In the final blog of our series on the Immune System and ways to support and maintain it, we are discussing the benefits and sources of Beta-Carotene and Zinc.
What is Beta-Carotene?
Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and other vegetables, that gets converted into Vitamin A – an essential vitamin.
It is a powerful antioxidant that has a number of benefits. It can:
- reduce inflammation
- boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body
- improve cognitive function and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline
- maintain skin health and appearance
- support eye health and prevent eye diseases
Sources of Beta-Carotene
As mentioned, this nutrient is found in colourful vegetables such as carrots with its vibrant orange colour. It can also be found in sweet potatoes, apricots, grapefruit, leafy greens like kale, onions, pumpkin, and squash.
What is Zinc?
Zinc is considered a trace mineral. It is an essential nutrient for our immune system to function and to maintain our health.
Found mostly in our diet, zinc provides a number of benefits, such as the prevention of zinc deficiencies, reducing cold symptoms, healing wounds, reducing symptoms of diarrhea, and may slow the process of age-related eye disease (macular degeneration).
Sources of Zinc
- whole grains
- milk products
- red meat
- legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and baked beans
- nuts, such as cashews and almonds
- seeds, such as pumpkin and sesame
Remember, before adding vitamin supplements, always speak to your health care provider as many supplements may counteract with specific and prescribed medications. However, introducing small nutritious dietary changes to your daily routine will benefit your overall health and support your immune system for the prevention of certain diseases and overall functioning.
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