Although having a healthy diet all the time is the most effective way to get all the nutrients you need, for most people its often unattainable. It can be daunting to ensure you eat three balanced meals a day and life gets busy – we may not always remember to eat at all, let alone eat healthy. Never mind the time needed to shop for and prepare fresh meals. And, let’s be honest – of course you want to have pizza every now and then.

With the third wave of the Coronavirus looming and flu season upon us – taking multivitamins are a good start to help boost your immune system. However, do not rely on supplements to do all the work. Eating a balanced diet, exercise for atleast 30 minutes a day and drinking a lot of water can all help.

According to an article by Dr Kevin Scheepers, a Johannesburg GP specialising in integrative and functional medicine, the following vitamins, minerals and natural supplements are the best immune-boosting bet. Be sure to take them in the amounts prescribed on them.

Alpha-lipioc acid

What is it? This antioxidant helps prevent cell damage and can even restore nerve function – high doses are given for nerve-related symptoms of diabetes. It improves the functioning of vitamins C and E and helps break down carbohydrates to improve organ function. Good sources include yeast, organ meats, spinach and broccoli.

Co-enzyme Q10

What is it? Found in meat and seafood. It provides energy to cells to ensure proper organ function – especially in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas. It’s a vitamin-like substance that also has antioxidant effects and, as such, helps with immune function and prevents cell damage.

Curcumin

What is it? This compound found in turmeric has been used for centuries to treat inflammation and, as such, can help strengthen immunity, its also believed to aid memory.

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Vitamin C

What is it? This vitamin is found in several fruits and vegetables – guavas, oranges and strawberries are top sources. It plays an important role in immune function and is required for the proper development and function of many bodily systems. Its most commonly used to help prevent and treat cold.

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Vitamin D

What is it? Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus in the body, playing an important role in bone structure and immunity. The body manufactures it when skin is exposed to the sun (without sunscreen), but most people spend too much time indoors these days to generate adequate vitamin D. As you age, your body also has a harder time producing it.

Vitamin E

What is it? This fat-soluble vitamin occurs in several foods, including oils, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables. Its essential for the proper functioning of many organs in the body and is also an antioxidant that helps to slow down cell damage.

Lactoferrin & colostrum

What is it? Lactoferrin is a protein found in cow and human milk, but most medicinal lactoferrin is made from rice. It’s a powerful antioxidant that stimulates the immune system, helps prevent cell damage and regulates iron processing in the body. Colostrum is found in breast milk, and research shows that taking colostrum supplements may promote immunity, help fight infection and improve gut health.

Olive leaf extract

What it is? This natural supplement delivers the olive leaf tree’s best qualities – from lowering blood pressure to killing microbes and treating infection and inflammation – in convenient doses.

Zinc

What is it?  This mineral interferes with the replication of cold viruses, meaning shorter and less severe colds if you do get sick. It’s found in foods such as meat, legumes and dairy.

Nomakhaya Makhaya

Nomakhaya Makhaya is a B.A. Journalism graduate.

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