Most people don’t think about how foods can affect the immune system. This week, we’ve been covering actionable steps to improve your immunity and protect yourself from being sick. Friday was all about prevention, Yesterday was about sleeping, and today we’ll be going over the importance of your nutritional habits on protecting your health.
Abs are made in the kitchen, but also, the protection of sickness and disease can also be influenced by the foods we eat. The principles are pretty much the same when it comes to achieving optimal health/fitness and immunity. There are some additions to the latter so that we can minimize the risk of getting sick.
Here are 5 ways to boost your immune function by food:
Eat vegetables at every meal. This point is shared on a weekly basis and may be overkill for you, but this is one of the most important action steps when it comes to nutrition overall. Plan out at least two fistfuls of vegetables at every single meal. The micronutrients, vitamins and minerals in them will be really crucial to ensuring optimal cell function and can fight off infection. Vegetables that provide protection include dark leafy greens (spinach), ginger, broccoli, peppers. The more colorful the plate, the better. Good news is that the weather is getting warmer, and veggies will start to be much more palatable. If you’re having trouble getting access to fresh produce, frozen varieties will also help.
Eat fruit on a daily basis. Extra points for anything related to the citrus family like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes. These foods provide a ton of vitamin C which is really helpful. Stick with real fruits rather than juices, as most boxed juices are filled with sugar. Don’t let acai and pitaya bowls fool you, some of them can have up to 70g of sugar per bowl. Opt in for eating whole fruit, they contain vitamins, minerals and fiber. I like to have an orange at the end of the day (it’s my own little treat)
Eat lean proteins. It doesn’t have to be animal based, but ensure that you’re going for at least two palm sized portions of protein at each meal. This will aid in satiety and protein rich foods contain many minerals crucial to boosting immune function. They are the key to repairing cells that fight infections. If you feel like you’re getting bored of the same old chicken, spice it up! You’ll be happy you did.
Drink plenty of water. Now, this beverage might not necessarily block illnesses from you. However, being properly hydrated allows the body to filter out toxins out of the body. No need to purchase “natural detoxes” or no need to go on a “detoxifying diet”, as that’s what your liver exists. Aim for your body weight divided in half, and drink that in ounces (ex: 200lb person, drinks 100 ounces of water). Add more if you’re active.
Focus on eating real/whole food as often as possible. Not to say that you can’t have that occasional burger or pizza. However, the research has shown that regularly eating processed foods can actually lead to a heightened immune response (think more aggressive vs better functioning), which could lead to further issues down the road resulting in Diabetes and atherosclerosis.
You can improve your immune system function by making positive changes to your eating habits. If you find that you’re deficient in any one of these action steps, add it to your day. You might not feel the difference immediately, but the great thing is that you’ll be lowering the risk of getting sick. Remember, the best way to protect yourself prevention.
Help protect others and yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when coughing, and staying indoors if you’re not feeling very well.
Have a great day,