How to Boost Your Immune System with Nutrition
September 4, 2020
March 23, 2020
A healthy immune system can help your body ward off illnesses like colds and the flu. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these easy immune-boosting nutritional tips are more important than ever to help you stay well.
Stay Hydrated to Help Avoid Flu
Drink water routinely throughout the day, whether you have a cold or flu, or you’re just trying to avoid illness. Add a squeeze of lemon for an extra boost of vitamin C.
Load up on Foods that Contain Nutrients That Boost Immune Health
- Vitamin C: Kiwi fruit, red bell peppers, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit), pineapple, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach
- Beta Carotene: sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow/orange squash, dark green leafy veggies
- Vitamin D: fortified cereals, plant-based milks (naturally from sunlight)
- Vitamin E: nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli
- Zinc: nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, lentils
Boost Gut Health
Much of your immune system lies within your gut. Add probiotics such as natural (think glass, refrigerated jars) sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and other naturally fermented vegetables. You can easily make your own. Here’s a recipe.
Limit/Avoid Junk Food
Though it may be tempting to eat comforting foods, be careful of your portion size. Avoid overly processed food, and sweetened and diet drinks (soda, bottled teas, juice).
Foods that are low in nutrients and high in preservatives, sugar, and salt tax your immune system since they include extra ingredients that your body can’t use for good.
Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN
Janelle Glick, MA, RD, LDN, is a wellness dietitian with Lancaster General Health Corporate Wellness.
Education: Janelle Glick holds a B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics from Messiah College and a M.A. in Nutrition Education from Immaculata University. Her special areas of interest include weight management and health coaching.