By Mayson Marshall, nutraMetrix Program Coordinator – Nutritional Foods to Support Your Immune Health –
As individuals we are given the opportunity to have some control over our health; this control comes from practicing healthy everyday habits. As we are transitioning into the fall and winter seasons, it is important to have habits that can support your immune system. There are several things you can do to promote your immune health such as adequate sleep, exercising daily, reducing stress and supplementation. In addition to those, a key role in not only living a healthy lifestyle, but also supporting the body’s immune health is our diet. It is vital to provide the body with a balanced diet as it needs the adequate nutrients to be able to perform as it should. If the body lacks the intake of the needed nutrients, it can make the individual more prone to difficulties.
An immune supporting diet consists of foods that are rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and lean proteins. These foods are typically rich in vitamins and minerals that the body needs to protect your health. You should avoid eating foods that are high in saturated and trans fats like fried and processed foods. These foods are known to cause the body to become sensitive which effects your immune health in a negative way. (1)
Key nutrients for Immune Support: (2) (3)
- Vitamin C – contributes to immune health
- Zinc – helps the function of your immune system
- Vitamin B – important for healthy immune response
- Vitamin D – promotes immune system
- Probiotics – The gut makes up 70-80% of the cells in our immune system so a healthy gut contributes largely to a healthy immune system.
Examples of Immune Supporting Foods: (4)
- Citrus Fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, kiwis)
- Red Bell Peppers
- Garlic & Ginger
- Almonds & other nuts/seeds
Another way to make sure you receive the needed nutrients is through your beverage intake. Besides the importance of water and staying hydrated daily, there are other beverage options that can be beneficial to your diet and health. Smoothies are quick and easy for on the go and are typically prepared with fruits and vegetables. Hot teas can be made with different ingredients like ginger and turmeric which are both known to be immune supporting ingredients. (5)
An easy way to implement a healthier diet is to plan. It is easy to go into the grocery store without a list or intention to shop for healthy options. It is also very easy to eat out of convenience, such as fast food. Plan out your meals and be consistent. Consistency of a healthy diet can assist in keeping you well year around. When planning out your meals, just keep it simple. Try to eat meals that are high in protein and are accompanied with a vegetable. If you are someone who likes to snack throughout the day, try fruits and nuts as an excellent way to achieve the intake of these.
- 15 Foods That Boost the Immune System: Citrus, Bell Peppers & More (healthline.co https://www.livescience.com/which-vitamins-boost-the-immune-systemm)