Improving Your Immune System

Improving Your Immune System


With many of the current events around the world, there has been a renewed emphasis on immune function. While there are many factors that can contribute to the health of your immune system, nutrition can play an extremely vital role.

Nutrients – including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals – directly influence your body’s ability to fight infections and illnesses.

Below are some specific recommendations, but following the MyPlate guidelines will also meet most of them.

Some examples of beneficial nutrients are:

  • Healthy fats, including Omega 3s
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Zinc, Selenium, and Carotenoids
  • Various phytochemicals found in specific foods

Such nutrients can be found in:

  • Spinach and other leafy greens (Salad)
  • Ginger and Turmeric (Seasoning/Flavoring)
  • Green Tea (Unsweetened beverage)
  • Beans (Meat substitute)
  • Nuts, especially walnuts (Snack)
  • Berries (Snack)
  • Celery (Snack)
  • Pineapple (Dessert)
  • Salmon (Lean Protein)
  • Dark Chocolate (Dessert)

Foods that can counteract immune health:

  • Processed meats and excess red meat
  • Refined grains and added sugars
  • Soda and other sugary drinks
  • Fried foods

Other factors that can influence immune health:

  • Healthy weight
  • Hydration (around 1/2 oz. per pound of body weight)
  • Adequate sleep (7-9 hours)
  • Regular physical activity (30 min. per day)
  • Stress management
  • Limited use of alcohol and tobacco products
  • Hand hygiene