Your daily nutrition is the most powerful tool to increase your ability to combat infection.
The current panic brought on by the Coronavirus has initiated a buying frenzy for useless supplements, health shake scams and other useless, health items. But, in reality, your immune system will work better than any magic wand or health food found in a fancy package making a big health claim. Building and maintaining a healthy immune system enhances your defense against viral and bacterial infections.
We are exposed to billions of these “germs” every day. Most are not harmful, and those that are harmful, typically do not make us sick. Why? Our immune system protects us against invading organisms.
Currently, we are all learning about a new threat, SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some of them cause illness in humans while others only infect animals.
When your immune system is weak, you become more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections.
Nutritional status influenced by your daily nutrition is the most powerful tool to increase your ability to combat infection.
Hippocrates, founder of the concept of food as medicine said, “if we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.”
Good nutrition and consistent exercise is essential to a strong and healthy immune system.
What can YOU do to improve your health outcome…
- Reduce Body Fat – Reducing body fat will reduce body inflammation. Excess body fat is associated with increased chronic inflammation. Inflammation decreases your immune function. This of course, can worsen virus symptoms, lengthen illness and make a person more contagious.
- Reduce Stress – Our bodies are designed to handle small doses of stress. But, we are not equipped to handle chronic stress without negative consequences. Additionally, try to get 7 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
- Nutrition – A healthful diet is important to maintain an optimally functioning immune system.
Here are some specific nutrients and how they benefit YOUR immunity.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D is the new Vitamin C. Sitting in the sun for short regular periods can be a great immune booster. Vitamin D supplements are also effective.
Eat Low-Carb – Low-carbohydrate, adequate protein, and whole food fats for satiety, is your recipe for optimizing immunity.
Protein – Protein plays a role in your immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Eat a variety of protein foods including fish, meat, poultry, and eggs. Vegetarians should include adequate protein foods in their daily nutrition.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A helps protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get Vitamin A from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods labeled “vitamin A fortified,” such as milk.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps protect you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. Vitamin C is found in oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, papaya, strawberries, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, tomatoes, kale, and snow peas, and foods fortified with vitamin C.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a group of 8 fat-soluble vitamins which help prevent oxidative stress to the body. Adequate amounts of vitamin E can help protect against heart disease, cancer, and age-related eye damage. Foods high in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, avocados, squash, kiwifruit, trout, shrimp, olive oil, wheat germ oil, and broccoli.
Zinc – Zinc is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, chicken, tofu, pork, hemp seeds, nuts, lentils, yogurt, oatmeal, and mushrooms.
Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, also influence immune response.
YOUR NUTRITION MISSION…should you choose to accept it: It’s time to use nutrition to boost your immune system.
Valerie Grosso RDN
The Rebel Dietitian With A Mission
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