, – Fruits and vegetables must be a component in your daily diet. Fruits and vegetables are natural foods and anything that is natural is definitely good for health. Apart from being natural, the other main reason that you need to eat these foods is their vitamin and mineral content.
It is the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables that help you stay healthy and are protected from various disease risks. So, how do fruits and vegetables affect immunity? This is what you need to know.
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How Do Fruits and Vegetables Affect Immunity?
Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that are good for health, such as vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and folic acid. There have been many studies that have shown that most fruits and vegetables contain nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E that can improve immune function.
Most fruits and vegetables are also rich in antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress . Here are some of the functions of vitamins contained in fruits and vegetables to increase immunity:
- Beta carotene
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and improve immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body. Good sources of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamins C and E
Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables. You can get good sources of vitamin E from spinach and broccoli.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D can reduce the risk of viral infections, including respiratory infections, by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body. Increased vitamin D in the blood has also been linked to the prevention of other chronic diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and cardiovascular disease.
Zinc is a mineral that can help increase white blood cells. White blood cells are cells that are able to survive attacks by foreign bodies.
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Apart from containing amazing vitamins, fruits and vegetables are also low in fat, sugar and contain no salt. As you know, fat is one of the causes of cholesterol, while sugar can cause diabetes and salt can trigger high blood pressure. All of these diseases are chronic and have the potential to become serious. Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables can prevent the development of these chronic diseases.
How Many Fruits and Vegetables Should You Eat Every Day?
Different fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients. Adults are advised to eat at least five types of vegetables and two types of fruit every day. Children have a smaller stomach capacity and higher energy requirements than adults. They cannot eat the same serving size as adults. However, parents still have to encourage children to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables provide the energy children need to play, concentrate more, study, sleep better and build stronger teeth and bones. Developing good eating habits in the early years of growth can also foster healthy eating patterns throughout their life.
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