immune system Zinc vitamins and wellness
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Health-heavyweights like zinc and selenium are great to add to your supplement regime to boost your immune system now as flu season starts.


South Africa (05 May 2020) – Once upon a time an apple a day might have been sufficient to keep the doctor away. These days we’re more aware of the benefits of eating a varied, healthy diet to keep our bodies strong, and an apple alone is unlikely to cut it. 

Despite the fact that we know balance is necessary, certain foods still go through fads and enjoy sell-out runs as immune boosters. Try to find fresh garlic in the supermarkets, it’s not easy to come by these days, while kale – everyone’s new favourite superfood – is not only hard to find but expensive in relation to its actual nutritional value.

While the World Health Organisation has publicly dispelled the myth that eating garlic or any other specific food can prevent or cure Covid-19 (sadly, there is no miracle cure yet), there are always benefits to maintaining good health and a strong immune system. 

Vitamins A through D naturally found in food, and what tends to be our “go-to supplements”, are all great immune boosters, but health-heavyweights like zinc and selenium are often overlooked. 

Zinc in particular is essential to many aspects of good health and because the body does not naturally produce zinc, it can only be obtained through food or supplements. You’ll find it in red meat, seafood, milk, cheese, dark chocolate, legumes, seeds and nuts, and listed on the back of your supplementary pack of multivitamins (in a larger dose in pregnancy vitamins as it is vital for generating cells). 

Similarly, selenium is an essential mineral that must be obtained through diet and plays an important role in supporting various body processes including metabolism, thyroid function and helping defend the body against chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer. 

Selenium is only needed in small amounts and can be found in foods including eggs, sardines, chicken breasts and sunflower seeds. Ultimately it’s the immune system that benefits most from a selenium supplement thanks to its antioxidant properties that helps to lower oxidative stress, which in turn reduces inflammation and promotes immunity.

Zinc too is great for strengthening the body’s immune system, but to also promote healthy growth and brain development, to help fight infection, to reduce fatigue and mood swings and it is important for taste and smell, the renewal of skin cells and for keeping hair and nails healthy. 

According to the International Zinc Association (IZA), zinc is a natural part of our environment and is required by all living things for survival. In fact, Simon Norton of the IZA says that zinc is essential for human health. He explains that zinc is in our organs, tissues, bones, fluids, and cells. 

“All living things – including people, animals and plants – require zinc to function properly. And yet over 1.2 billion people are not getting enough zinc in their diets. This is a huge concern, especially in developing countries and even more so now with the threat of Covid-19 and the stress it places on the immune system,” Norton stresses. 

Supplementing with zinc and selenium does not eliminate the need for a healthy, balanced diet (don’t give up that apple a day!) but does offer a boost in terms of elevating your immunity to be in a better position to fight off what may come at it this winter.

Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding supplements and other medical queries. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read online.

Source: Irvine Partners – Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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