Best Immune-Supportive Foods & Nutrients
There’s not a lot of talk about supporting your immune system naturally these days, but remember, your body is POWERFUL! Being proactive and preventative, especially towards the end of the summer, can make a huge impact on whether or not you and your family are affected by the flu and other bugs in the fall. Starting with a nourishing diet should always be your first approach. We can never out-supplement or out-exercise a bad diet!
Here Are Some Foods I Recommend!
Yellow & Orange Foods for Beta-Carotene
Beta-carotene is the inactive version of vitamin A, found in a variety of plants, that’s converted into active vitamin A (retinal) in the body. Vitamin A is needed for immune function, gut health, eye sight, thyroid and reproductive health. Good options are: pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers and collards. I also recommend getting quality grass-fed meat for active vitamin A and it’s plethora of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Cod liver oil is another source, but there are toxicity concerns.
Green Foods for Minerals & Antioxidants
Dark leafy greens are great sources of vitamin C, vitamin K and a variety of minerals shown to play important roles in immune signalling and function.
Citrus & Cruciferous for Vitamin C
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes are rich in vitamin C, an essential antioxidant nutrient for immune health. Vitamin C boosts both T-cell, B-cell and natural killer cell production, which are needed to fight infections, and benefit both innate and adaptive immunity. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are also great sources of C!
**Citrus Peel Hack**
Don’t throw the peels of your oranges, lemons and grapefruit away!! Add them to a large pot of filtered water, bring to a boil and simmer for 3 hours with the lid on. You now have yourself an incredibly immune-boosting tea! (Just make sure they’re organic to avoid pesticides).
Garlic & Onions
If you tolerate them, get these two superfoods in every day! Garlic and onions have been used in ancient traditional medicine for their natural antimicrobial and infection-fighting properties for thousands of years. They are potent anti-inflammatories and antioxidants and should be in all our food-as-medicine tool kits. You can eat them both raw and cooked, but eating them raw will also serve as prebiotics to feed our good gut bacteria. If you’re sick, eat your garlic!
D3 is absolutely essential going into the fall and winter months when we’re likely not getting full-body sun exposure every day! Vitamin D helps prevent infection and support immune function. You can get very small amounts through wild salmon, chicken liver, eggs and grass-fed butter, but supplementation is key.
Zinc is a great nutrient to add in as prevention or when fighting an active infection. It also supports stomach function and skin health.
Once again, you can’t go wrong with vitamin C for both prevention or when fighting an active infection. Keep in mind that stress depletes C and it’s necessary for adrenal function.
In addition to probiotic foods, soil-based probiotics provide good bacteria for the microbiome and immunity, and are able to by-pass stomach acid to ensure that probiotics reach and repopulate the intestines.
NAC is a precursor to glutathione, meaning it helps build glutathione, our body’s master antioxidant. NAC supports lung health, immune function, liver detoxification, reduces cellular damage from oxidative stress and helps fight infection.
If you’re curious about your nutrient levels, testing is available! Feel free to reach out to our team for more info.
Registered Holistic Nutritionist™