Our immune system is probably one of the most ‘talked about’ topics on the internet and social media today. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the past two years it’s how important it is to have a strong and healthy immune system.
Proper nutrition is a key factor in maintaining a healthy immune system. Sure, you can supplement with vitamins that support the immune system like Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc (and I’m a huge supporter in those and recommend them to my clients), but I will say time and time again that it’s most important to get your vitamins and nutrients from FOOD FIRST. This is why focusing on a healthy diet is key to a strong immune system. Vitamins from your food are the most bioavailable forms, therefore they’re best absorbed by your body.
Eating a healthy diet will not stop viruses from entering your body, but it will certainly help fight off the virus and can definitely shorten the duration of symptoms and can help to reduce the severity of symptoms if you’re healthy.
Health is more than just the food you eat. You can have the cleanest and healthiest diet in the world, but if you don’t get adequate sleep (ideally 8 hours per night) or if your body is always in a stressed state both of these factors can weaken your immune system.
Proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and reducing stress in your life are so critical to a healthy immune system. In addition to eating healthy, you want to make sure you’re limiting processed food, sugar and alcohol. Did you know that after consuming too much sugar your immune system is almost ‘turned off’ for the next few hours – therefore not functioning at its optimal strength. Reducing sugar intake is critical for a well-functioning immune system!
As mentioned above, Vitamin C, D and Zinc are critical for a strong immune system. According to this article from Baptist Health, Proper Nutrition Key to Maintaining Healthy Immune System, you should be incorporating the following foods into your diet for these vitamins:
Vitamin C: Did you know a red bell pepper has more Vitamin C than an orange?! Other great sources: citrus fruits, berries, melons, broccoli and tomatoes.
Vitamin D: mushrooms, eggs and fatty fish like salmon. Getting 15 minutes of direct sun exposure per day is the best way to get Vitamin D!
Zinc: oysters and shellfish, grass-fed meat, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, wheat germ, beans, dairy and tofu.
I know it may sound cliche, but ‘health is wealth’ and the greatest gift we can give ourselves is health.