Supporting Your Immune System Through Food
There’s a lot going on right now in the world and setting yourself up for success outside of stocking up on hand sanitizer, hand soap and toilet paper is key. So let’s talk about some immune supporting foods that are easily added to the diet.
We’ve heard of this one time and time again to create a healthy gut since the majority of our immune system lives there. While supplements can have a role, whole food sources like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, pickles, and sourdough will be better absorbed.
Zinc helps regulate the immune system and maintain integrity of the skin which is one of the first lines of defense against infection. If there isn’t enough in the system it can delay wound healing and suppress the immune system from functioning properly. A few foods like eggs, beef, poultry, oysters, shrimp, milk, nuts, whole grains, and beans are good sources of this nutrient. A few studies show that zinc supplementation can help reduce the duration and severity of common colds in healthy individuals.
Vitamin C consumption and supplementation is hit and miss. The bottom line is that supplementation won’t hurt you but it might help. While citrus foods take the cake on this one other foods like bell peppers, strawberries and kiwis are also good sources of this vitamin. When looking for a supplement look for 250mg at one time as that is what is absorbed. Anything higher and it may be excreted.
Beta Glucans from fungi and yeast support immune system function. This nutrient can easily be found in mushrooms and brewers yeast. You can find mushrooms in the fresh, frozen, canned and living well section of our stores easily.
Elderberry supplementation may help support the immune system and help ease cold and flu symptoms. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Some cultures have considered to be one of the world’s oldest and most healing plants.
Outside of these specific nutrients found in foods, make sure you are getting plenty of fluids, regular physical activity, 7-9 hours of quality sleep, and maintaining your current weight.