A lot of people understand that they get sick easily because their immune system is weak. What they don’t get is how to boost it naturally.
The best way to boost your immunity is to flood your body with the richest, most dense nutrition.
So how do you get that? Eat a rainbow! By eating a balanced diet loaded with as much of the freshest whole foods available to you. Knowing which foods support your unique biological makeup is also key. Americans in general eat way too much meat and bread at the expense of powerful nutrients in the rainbow of vegetables and fruits we should be consuming.
Sometimes it feels way too challenging to feed your body the best every single day, especially when we are just so darn busy. However, when we let busy get in the way of our taking care of our body properly, the trade off though is down time being sick – often more than once or twice during the cold and flu season.
The best way to use nutrition to boost your immunity is to eat a balanced diet of fresh, whole foods.
Sometimes it’s challenging to do so everyday, during the season when we are so busy with work, friends and family. The following are the nutrients that you should pay attention to in order to help you keep your immune system healthy:
- Vitamin A – helps maintain integrity of the cell membrane of the digestive tract and respiratory system, preventing the entry of bacteria into the body
- Vitamin B6 – enhances T-cell function
- Vitamin B12 and folic acid – promote proper T- and B-cell function
- Vitamin B6, folic acid and zinc – promote rapid production of immune cells
- Vitamin C – a natural antihistamine, it helps calm infection and control stress hormone cortisol, which weakens the immune system
- Zinc – supports immune cell production and proper functioning of B- and T-cells. (Note: excess zinc can suppress the ability of macrophages to destroy bacteria. Zinc is therefore useful for viral infection, but may not be suitable for bacterial infection.)
- Antioxidants (A, C, E, zinc, selenium) – help fight off infection
While it can be important to supplement with a good multi-vitamin, giving your body the vitamins and minerals it craves with whole healthy foods is vital.
IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS
These foods are great addition to your diet during the cold & flu season, because they are high immunity-boosting nutrients, or anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties:
- Probiotics (cultured and fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkrauts and natto) – help boost immunity, and have been found to aid treatment of recurring bladder infection, sinusitis and tonsillitis
- Sufficient protein, which is needed for growth and repair. However, excessive protein will use up vitamin B6, a nutrient needed for healthy immune system.
- Essential fats – e.g. from cold-pressed seed oil and cold water fish
- Fresh fruits and vegetables, and make it a rainbow of every color, especially carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes – they are rich in beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A,
- Ground seeds, lentils, beans and whole grains – good source of B vitamins and protein
- Fish – good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids
- Mushrooms (maitake, reishi, shiitake) – elevates flu-fighting agents
Staying on track with our health and wellness goals can be challenging during the holiday season. The great news is you can have it all: you can cleanse your body so you feel better, look better and have a flatter tummy for that little black dress. Plus, you can build your immune system, eat delicious nutritious and be armed with the tools you need to get through the holidays to stay on track with your goals. Visit my Fall Into Fabulous Detox tab. I’ve kept early bird registration for a pre-Thanksgiving detox open just for you.
Holford, P. The New Optimum Nutrition Bible. Crossing Press, Berkley. 2004.
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