Every winter with the arrival of cold and flu season, there’s a resurgence of interest in immune boosting foods, but with the COVID-19 pandemic posing an ongoing risk to people around the world, immune health is a hot topic. That means maintaining a healthy lifestyle is even more important than it would usually be – and it may be time to consider a diet overhaul.
Maximize health benefits from your diet by incorporating these ingredients as you plan your meals. Though it’s not always easy to prioritize healthy eating, especially when stressed or if you’re a busy professional, the effort will pay off.
Vitamin C’s Value
Vitamin C is well known for its immune system benefits; surely you’ve heard someone say, upon developing a cold, that they’re going to supplement with Vitamin C. That doesn’t mean you have to eat piles of oranges, though. You can also increase your vitamin C consumption by eating more berries, melon, tomatoes, and broccoli. It’s important to note, however, that Vitamin C may not help you avoid getting sick. Rather, it benefits your immune system by helping to protect certain white blood cells from toxins produced when actively fighting pathogens.
Pump Up The Probiotics
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria found in our digestive systems and which aid in digestion – but they also benefit the immune system. So where do you get them from?
While you can get probiotics as a supplement, it’s better to get them as an integral part of foods like yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi. These foods are all rich in probiotics, and many are easy to access on the go at shops or from Jar’s healthy vending machines. If you’re worried about your fruit getting squished in your bag, healthy packaged options can help bridge the gap.
Garlic’s Giant Impact
Garlic is a popular flavor enhancer, but as healthy foods go, garlic also has a wide range of health benefits. From an immune system perspective, though, garlic’s benefits seem to stem from its high concentrations of allicin and other sulphur-containing compounds. You can even boost garlic’s impact further by pairing it with ginger, which is an anti-inflammatory.
Maximize Mineral Content
Vitamins get all the attention when it comes to nutritional benefits, but minerals are also important for immune system health. In particular, you want to make sure you’re getting enough zinc, selenium, iron, and copper. These are important for overall immune system function and work in conjunction with various vitamins, with zinc playing a particularly important role in regulating proper T-cell function. You’ll get the most zinc from animal food sources, but many legumes are also a great source of this mineral. Meanwhile, shellfish will give you a boost in zinc, selenium, and copper.
Ultimately, if you’re concerned about immune function, the most important thing you can do is to eat a balanced diet. All nutrients work in concert with each other to ensure good overall health. Get enough vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein, and your body’s immune system will do its job with ease.