A Much Needed Immunity Boost

by karen on October 24, 2019

**Disclaimer: We at Nutrition Connection believe in the power of healthy diet and natural remedies including essential oils for boosting immunity and maintaining wellness. We do NOT believe that essential oils are a suitable replacement for vaccines. Please vaccinate your children to prevent the spread of disease.**

Perhaps the only downside to fall I can think of—what with fall being my favorite season—is the increase in cold and flu illnesses. I’ve already had numerous clients coming in sick and/or canceling their nutrition appointments because they’ve contracted a bug. Thankfully, I’ve dodged the bullet thus far and plan to do so for the rest of season—fingers crossed. I diffuse essential oils in the office, so the doTERRA On Guard Protective Blend becomes the oil of the season. Protective Blend contains extracts of plants with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, along with those that boost our immunity. I’ll blog next week on essential oils to give lots of good and detailed info, so be sure to check back in.

Today, we’re looking at the power in foods to keep our immune system strong. Up your chances of staying healthy this season by putting some extra thought into the foods you eat.

Choose Immune-Boosting Nutrients

Healthy immune systems need good, regular nourishment. Here are the nutrients to include in your daily diet and the foods that provide them.

Vitamin C. It probably comes as no surprise that vitamin C is important in helping protect us from colds and flus, but you may be surprised that many foods besides citrus fruits are good sources. In addition to oranges, grapefruit, and the juice of lemons and limes; ginger, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, kale, strawberries, papaya, and mango are all great foods to eat regularly to steer clear from being susceptible to germs and yuck this fall.

Vitamin E. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that fights off infection. Reach for almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds. Spinach and broccoli hit the list too.

Vitamin B6. This important vitamin is part of nearly 200 biochemical reactions in the body, and is critical in how your immune system functions. Add bananas, baked potatoes, garbanzo beans and salmon to your grocery list.

Vitamin D. When possible, it’s healthiest to get the nutrients we need from food, but vitamin D is an exception. There simply isn’t enough vitamin D in our foods to make much difference. Take a supplement of vitamin D3 with 2000-3000 iu to maintain a strong immune system.

Selenium. This nutrient has a powerful effect on our immune system, found in garlic, broccoli, sardines, tuna, and Brazil nuts.

Zinc. Zinc helps reduce inflammation associated with fighting viruses and bacteria. Find zinc in oysters, crab, lean meat, yogurt and garbanzo beans.

Factor in Fermentation

Our digestive system is a major component of our immune system, and it’s made up of millions of bacteria. Keeping that bacteria healthy is important in our ability to fight infection. Fermented foods, those that have live and active bacteria (cultures) are key, so regularly consume yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha and sauerkraut, and pickles and kimchi if they specifically state they have active cultures. Fiber is what the probiotics feed on, and lucky for us, those are the same foods found above; fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Harness the Power of Hydration

Our bodies are primarily water, and proper hydration (usually 7 to 10 cups daily) plays into supporting a healthy immune system. Green tea has some very good research behind it that supports drinking at least one cup daily to boost immunity. So brew a cup and take a moment to relax and enjoy.

Now, Ready Your Grocery List

Here’s a compilation of the above foods to have in your house throughout the cold and flu season. You can really expand your intake to include all fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish and shellfish, and nuts and seeds. Make these foods the base of your diet and you’ll be on your way to staying healthy.

Fruit
Oranges, grapefruit, lemon, lime, strawberries, papaya, mango, banana
Vegetables
Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, kale, potato, garlic, ginger, and sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi that state they have live cultures
Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts
Legumes
Garbanzo beans
Dairy
Yogurt, kefir
Fish and Shellfish
Salmon, oysters, crab
Meat
Lean meat in moderation, including cuts that include tip, top, eye, and round. (These are often most tender cooked with liquid – get out your Crock ™ and Instant ™ Pots).
Other
2000-3000 iu vitamin D3 supplement, kombucha, miso, green tea

I hope your next shopping trip supports your immune system. When we’re working on it together, we’ll stay healthy together, and rest assured we can power through this winter!

 

Karen Fisher, MS, RD, LDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection. Find her website atwww.NutritionConnectionNV.com

To find a nutrition expert in your area, go to the academy website – Find an Expert https://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert

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