In the last post of the Immune Supporting Foods series, we learned that no one food can boost your immune system or ward off the common cold. Nope, not even vitamin C or zinc!
Everything works TOGETHER. Yes, you have to eat a healthy diet to feed your whole system. There are some things you can do every day to help keep your immune system strong! We call these ‘immune supporting’ foods.’
Prebiotics and Probiotics:
You might wonder – what’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? It’s actually quite simple!
Prebiotics are food for good bacteria. They are the non-digestible components of food that is found in fiber. This includes oranges, beans, oats, asparagus, and bananas.
The good bacteria that prebiotics are feeding is called probiotics. These are the good bacteria that help keep your immune system strong and help you keep a healthy gut. Probiotics are found in kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha. YES – you are actually eating bacteria and it’s good for you!
These are found in plants and animals.
Plants have ALA, which is converted to the active form by your body. Animals (like tuna, salmon and sardines) have DHA and EPA, which are the active forms.
Both are great forms of omega 3s and are good for the immune system.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants:
Vitamin A, C, D, and E are all good for the immune system.
- Vitamin A is found in animals products like liver, whole milk, and eggs, which it is also found in orange plants like pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin C is in citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, cauliflower, and green peppers. It is also an antioxidant!
- Vitamin D is found through your skin from sun exposure, as well as egg yolks, saltwater fish, and fortified foods.
- Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant.
Zinc is a mineral found in dark meat, nuts, whole grains, and beans. It also functions as an antioxidant.
Copper, also a mineral, is found in beans, nuts, leafy greens, and shrimp.
It is also important to get phytochemicals. These are also called phytonutrients and they are biologically active compounds that are only found in plants. This means that you can get them through whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.
These phytochemicals help our immune system stay strong and promote health. For more on phytochemicals, check out my article:
And you might want to listen to my webinar on Fighting Cancer With Your Fork.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Just remember that your body prefers nutrients through FOOD, not pills. Anyone that is telling you that a supplement is “immune supporting” or can prevent sickness is someone that just wants money for a product that may or may not have what is in the product.
Additionally, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it is better to get these foods that help keep your body healthy overall through foods. Eat a well balanced diet with a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and you will be packing in the good things that keep your immune system strong.
Next time we will highlight the eating pattern that results in poor immune health.
This is part 2 in a 3 part series! Find parts 1 and 3 here: