While the British Dietetic Association stresses that you cannot ‘boost’ your immune system through diet, a healthy diet and lifestyle can both support immune function.

As well as undertaking regular exercise, not smoking, drinking only in moderation, and getting adequate sleep, eating a wide range of foods can support immunity.

INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING NUTRIENTS IN YOUR DIVERSE DIET.

VITAMIN A

Found in liver, cheese (as retinol – pre-formed vitamin A). Dark green leafy vegetables and orange fruits and vegetables (as carotenoids which can be converted to vitamin A).

VITAMIN B6

Found in meat, wholegrain cereals, fortified cereals, bananas, nuts and pulses.

VITAMIN B12

Found in meat and meat products, eggs, milk and dairy products, fish and fish products, yeast products and fortified vegetable extracts, fortified breakfast cereals.

VITAMIN C

Found in kiwi fruit, guava, mango, papaya, citrus fruits, blackcurrant, sweet potato, pepper, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

COPPER

Found in shellfish, seeds and nuts, organ meats, mushrooms, wheat-bran cereals, whole-grain products, chocolate.

VITAMIN D

Most of our vitamin D is made by the body when exposed to sunlight. It can be found in a small number of foods including oily fish, egg yolk, meat, offal, margarine and fortified foods.

FOLATE

Folate is the form of folic acid which occurs naturally in foods. Found in spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, beans and legumes, yeast and beef extracts, oranges, wholegrain, poultry, pork, shellfish and liver.

IRON

Animal-based sources such as red meat deliver haem iron, and plant-based sources such as pulses and legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, nuts and seeds provide non-haem iron. Haem iron can increase absorption of non-haem iron.

SELENIUM

Found in offal, fish, Brazil nuts, eggs, poultry, meat and meat products.

ZINC

Found in lamb, leafy and root vegetables, crabs and shellfish, beef, offal, whole grains, pork, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs and nuts.

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