Posted on Aug 25, 2020, 4 p.m.
Most people know that we need to wash your hands frequently, get enough sleep, and try not to touch your face to avoid being sick. But most people don’t understand that what you eat plays a huge role in keeping the immune system strong and in many other ways affects your health and well being.
The basic responsibility of certain vitamins and minerals is to support the immune system, such as vitamins A, C, D, E, iron, and zinc. These are all involved in immune function, as such consuming foods that are rich in these nutrients will go a long way in helping to make sure that you are getting adequate amounts in your diet.
According to Harvard Health, diet also plays a role in the level of inflammation in our body. Inflammation is increased when we eat less healthy foods like refined grains, fried foods, sugary beverages, and processed foods. But more healthy choices can decrease inflammation such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish.
When in doubt grab a glass of water. Most times when people think they are hungry, they are actually thirsty or just need to give food some more time to digest. Drinking enough water is the key to staying hydrated which is vital to flushing toxins from the body and this helps to fight inflammation. It is very important to stay hydrated especially during cold and flu season to keep our immunity up to stave off infection, to help the body naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. As a plus you can infuse water with slices of citrus fruit to add to that immunity boost.
If one eats a lot of unhealthy food like sweets, processed and fried foods the body is likely to be in a state of chronic inflammation which will lead to cortisol levels remaining high and this will suppress the immune system. Replacing some of the unhealthy choices with anti-inflammatory options can help to reduce some of that inflammation.
Additionally, processed foods will typically contain high levels of sodium content, which is also not good for immunity, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine that found an association between 6 additional grams of salt per day and a pronounced immune deficiency in humans. The researchers found that a high salt diet impairs neutrophil ability to kill off bacteria in the body.
A report published in Gut reminds us all that everything we put into our mouths makes its way to the GI Tract, and some foods we eat can either help or hurt the beneficial bacteria that lives there. Foods that are rich in fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics help out the gut microbiome while a processed, high salt, high sugar, and high fat diet is harmful.
Rather than reaching for potato chips, swap that out for popcorn. While whole potatoes may be good for you how they are cooked and served can change that, as is the case with frying them and removing the outer skin that contains the fiber. Popcorn is a healthier option as it is a whole grain as well as a source of polyphenols, and the popping process does not significantly degrade the antioxidant content, according to a report published in Antioxidants. But popcorn can also be made an unhealthy choice by the toppings we add to it.
Try swapping out soda pop for kombucha, this will still provide that sweetness and bubbles that comes with probiotics to support gut health while avoiding all that added sugar.
Choose whole grain bread rather than white bread that has had most of the bran and germ removed in processing leaving behind carbs and minimal amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Opt for a salmon steak rather than beef steak at least twice a week as this fish option is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation according to Cleveland Clinic. If you can try to pick wild caught salmon because farmed fish can have more calories and saturated fat.
Reach for pistachios the next time you want an easy snack as they are rich sources of healthy fats, fiber, iron, and polyphenol content that will also help to fight inflammation, according to a report published in Nutrients.
There are many foods that can help to boost the immune system which are delicious such as garlic, citrus fruits, almonds, fish, mushrooms, onions, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, turmeric, papaya, kiwi, yogurt, green tea, and ginger among many others. Eating healthy to boost and support your immune system is far from being bland. Enjoy.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement