By Keith Barbalato
Keeping a healthy immune system is always important, especially during colder months when we're often indoors, in closer contact with germs.
The link between strong immunity and nutritional intake is clear: More whole foods, fewer processed foods and a balanced intake of essential vitamins and minerals can keep you and the people around you, from getting sick.
Find these micronutrients in a food near you:
What it is: A nutrient that fosters production of the proteins that break down the cell membranes of bacteria and strengthens cells that maintain immunity for the body. Deficiency can increase infection, while healthy doses are believed to prevent autoimmune diseases.
Did you know? Vitamin D is the only vitamin with its own Twitter account: @VitaminDCouncil.
What it is: Fat-soluble compounds vital to the normal functioning of many immune cells including antibody generation and cellular reproduction; plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your skin and mucous membranes, which act as the first lines of defense against infections.
Where to get it: Animal livers, dark greens and orange and yellow vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
Did you know? It is possible to get too much vitamin A. Overdose, known as hypervitaminosis A, can cause nausea, vomiting and dry skin. This was a common problem for Arctic explorers whose subsistence diet included seal and polar bear livers.
What it is: A mineral required for essential proteins and antioxidants that play a major role in maintaining immunity. Zinc also enhances the function of T cells, which detect and eliminate infectious and abnormal cells in the body.
Where to get it: Oysters, dairy products such as yogurt and dark meats.
Did you know? Two oysters contain the full daily requirement of zinc.
What it is: A powerful antioxidant that aids in the production and function of white blood cells, helps prevent cell damage and is needed for the function of essential enzymes.
Where to get it: Citrus fruits and drinks, as well as sauerkraut.
Did You know? Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient, meaning it is not stored in cells. Excess amounts pass through the body, so vitamin C can be consumed throughout the day.
What it is: Bacteria for your digestive tract that stimulate the production of antibodies and T cells and help cells communicate as they fight off infections.
Where to get it: Yogurt. Check labels for “contains active/live cultures." Also kimchi, kombucha and other fermented foods.
Did you know? In contrast to antibiotics, which means “life-killing" in the Greek etymology, probiotics means “for life" because they are organisms that stimulate growth.
What it is: An essential antioxidant helping protect cell membranes from atoms that damage cells.
Where to get it: Fatty foods such as seeds, nuts and oils. Add sunflower seeds—one of the best sources—to salads, yogurt or stir-fries.
Did you know? Studies show that 90 percent of Americans don't meet the recommended daily value for vitamin E.
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Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average for 2020, the second-warmest year the globe has seen since record-keeping began in 1880, according to NOAA. Record-high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. No land or ocean areas were record cold for the year. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Figure 2. Total ocean heat content (OHC) in the top 2000 meters from 1958-2020. Cheng et al., Upper Ocean Temperatures Hit Record High in 2020, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Figure 3. Departure of sea surface temperature from average in the benchmark Niño 3.4 region of the eastern tropical Pacific (5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W). Sea surface temperature were approximately one degree Celsius below average over the past month, characteristic of moderate La Niña conditions. Tropical Tidbits
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