Foods That Help Keep Your Immune System Healthy
Maintaining a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong and functioning optimally is very important as we navigate through the coronavirus global pandemic. While there is no research or scientific evidence to show foods or supplements have any impact against COVID-19 specifically, doing what you can to maintain your immune system can only benefit your health, making you less likely to need the healthcare resources in your community critical to the fight against COVID-19.
We’ve talked previously about foods for healthy eyes and vision; many of which are high in immune-boosting nutrients, so we recommend adding them to your shopping list to ensure you get your daily dose:
- Pick foods rich in beta carotene such as carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and apricots. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A, the antioxidant known to help fuel the antibody response to combat toxins and foreign substances to disrupt their ability to damage tissues in the body.
- Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C should be part of every meal, including oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, red peppers, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, kiwis and tomatoes. Vitamin C supports many cell functions. A powerful contributor to our immune defense, Vitamin C is needed to support the growth and repair of tissues in your body. There is clinical evidence showing Vitamin C helps the risk of respiratory infections.
- Eggs, cheese, tofu and fatty fish are all good sources of Vitamin D. Vitamin D regulates the production of a protein that selectively kills infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D supplements also may help protect against acute respiratory tract infections.
- Zinc helps the immune system control and regulate the body’s ability to defend itself against pathogens. Zinc is found in a wide variety of foods. Excellent sources of zinc include beans such as chickpeas and lentils, tofu, nuts and seeds, wheat germ, shellfish including oysters, crab and lobster, and fortified cereals.
- Protein is a key building block for growing and maintaining healthy tissue, so it plays an important role in our immune system.Fish, poultry, beef, milk, eggs and cottage cheese, are all protein-rich additions to your grocery list. Also, many of the recommended foods that are high in zinc are also high in protein.
- Don’t forget a daily dose of probiotics, good bacteria that can help promote a healthy gut and immune system. Yogurt, cheese and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi are all good sources of probiotics.
Doing what we can to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic is a positive action each of us can take to help stop the spread and ensure the healthcare resources are in place to help those who need medical attention. Making sure your diet includes foods that fuel your immune system is a simple, direct way you can contribute to the fight.