One of the things that has surprised me most during this unprecedented time is that governments from all over the world have been giving us advice on how to protect us against this virus from the outside but never how to do this from the inside. We are being told to use hydro alcoholic gels, face masks, stay in our houses, but no one talks about the importance of improving or building up our own immune system.
One of the first things any doctor will tell you is the importance of vitamin D for a strong immune system. The best way to get this is by being outside for at least 30 minutes every day and especially on sunny days. In case you can not go outside, for example due to a virus, it is strongly recommended taking vitamin D as a nutritional supplement or one of the other best vitamins for health.
We can give our body an extra boost by taking various vitamins or other nutritional supplements, but you can also get most of them by consuming the right food. Vitamins can be consumed as an individual vitamin or as a multi vitamin. Be careful with the consumption of multivitamins because our body normally has enough of most vitamins when we are healthy and eating enough fruits and vegetables. Try to eat varied food and fruits and vegetables of different colors, but consult your healthcare specialist if you think you might be deficient in some area.
Who should consider taking nutritional supplements and why?1. Everyone who has been in lockdown and has not been able to go outside for a considerable amount of time as well as those people who want to strengthen their immune system in case they risk infection.
2. Pregnant women
4. Elderly people
What are the best vitamins for health for each group?
Let's take a deeper look into the best vitamins for health for each of the groups listed above. Discover the recommendations below:
1. People in lockdown, who haven't gone outside in a while, or who want to protect their body
- VITAMIN D: Go outside and walk in the sun or take a vitamin D tablet every day.
- VITAMIN C: Eat a lot of fruit and veggies that are rich of vitamin C (blackberries, strawberries, oranges, kiwi, potatoes, brussels sprouts, red pepper, and kale among others). Otherwise, a vitamin C supplement of 1.000 mg once a day.
- ZINK: Eat oysters, liver, turkey or steak meat, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts or boiled chicken. Otherwise, take a Zink supplement of around 25mg per day.
2. Pregnant women
- VITAMIN D: Doctors recommend them to take a supplement of 10mg of Vitamin D
- FOLIC ACID: Folic Acid (vitamin B11) between the 4th and the 8th week after conception
For more information on pregnancy in Spain, read this blog post from an expat mom.
- VITAMIN D: Really young children and children with a very dark skin are recommended to get some extra vitamin D through a supplement. Normally children that eat healthy don’t really need any supplements unless they don’t eat well, don’t like to eat, have dieting problems or when they have to study for exams.
- IRON: During exam times for children between 9-20 years, it’s recommended to add some extra iron to the diet, either by eating extra meat, fish, cereals, nuts or green veggies. Iron makes that the child can concentrate better, which should result in better results. Iron is best absorbed when taken with vitamin C.
- YODO: In case of a lack of yodo, children might feel more tired and with less energy. Yodo can be found in the following food: seafood, shrimps, and spinach.
- ZINC: The Hypocampo (part of the brain) needs Zinc for short term memory. You can find zinc in oysters, liver, turkey or steak meat, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts, or boiled chicken. Otherwise take a Zinc supplement of around 25mg per day.
All these supplements are only good during intense studying, not all year long.
4. Elderly people
Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that for older people, taking nutritional supplements have little or no result. They do not know why yet, but the results with test groups who did not take supplements, had the same results. Still, doctors do recommend the following supplements for older people:
- Vitamin D for stronger bones and a better working immune system
- Magnesio, Calcio and Zink: for better bones and muscles.
- Vitamin B12 for better concentration and working of the brain
There are a lot of people who have decided in the last years to no longer eat any meat and/or fish and some even all animal related products like eggs or milk or cheese. There are very good reasons to decide so, but it is important to watch closely if you still consume enough of all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
- VITAMIN B12: If you do not eat any meat at all, it is recommended to take some B12 supplement. Vitamin B12 is required for the proper function and development of the brain, nerves, blood cells, and many other parts of the body.
- IRON: Iron can be found in a lot of food that is not from animals, but the body does not absorb it as well as through meat or through a supplement. You can find iron in the following food: Brussels sprout, beets, been, nuts, seed, banana, soya, etc.
- OMEGA 3: Omega 3 is important to keep your blood vessels healthy and clean. The best food is fat fish like salmon, but if you do not eat fish you can try seaweed, nuts, seed and nuts.
So the most important message is that we should definitely follow the advice the governments give us, but also live and eat as healthy as possible, go outside, do some sports. If feel you lack any vitamins or minerals, don’t hesitate to consume some nutritional supplements or get a general health screening from your doctor:
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