Vitamins and minerals: Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc

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Immunity quiz peanuts


RDA = 270 mg for women and 300 mg for men
What's it good for? Magnesium helps turn the food we eat into energy and it also helps with healthy bones.
What happens if I don't get enough? You might get muscle spasms and a lack of it has been linked with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and weak bones.
Where can I get it from? Green leafy veg, especially spinach and nuts. It's also in bread, fish, meat and dairy products.

Foodmg of magnesium
A bag of spinach224
6 slices of cheese8.5
1 fillet of cod28
A bag of pistachio nuts155


RDA = 0.06 mg for women and 0.075 mg for men
What's it good for? Selenium helps boost your immune system so it stops you catching bugs or staying ill for long periods.
What happens if I don't get enough? You can have muscle tenderness and weakness and anaemia. A severe lack of selenium can give a greater chance of getting some cancers and has been linked with causing Down's Syndrome, although this is very rare.
Where can I get it from? Brazil nuts, bread, fish meat and eggs.

Foodmg of selenium
A bag of brazil nuts2.36
1 fillet of cod0.067
1 large egg0.015
3 slices of pork0.01


RDA = 7 mg for women and 9.5 mg for men
What's it good for? Zinc is great for your immune system and healing wounds because it helps make new cells and enzymes. It also helps break down the carbohydrate, fat and protein that we eat.
What happens if I don't get enough? Loss of taste and smell, hair loss, diarrhoea, growth problems in children and slow healing of wounds.
Where can I get it from? Meat, shellfish, brown rice and wholegrains. It's also in milk and cheese.

Foodmg of zinc
6 slices of cheese5.22
1 chicken breast1.84
A handful of brown rice1.21
A glass of milk0.98

Continued below...

Where next?
- Find out all about health conditions
- Do you really need to see a doctor?
- Top tips for boosting your immune system
- Old wives' tales - which ones work?
- How well are you? Take our immune system quiz to find out

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