Nutrition for our immune systems:
We have officially entered the peak of our cold season, and I so thought it would be a good idea to do a little write up on boosting our immune systems to help us stay healthy. This topic is beneficial on so many levels considering the world we are living in at the moment.
During my internet search for content on this topic, these six important nutritional components popped up the most, (Zinc, Vitamins A and C, Iron, Antioxidants, and probiotics), and so it seems that by including these components into our families diets, we can get on track to building up our immune systems to help fight off any nasty’s that might come our way.
- Note: Always lookout for signs of allergies caused by foods, and consult your doctor if you are unsure of anything. (Possible food allergens: Tree nuts, peanuts, cow’s milk, fish, shellfish, berries, eggs, wheat, and soy to name a few)
Try to include these 6 nutritional components in your and your family’s diet, to help boost your immune systems:
Zinc is an essential mineral, meaning that our body does not produce it, and we, therefore, need to take it in via food or supplements. It helps keep our immune system strong and is essential for immune cell function and cell signalling.
A few food sources containing zinc are:
- Meat, poultry & fish
- Cheese (Yes please!)
- Mushrooms (Also possess different antibacterial & antiviral properties)
- Vitamin A:
Vitamin A is vital for many important processes in your body, including the support of a healthy immune system. It plays a vital role in maintaining our body’s natural defences and is involved in the production of white blood cells, which help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from our bloodstreams.
A few food sources containing Vitamin A are:
- Sweet Potato
- Beef & Lamb Liver
- Vitamin C:
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which, like zinc above, means that our body does not produce it, and we, therefore, need to take it in via food or supplements. It is involved in many parts of our immune system, one part being our white blood cells, which protect our bodies against infection. Vitamin C promotes the production of these cells and assists them in functioning more effectively.
A few food sources containing Vitamin C are:
- Strawberries (A party in your mouth every time!)
- Kiwi fruit
- Bell Peppers
Iron is an essential nutrient, also meaning that our body does not produce it, and we, therefore, need to take it in via food or supplements. It is an important element for the normal development of our immune systems. Iron is necessary for the production and maturation of immune cells, which assists our bodies in responding to infection.
A few food sources containing Iron are:
- Spinach (Also high in vitamin C which helps boost iron absorption.)
- Legumes (Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, soybeans etc…)
- Lean meats
- Pumpkin seeds
Antioxidants help guard our cells against damage caused by free radicals, which our immune systems are extremely sensitive to.
A few food sources containing Antioxidants are:
- Dark chocolate (Now we are talking! The higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants it contains)
- Pecan nuts
- Beans (The magical fruit…)
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be taken into our bodies through fermented foods or supplements. They help assist in boosting our immune systems by protecting us against infections and help to prevent the growth of harmful gut bacteria.
A few food sources containing Probiotics are:
- Yoghurt (Read the label for products that contain live probiotics)
- Sauerkraut (Unpasteurised variations)
- Pickles/Gherkins (Pickles made with vinegar do not contain live probiotics)
- Traditional buttermilk
- Some types of cheese, such as cheddar, mozzarella, and gouda (Check the food label for live and active cultures)
Other’s worth mentioning:
- Ginger – Helps fight infections
- Garlic – Boosts the function of our immune systems
- Vitamin D – Facilitates the normal functioning of the immune system. So strip off your winter layers and go get some rays.
We must keep in mind that we need to lead an overall healthy lifestyle to maintain a healthy immune system.
Extra immune boosting tips for the whole family:
- Try to keep the stress levels down (I know it is hard these days)
Get plenty of physical exercise and try to keep things calm in the home front. Stress can weaken our immune systems.
- Get enough sleep
Sleep is when our body revives itself and builds a stronger immunity.
- Stay away from sugar-packed foods and drinks
Too much sugar can overwhelm our immune systems.
- Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated for overall good health.
If you and your kiddos struggle to get these foods in, try sticking the ingredients into a flavour packed soup or a blender with some yoghurt and make a deliciously nutritious smoothie!
Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Planner, Seeker of happiness, Cat & Human mom (proud Baby Steps mom), Creative, OCD maybe, baby blogger
- Note: Imagery used for this blog was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic