How to Boost Your Immune System with Food
A diet rich in various fruits, vegetables, herbs and teas consists of a strong amount of antioxidants, substances that reduce oxidative stress by combating free radicals in the body and helping to fight inflammation. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These vitamins are found in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially in those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. Other fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin D and A help to support immune function in the body. There are also minerals such as zinc and selenium that play a significant role in boosting immunity as well as the often termed “master antioxidant,” glutathione, which is composed of three amino acids. Lastly, probiotics are important to maintain healthy gut function which houses a significant amount of our immune system.
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids
Probiotic Food Sources
“Eat the Rainbow”
While we addressed a number of delicious and immune-boosting foods in the previous post, I want to emphasize the importance of consuming a wide-variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in order to fuel your body with a number of different vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
If you look down at your plate, the average standard meal consists of a lot of brown, yellow and white colors; in fact, it’s very common to be missing out on a phytonutrient color in one’s diet entirely. Aim for at least 9-13 servings of plant foods each day with a diversity in color. (One serving may be ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw.)
Tips for Health Eating
Kirsten Ramsdell, CN