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The importance of nutrition to strengthen resilience

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Resilience is driving global discussions concerning how individuals can live safer, longer, happier, and healthier lives.

According to a recent press release from the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA), “resilience is one of the world’s most talked-about social concerns.” 

Within the European policy framework, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines gaining resilience as “a key factor in protecting and promoting health and wellbeing.” Furthermore, the WHO states that “resilience has a very prominent role in essentially all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” 

The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the importance of a strong immune system to build resilience towards the viral threat. This promoted further discussions around the importance of supporting immune health through nutrition and how this is essential for strengthening resilience. 

According to an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), sufficient micronutrient intake of vitamins (A, B6, B12, C, D, and folate) and minerals (copper, iron, selenium, and zinc) is beneficial for a strong immune system. However, according to work published in the Current Developments in Nutrition (CDN) journal, an estimated two billion people are deficient in nutrients worldwide. This nutrition deficiency results in an impaired immune system and weakened resilience.  

Simon Pettman, executive director of IADSA, stated: “With inadequate nutrient intakes so widespread, we need to find ways to help people maintain normal immune health and achieve greater resilience. Better nutrition education is key. Acting now could transform the lives of millions of people.” Information around building resilience is important for everyone to understand, especially within older communities. Since an individual's immune system naturally weakens as they grow older, building resilience becomes a vital part of healthy ageing. This was witnessed during the pandemic where most high-risk individuals were within the senior population. To strive for optimal nutrition worldwide, a multi-faceted response is recommended since no single route is sufficient in overcoming this problem. 

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