One of the best ways to protect yourself from illness is solid nutrition.
It is essential in maintaining good health & supporting a strong immune system.
The following nutrients provide immunity-boosting benefits, and should be consistently found in your daily diet:
Many are unaware of the role that protein plays in the body’s immune system. It especially aids in healing and recovery. A variety of great protein sources includes seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts & seeds, to name a few.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A aids in regulating your immune system and protecting against infections by keeping skin and tissues in your mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods fortified with vitamin A.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect you from infection by encouraging antibodies and boosting immunity. Include more sources of this healthy vitamin in your diet by consuming citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato or foods fortified with vitamin C.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and improves immune system function. Obtain adequate vitamin E in your diet with consumption of leafy green vegetables, fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and peanut butter.
- Vitamin D
- We don't get nearly enough Vitamin D here in the PNW, so if you aren't already, start taking a Vitamin D supplement (speak to your doctor about quantity). Vitamin D not only aids in immune system regulation, but it is vital to brain function, cardiovascular health and SO much more.
- Omega 3
Our bodies make very little of this vital fatty acid, so it is important that we consume it via supplement or by food sources (flax seed, fish, spinach, walnuts, etc.) Omega 3 aids in heart and brain health, decreases inflammation, and loads of other benefits.
Additionally there are other nutrients that may influence immune response and play a role in a healthy immune boosting diet, including zinc, vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics.
*Disclaimer: Obtaining these nutrients from foods is preferred, so be sure to speak with your healthcare provider and/or a registered dietitian nutritionist before taking any immune-boosting supplements.
Thanks to our friends and partner at Healthy Steps Nutrition for always being a great resource!