Eating for Immune Health

October 15, 2020

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Photo Courtesy: Flickr

How Food Can Boost the Immune System 

We’ve all been told to drink a glass of orange juice if we feel a cold coming on. Unfortunately though, having this small dose of vitamin C is not enough to give our immune system the boost it needs to wipe any and all diseases from our system. Eating for immune health is more than just this single serving of a vitamin C-rich food every once in a while. It is eating an abundance of immune boosting vitamins and minerals, managing chronic stress, getting enough sleep regularly, and engaging in regular physical activity.  

 

So, if we need an abundance and variety of vitamins and minerals, which ones should we focus on for immune health and what foods can we find them in? To learn more, check out the list below:  

Vitamin C: 

This immune boosting vitamin is always the “go to”, but it is found in more foods than just the citrus fruits. Vitamin C can also be found in dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), bell peppers, brussel sprouts, and strawberries!  

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is also an antioxidant like Vitamin C. This means it can help strengthen our immune system along with other great benefits. Food sources rich in Vitamin E include almonds, peanuts, spinach, broccoli, and avocado!  

Vitamin B6:

Vitamin B6 helps with nervous system functioning, and red blood cell formation in addition to strengthening the immune system. Food sources of Vitamin B6 include chickpeas, potatoes, salmon, tuna, and chicken. Options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians!  

Iron: 

This mineral is most commonly known for blood health, but Iron can also help the immune system. Iron can be found in beans, peas, dark green vegetables, beef, poultry, raisins, and even store-bought whole grain foods like most cereals!

Zinc:

I like to think of Zinc as the mineral equivalence of Vitamin C. Similar to Vitamin C, Zinc is a great strengthener for the immune system. Additionally, Zinc can help with wound healing, growth and development, and even reproductive health! Foods rich in Zinc include seafood, beans, peas, chicken, whole grains, and even store bought cereals.

Although we could all just take a daily multivitamin to get most of what we need for vitamins and minerals; eating rich food sources can provide more benefits than just a vitamin. Some of these benefits include fiber, other essential nutrients, and satiety (the feeling of fullness) Plus, who doesn’t love eating yummy foods? Remember, taking care of our immune system is not just about eating a variety of foods either, it also includes getting good sleep, and managing chronic stress! 

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