
Vitamin C is healthy. It strengthens your immune system, is important for the metabolism and every cell and is said to play an important role in the prevention and treatment of colds, especially in autumn and winter. It boosts your defenses because it is a strong antioxidant that “catches” free radicals and makes them harmless. Thus, it protects against diseases such as colds, flu and infections. The water-soluble vital substance is mainly found in fruits such as citrus fruits and vegetables. You should avoid a deficiency, because this weakens your defenses and can make you ill. The intake should be continuous, because the body is not able to store the vitamin. Therefore, it is not enough to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables once a day. The amount that is above the daily requirement is excreted through the kidneys.