Build a Healthy Immune System with the Right Foods
Over the years, health experts have repeatedly touted that eating nutritious foods and exercising on a regular basis can do much to help keep an individual healthy and more able to ward off illness. Now, with the advent of a worldwide pandemic, many people have discovered the true value of why it's so important to pay close attention to the food they are putting in their bodies. By maximizing the input of key foods that are known to boost the immune system, while avoiding the intake of foods that offer little immune-boosting benefits, health-conscious individuals are that much further ahead in knowing they are doing everything they can to help support one of the essential functions in their body -- the all-important immune system.
Vitamin D and the Immune System
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system through both its anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. It is known to support the function of both macrophages and T-cells, which work to ward off viruses and bacteria. Low vitamin D levels are associated with the following:
- Increased risk of respiratory diseases (COPD, asthma).
- Decreased overall lung function.
- Viral and bacterial infections.
Fortunately, there are many foods that one can incorporate into their regular diet that will add the immune-boosting properties associated with vitamin D. Fish lovers will be glad to know that salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D. A 100 gram serving of farmed Atlantic salmon contains 526 IU of vitamin D, thus fulfilling 66% of an individual's daily requirement for this essential vitamin. Wild mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D2 -- in some cases, supplying nearly three times the daily requirement for vitamin D. Eggs are another great source of vitamin D, with just one egg supplying 5% of a person's daily recommendation for vitamin D.
Fruits and Vegetables
It is well known that fresh fruits and vegetables offer much in the way of immune support. While the list of delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables is practically endless, there are some that stand out from the crowd. Red capsicum peppers contain almost three times as much vitamin C as one single orange. Their slightly sweet flavour, along with their satisfyingly crunchy texture, makes red capsicum peppers a wonderful addition to salads, ka bobs, or as a stand-alone snack. Both kiwi and papaya are excellent sources of vitamin C and offer a welcome change to traditional vitamin C sources such as citrus foods.
Spinach and broccoli are two classic vegetables that are loaded with beneficial nutrients. The less these two vegetables undergo the cooking process, the better, so consider the following easy ways to incorporate them into your daily diet:
- Add fresh spinach and/or broccoli florets to salads.
- Eat broccoli florets as a snack with other raw vegetables.
- Add raw spinach leaves to smoothies or as a replacement for lettuce in sandwiches.
Garlic is another vegetable found in many cuisines the world over. This makes this immune-boosting vegetable a versatile addition to countless different types of recipes. Garlic can be added to soups and meat dishes to add a wonderful savoury flavour, or it can be used in vegetable dips or a fruit and vegetable smoothie to add some tangy flavour.
There's a reason why chicken soup is a time-honoured remedy for the common cold and sniffles. One serving of chicken or turkey provides an individual with almost one-third of their daily requirement for vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 plays a crucial role in the creation of healthy new red blood cells. Boiling chicken bones into a broth and making soup, or adding it to other dishes can help strengthen the immune system as well.
The foods mentioned above are by no means an exhaustive list of immune-supporting foods. If you would like to know more about these, or other foods that can help keep your immune system strong and healthy, please contact us!