The winter season is here meaning cold season is in full force. For most of us, that means our immune systems are working in overdrive to fight against the invasion of germs. Our immune systems do a remarkable job of defending us against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes, a germ invades and makes us sick. Resulting in missed days of work, meetings and unfortunately holiday events with family and friends.
The immune system is a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance; not too much or too little of specific foods or nutrients. There is evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies can alter immune responses.
If you suspect your eating is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, focus in on a few foods that will help you meet those needs.
Legumes and Zinc: A cup of legumes a day will provide about 25% of your daily Zinc needs. Zinc helps wounds heal and our immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Garlic and Alliin: Alliin gives garlic its pungent aroma. Several studies have supported garlic’s ability to reduce cold and flu symptoms and severity.
Barley and Prebiotics: Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that our gut bacteria break down into short-chain fatty acids that aid our body’s immune response. Oats, beets, and apples are other sources.
Salmon and Vitamin D: Research supports that those with low vitamin D are more likely to get sick which may be because vitamin D appears to be an immune system regulator.
Turmeric and Curcumin: Turmeric, a spice found in curry powder, receives its bright yellow-orange color from curcumin which has shown to enhance antibody responses and fight inflammation.
Nuts and Seeds and Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds are a great source of this fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E enhances our immune system by acting as an antioxidant to inhibit free radicals.
Sweet Potato and Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps protect us from infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy.