Proper Nutrition Can Elevate our Immune System Today and Throughout our Lifespan
Simone De Oliveira
Licensed and Registered Dietitian
Nutrition Program Manager
Although several components help prevent an illness, a healthy immune system adds a solid layer of protection. Focus on a variety of foods that are rich in immune supporting nutrients. No single food or supplement has these superpowers, but with a balanced diet, the odds will forever be in our favor.
Beta Carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A, protects against infections by maintaining skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs and vitamin A fortified foods such as milk.
Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies. Choose citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines or red bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice and vitamin C fortified foods.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that supports our immune system. Found in sunflower seeds, almonds, safflower and sunflower oils, hazelnuts and peanut butter.
Vitamin D acts as a light switch turning on or off receptors throughout our body that activate an immune response. Abundant in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, eggs and vitamin A fortified milk or juices.
Zinc is crucial for the process of wound healing. Found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts.
Protein is essential for healing and recovery. Focus on variety such as seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, nuts and seeds.
Probiotics are essentially “good” bacteria that promote health. Found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt and fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha.
Routine consumption of these foods with their immune empowering nutrients will undoubtedly help us through this COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately as we return to life as usual, continue to make an optimal diet a lifelong priority.