The best foods for your Immune System
With the topic of COVID and staying healthy in these difficult times, it is often overlooked that the best way to protect yourself against getting sick is by making sure the foods you eat in your diet are immune system friendly. Keeping specific foods in and out of your diet can keep you feeling great and help stave off even a minor cold or bug. Obviously this is no cure or precaution for kicking COVID, but rather an idea of good foods to eat more regularly that will keep you feeling healthy and your immune system strong. Your immune system is vital to keeping you healthy so supplying it with vital nutrients and foods is essential.
All types of nuts and seeds (plus their butters), avocados and olives (and their oils) and oily fish (such as salmon and sardines) help regulate your body’s inflammatory process. Depending on the specific food, it may also supply key nutrients (such as selenium, vitamin E, zinc, iron or magnesium) that are involved in optimal immune cell functioning. Use these foods to help punch up your meal.
The US Dietary Guidelines recommend eating seafood twice a week and this advice can help your immune health too. Seafood supplies anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, including magnesium and zinc, that help support your immune system. Plus, when you replace red meat, which is high in pro-inflammatory saturated fats, with seafood you can help keep chronic inflammation in check.
Yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are examples of fermented foods that supply beneficial bacteria to your gut. According to one review, supplementing with probiotics, such as the ones found in fermented foods, helped prevent upper respiratory infections and shaved about two days off of the recovery period among the people who did get sick compared with those who took a placebo (a fake treatment).
Fruits and Veggies
Some of the key immune-strengthening nutrients in these foods include vitamin C, beta carotene and certain B vitamins, like folate. Many fruits and veggies also supply polyphenols, antioxidants that get broken down into food and contribute to healthy gut bacteria. These compounds, which are also found in other plant foods (like extra virgin olive oil, whole grains, pulses, tea and coffee) help your beneficial bacteria flourish.