With the the current anxiety and fear around coronavirus, you might be wondering what the best way to protect yourself may be. While there is no cure or vaccine for the virus (yet), you have your own powerful protection system with you at all times: your immune system.
A healthy and strong immune system acts like a barrier against invaders (such as bacteria or a virus) and also helps to fight them off. Having a well functioning immune response can reduce the severity of illness, as well as speed up recovery time, if you do happen to get sick.
Nutrition is the foundation of a strong immune system. Eating foods that stimulate and nourish your immunity is one of the best ways to protect and prepare yourself.
That’s why I’ve partnered with Everything Food to come up with an immune enhancing diet for you. We have a free meal plan that you can access here, and a number of detailed and delicious meal programs that are specially created for this diet, on the way!
Here are some of my top foods and nutrients that can help you to stay healthy… and recover quickly if you do get sick:
1. Vegetables of all colors, especially leafy greens and cruciferous veggies
Veggies are loaded with nutrients! Aside from high levels of vitamin K, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, beta-carotene, and antioxidants, they have unique properties that boost the immune system. Researchers have found that certain vegetables can stimulate the immune system beyond their nutritional benefits by affecting signaling between the microbiota and the immune system.
Other research also suggests that high intake of cruciferous and leafy vegetables could stimulate a gene that boosts immunity.
Vitamin A, which is abundant in veggies, especially orange colored ones, helps to regulate the immune system by keeping your tissues healthy.
Vitamin C – another nutrient easily found in a variety of fruits and vegetables – stimulates the formation of antibodies.
To optimize all of these, eat foods such as: spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and bell peppers.
2. Lean Protein
Protein is essential for the immune system and for recovery. It is needed to make and repair cells in the body. Some excellent sources of protein are: sustainable seafood, beans and legumes. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish and other seafood, are often associated with an improved immune response.
Including dairy products such as yogurt or kefir could also help you to meet your protein needs as well further boost the immune system. These products also contain probiotics, which can support the immune system by regulating the gut flora.
In addition to plant based protein, beans and legumes contain zinc – a nutrient that is essential for a normal immune response and healing of tissues.
3. Nuts and Seeds
Vitamin E is another nutrient that is essential for immunity! It is an antioxidant and deficiency in this nutrient is associated with lower immunity. Nuts and seeds are loaded with this powerful vitamin, which is why you will see them recommended in the meal plan!