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The role of proteins and vitamins in the defense against infections

To eat whole foods, avoid getting sick and get fit are health advices often people receive. Maintaining good health goes beyond the surface level health. For a body to be actually strong and healthy even if there is an infection, you need to take care of the body’s very own immune system to be able to fend for yourselves against the diseases.

How can you enhance the immune system?

Exercise and avoidance of smoking and alcohol are important for a good immune system, however, the most important of all is eating wholesome and healthy food.

Whole foods are direct sources of disease fighting essential elements making up the immune system.

How these vitamins and minerals play a role in building a strong immunity will be explained in the following part.


Proteins are building blocks of tissues and also responsible for tissue renewal and repair. They also make up a huge part of the defense system in combat for bacteria and viruses. Proteins and amino acids also provide structural support of the immune cells and function.

Vitamin C

It is known to everyone that vitamin C and immune system go hand in hand. A misconception of vitamin C is that it can only be obtained from sour citrus fruits. Other abundant sources of Vitamin C are green vegetables, guava, strawberry, papaya and bell peppers.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that are beneficial to enhancing the body immunity. While being a great nutrient for the skin, Vitamin E is one of the most useful vitamins in forming a barrier against infectious diseases.

Almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, broccoli and spinach are some examples for rich sources of Vitamin E.

Vitamin A

Vibrant colored fruits contain a chemical component called carotenoids. Carotenoids in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and melons are converted into Vitamin A when they are absorbed into the body.

Vitamin D

We cannot forget Vitamin D when we talk about immunity boosting vitamins. We can obtain Vitamin D mostly from natural sunlight and some from some food such as tuna and egg yolk. Daily requirement of Vitamin D can also be acquired from Vitamin D supplements and meal replacements.


Folate is the natural form of folic acid while folic acid is a converted form to be readily used by the body. While its main role is to improve eyesight and brain development, it also takes part function of the immune system.

You can get folates from green vegetables, peas, beans and folate supplements.


Taking part in transporting oxygen to cells, iron makes one of the most crucial minerals for the immune system. Insufficient iron in the body can cause pallor and weakness which can also decline the performance of the immune function.

Red meat, seafood, peas, beans, broccoli, kale and iron supplements are good sources of iron.


Selenium also has great effects on the body’s immunity. It can protect the body from many diseases. It can even slow down the over activity in response of the cells in case of cancers and autoimmune diseases. Garlic, broccoli, sardines and tuna are great sources of selenium.


Rich sources of zinc such as shellfish, lean meat, peas, yoghurt and lentils are important for the body immunity. Zinc enhances the protective barrier against germs and reduce inflammation and pain in the body.

Eating a well-balanced diet including meat, fish, fruits and vegetables is one way to get adequate number of elements needed for protective function of the body. Alternatively, you can take supplements infused with all the minerals and vitamins needed for the body.  Fill your body with good nutrients and take care of your immune system to stay away from the infections.


8 Vitamins & Minerals You Need for a Healthy Immune System