A healthy immune system is very important when it comes to protecting your body. Focusing on healthy lifestyle behaviors as well as nutrient-rich foods can help to limit or lessen the symptoms of illness.
Immune boosting nutrients:
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli
- Beta carotene: sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, mango, broccoli, tomatoes
- Vitamin D: fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, eggs, and fortified foods such as milk and juice, and you can get it from sunlight
- Zinc: better absorbed in animal sources such as beef and seafood, for plant sources it is in in beans, nuts, and tofu
- Probiotics: the good bacteria that promote health are found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt and fermented foods such as kimchi
- Prebiotics: foods that cannot be digested and feed the good bacteria in the gut to help them grow, you can incorporate more prebiotics into your diet by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, specifically bananas, garlic, beans, and whole grain bread
- Protein: both animal and plant sources have it such as milk, eggs, chicken, beans, nuts
How to support immune health:
To keep your immune system healthy all year long, focus on balanced eating, stress management, and adequate sleep. Aim for 5 to 6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to get all the vitamins and minerals needed to support immune health. Also make sure to wash all produce to remove any unwanted bacteria. To manage stress, you can try yoga or simply taking long deep breaths. Make sure to get plenty of sleep because lack of sleep can be the cause of many health-related issues. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours per night.