Boosting your immunity through nutrition
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
Summer is coming to an end and like many families we are preparing for back to school, cold/flu season and thinking about what impact the pandemic will have on life in the Fall. There are a lot of uncertainties right now. It’s especially important to note that no supplement, diet or lifestyle modification other than physical distancing and proper hygiene can protect you from COVID-19. One thing we do know for sure is that eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and exercising daily are important for maintaining overall health. Most adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night and 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Eating a low-fat, mostly plant-based diet can help support and boost a healthy immune system and ability to fight off disease. Your body uses and absorbs nutrients more efficiently when they come from whole food sources like fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods or supplements. They are packed with micronutrients, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants that can get stripped away during processing.
Here are some things that you can do to boost your immune system:
Reduce added sugars. The consumption of sugar can suppress the immune system, it can affect the body as soon as 30 minutes after consumption and last a long as 5 hours. Aim to limit your sugar intake to less than 5% of your calories (2 tablespoons of sugar for someone on a 2,000-calorie diet).
Eat whole foods because 90% of added sugars come from processed food products.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to get important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Antioxidants help to repair damage in the body. These specific foods are known to promote a healthy immune system:
Berries like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and cranberries contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant.
Citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes that are rich in vitamin C.
Red peppers that are rich in vitamin C and beta carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin A, C and E, as well as fiber and many other antioxidants.
Garlic and onions are rich in fiber, are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene.
Kiwi includes vitamins C and K, as well as folate and potassium.
Nuts and seeds like sunflower seed, walnuts, almonds, hazelnut and peanut butter are sources of vitamin E, zinc and plant-based protein.
Some seasonal favorites to look out for this Fall include: Sweet potatoes, butternut squash and pumpkin all good sources for beta carotene and Vitamin C. Apples and pears are high in fiber and Vitamin C.
Get plenty of fiber. It supports a healthy gut microbiome and the growth of good bacteria, which in turns helps to support an immune response when a threat is present.
Spices like cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin and coriander boost the immune system with their anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.
Relieving stress and anxiety is key to immune health. Activities that may help you manage your stress include exercise, meditation, journaling, yoga and other mindfulness practices. You may also benefit from seeing a licensed counselor or therapist, whether in person or virtually.
The beginning of a new season is a great time to break with old habits and start something thing new. If you’ve been wanting to make a change in your nutrition to improve your health or to address an ongoing health concern but you keep putting it off because you don’t know where to start, contact me for a free consultation. You will complete a nutrition assessment and based on your feedback I design a nutrition plan just for you. We’ll work together to set health goals that will help get you on the path to living your heathy lifestyle.
Wellness starts from within so feed your soul with healthy nutrition.
Peace and Love,