Foods to Support a Healthy Immune System
By Sara Butler
This cold and flu season has been a doozy. Whether you’ve been lucky enough to escape its wrath or you’re still trying to recover, there’s never a bad time to work to support and strengthen your immunity. A very easy way to do this is by making sure certain foods have a starring role in your diet. Here are a few foods that are immune system all-stars.
When it comes to helping your body fight off infection, sweet potatoes pull double-duty. They’re full of the powerful antioxidant beta-carotene, which turns into another antioxidant your immune system needs called Vitamin A when you eat it. Vitamin A and beta-carotene help to keep your skin strong -- and your skin is your body’s first defense against harmful viruses and bacteria.
If sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, you can get these essential nutrients from acorn squash, pumpkin, butternut squash, and carrots.
These nuts deal a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E, helping to protect the cells of the body from damage. Healthy cells help your immune system to function more effectively and keep invaders out.
If you want to diversify, you can also get omega-3 fatty acids from seeds, whole grains, olive oil, and peanut butter.
Feel bad for the little piggy that had none, because he probably got the flu this year! Roast beef is full of zinc, a mineral that helps to keep the cells in your body that fight disease healthy and strong. It also helps to promote cell production, repair, and growth.
If you don’t want beef, you can always get zinc in seafood, tofu, pork, and wheat germ.
Yogurt is great for your gut! And a healthy gut is essential for a healthy and fully functional immune system since it houses the cells that provide up to half of your body’s immune response. Keep the good bacteria that live in your gut happy with the probiotics found in yogurt to help you fight off viruses.
If dairy isn’t a part of your daily routine, then you can also support a healthy gut with yogurts made from other non-dairy sources such as soy or coconut milk. Just make sure there are live and active cultures in the product you’re eating. Miso, kefir, and sauerkraut are also good for your gut.
Food fuels your body to work at its very best. Fuel it right in order to get all you need to fight cold and flu season!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sterling, Va.