Eat a Balanced Plate – The Fundamental5
Being properly fueled at every meal will make a big difference in how prepared your body is to fighting off infections. Building meals to include things like protein sources, antioxidant, and vitamin-packed leafy greens, and foods that promote a healthy gut microbiome will lead you towards a strong immune system. Here are a few things you’ll want to include in your immune-boosting meals:
- Protein – helps maintain the strength of all cells, including immune cells. Your body also needs more protein than normal while you’re sick and when you’re recovering. Meats, nuts, seeds, eggs, and beans are all great sources for main meals. Including about 20 grams of protein in your smoothies is a great option as well. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- Zinc – Can reduce duration and severity of illness. Good food sources include nuts, meat, chickpeas, lentils, and beans.
- Vitamin C – A staple when it comes to immune boosters, vitamin C is well-known for its role in strengthening your immune system and is found in citrus, strawberries, leafy greens, and bell peppers. If you’re looking to supplement as well, it’s more effective to take smaller amounts throughout the day, like with meals. I like to take it in an everyday multi-vitamin. This one is my favorite!
- Vitamin B6 – Helps strengthen the linings of your GI tract and lungs, as well as your skin to keep out infections. Include foods like chicken, chickpeas, salmon, tuna, and green veggies to get a dose of B6.
- Vitamin E – Supports the development and health of immune cells. You can find this antioxidant in foods like nuts, seeds, and spinach.
- Vitamin A – Boosts the immune system, keeps skin and linings of mouth, GI tract, and lungs healthy to protect against infections. Good sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, eggs, and bell peppers.
AND Don’t forget to stay hydrated:
- Water – Not necessarily classified as a nutrient, but staying hydrated will also help support healthy immune function and flush out bacteria quickly.
- Coconut Water-For replacing electrolytes if you are feeling under the weather.