COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing, which means it’s extra important not only to take basic precautions like wearing a mask but also to take care of your immune system — and one simple way to do this is through what you eat.
Here are some foods to incorporate into your diet in order to boost your immune system, according to experts.
These lesser-known nuts are a good source of selenium, which boosts your immune system by decreasing inflammation and lowering oxidative stress in your body, says Tiffany Allen, a nurse practitioner and founder of Triad Lifestyle Medicine.
These vegetables contain vitamin C, another antioxidant that lowers inflammation, protecting your body from disease, says Allen. Vitamin C also helps your body create antibodies that fight off infections, says registered dietitian Sandy Younan Brikho.
You can also get vitamin C from fruits, including berries along with better-known sources like oranges. “It is best to consume these whole in their whole food form rather than the liquid form,” says Younan Brikho. “If someone is deficient in vitamin C, supplementation could also take place. However, consult with your doctor before supplementing to learn how much you should add to your diet.”
Carrots contain beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your body. “We need vitamin A for healthy mucous membranes and immune health,” Allen explains.
Vitamin D doesn’t just come from the sun — it’s also found in certain foods, like salmon, eggs, tuna, and mushrooms. “Vitamin D enhances the function of the immune cells,” says Allen. “Low levels have been associated with increased infections.”
Pickles contain probiotic bacteria, which fight off harmful bacteria in your gut, says Allen. Probiotics also help your body produce natural antibodies, as well as immune cells like IgA-producing cells, T lymphocytes, and natural killer cells.
This type of honey, which is made in Australia and New Zealand, not only is delicious but also produces hydrogen peroxide, which kills germs, says Younan Brikho.
“Protein contains amino acids that help with T cell function, which kills infected host cells and regulates the immune response,” says Younan Brikho. Eggs are a great source of protein, but you can also get protein from meats — just try to avoid processed meat.
As always, consult your doctor or nutritionist with any questions or concerns.
xx, The FabFitFun Team