Our immune system is year-round! Although there is not one immune-boosting diet or food, we can prepare the body to fight infections by eating a balanced diet consisting of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Now that the peak of flu season is over, here are some nutrition tips for how we can fuel our bodies for the rest of the year to continue maintaining healthy immune systems.
Variety is Key- Eating a variety of foods is helpful to meet your needs for vitamins and minerals. Some simple ways to increase variety in your diet are to increase your whole food intake, choose nutrient-dense foods, and eat different colored fruits and vegetables (purple potato, yellow banana, orange carrot).
Support your Gut- Active research finds that our gut’s microbiome is an important part of our immune system. Food in the form of probiotics and prebiotics supports the microbes that inhabit the microbiome and exhibit these immunity benefits. Therefore, a diet including probiotics and prebiotics may be beneficial. Probiotics are foods that contain live bacteria that contribute to the
● Probiotics: Live bacteria found in foods that contribute to the microbiome. Found in foods like kefir, yogurt, and kimchi
● Prebiotics: The fiber found in food products that the bacteria eat in the gut. Found in foods like whole grains, flax seeds, and black beans.
Eat Specific Nutrients known to Support Immune Cells:
● Vitamin C: oranges, peppers, grapefruit, broccoli
● Vitamin D: salmon, mushrooms, milk, UV sunlight
● Zinc: red meat, beans, chicken
● Selenium: seafood, eggs, dairy products
● Iron: red meat, white beans, nuts, spinach
● Protein: meats, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils
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About the Author:
Lauren Hogan promotes food for both nourishment and enjoyment. She received her bachelor’s. degree in applied nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and completed her dietetic internship through Illinois State University. She is currently a certified registered dietitian and is completing her master’s degree in nutrition through Illinois State University. In addition to all thing’s food, she enjoys skiing, walking along the beach, and spending time with friends and family.