Flu Season is right around the corner and with everything else going on (lets not talk about the pandemic) it is critical to protect yourself! And what better way than to boost immunity with food! This is a natural way to protect your body and increase your immune system health. Here I have the top nutrients your body needs and exactly which foods provide the best boost to your immune system.
*Medical disclaimer: Although I am a medical provider, I am not YOUR medical provider. The information in this article is for educational purposes only.
Table of Contents
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine” vitamin, is essential to immune health. This is the mineral that supports the respiratory system specifically, which is why it is listed first in this article! (you can read the journal article here)
Working in the front lines in the Emergency Department during COVID, I often prescribed Vitamin D to help protect the lungs against inflammation. So this vitamin is critical to protect against Flu season.
Our bodies don’t make this vitamin naturally, so we need to rely on other sources. Thankfully we store Vitamin D in the liver, so it is something that can have a daily supply, even if you don’t eat it every day.
You get Vitamin D by being out in the sun, but there are foods that contain vitamin D and boost immunity:
Boost immunity with food that contains Vitamin D:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, sardines, and salmon
- Foods fortified with vitamin D: yogurt, tofu, orange juice
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
- Cod liver oil
- Fortified milk substitutes, such as Soy, Coconut, Rice, and Almond milk
- Fortified Breakfast cereal
- Crimini and Shiitake mushrooms
Vitamin C is probably the most obvious vitamin to boost immunity, or at least the one that seems to be most talked about. This vitamin helps shorten the lifespan of a virus and is found in so many foods that you can eat a variety of things you enjoy and get enough vitamin C to boost immunity.
Boost immunity with food that contains Vitamin C:
- Citrus fruit, such as oranges and grapefruit
- Red peppers
- Brussels sprouts
Zinc is a mineral that has been shown to prevent a virus from replicating by as much as 33%, which shortens the time you have the flu (or any other virus)! This is also why it is critical to take during the first 24 hours of getting symptoms of a cold. Zinc also is essential for making new immune cells to fight any type of infection.
You can use a zinc supplement (like ZiCam LINK) to boost immunity and also find zinc in these foods:
Boost immunity with food that contains Zinc:
- Red Meat
- Whole grains
- Crab and lobster
- Dark Chocolate
Selenium plays an important role in the health of your immune system. This antioxidant helps reduce inflammation and strengthen immunity, so you can boost immunity with food containing selenium. Selenium has also been shown to prevent damage to cells by neutralizing harmful free radicals, which means that our body’s immune response can fight infections effectively.
Boost immunity with food that contains Selenium:
- Brazil nuts
- Ham, Pork, Beef, Turkey, Chicken
- Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
- Green peas
- Tuna, Halibut, Sardines
- Sunflower seeds
Iron is one of the key elements that allow the immune system to work! If you don’t have enough iron in your body, your immune system can’t fight bacteria and viruses. Iron is used by the body to prevent infections from getting worse.
Boost immunity with food that contains Iron:
- Beef or chicken liver
- Mussels and oysters
- Canned sardines
- Chicken, Turkey
- Ham, Veal
- Fortified breakfast cereals
- Cooked beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
Folate is essential for the body to build the proteins necessary to fight infection, so without folic acid, the immune system doesn’t work! Eating foods that are rich in folic acid and other B vitamins is a great way to boost immunity with food!
Boost immunity with food that contains Folate:
- Leafy greens
- Nuts and seeds
- Citrus fruits
- Brussel sprouts
And there you have it! The best ways to boost immunity with food and protect yourself and your loved ones this season. What recipes do you enjoy making to boost immunity? I’d love to hear from you.
If you are looking for help with all of your health and wellness needs, please reach out! I offer free medical consults and am always available to you.