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8 Essential Tips to Boost Your Immune System with Food

When it comes to nutrition, there are many ways food can be used to help boost our immune system and keep it running top-notch. In a recent podcast, we invited Sarah M Tee, a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Licensed Dietitian, to share some essential tips to boost your immunity. Sarah’s mantra is nutrition from the inside out as it serves for loving and living a nutritious and fulfilled life.  We can help prepare our immune systems for the winter months with what we eat.

 

Instead of stocking up on items for your medicine cabinet, focus on stocking up your refrigerator with fresh, colorful, immune-boosting foods. Dr. Sarah shares advice that we all can use to help tap into all the glorious immune-boosting benefits we can gain through food. 

 

Tip #1: Have an Open Mind  

Bring the focus of nutrition back to the simplicity of finding joy in preparing healthy, delicious foods. Having an open mind helps you have an optimistic approach to nutrition. Rather than focusing on fad diets or restricting foods, consider adding delicious, nutrient-dense foods to your diet that you and your family enjoy eating. 

Tip #2: Think of nutrition from a holistic approach  

Nutrition is so much more than simply what you eat, it's part of your everyday lifestyle. Food, sleep, hydration and gut health, stress levels, environment, and deficiencies are all important factors in optimizing our bodies and getting the most out of nutrition. Think of each of them as a piece of the puzzle, and together they represent your being. When something is out of balance, it can affect your whole system. Stay tuned in to your body and what it is telling you. 

Tip #3 - Eat the rainbow  

Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is a great way to get in various essential nutrients. Red foods contain nutrients such as lycopene and anthocyanin, while orange and yellow foods contain alpha and beta carotene and immune-boosting vitamin C.  Green foods are full of chlorophyll, an antioxidant with many benefits, including supporting the immune system and detoxifying your body. Blue and purple foods are filled with antioxidants promoting healthy brain and heart functions and cellular strength, reducing inflammation, and supporting your immune system. 

Tip #4 - Incorporate seafood  

Oysters are packed with zinc, vitamin D, and b12 and are key fighters in boosting our immune system. Crab, lobster, and muscles are also great options for getting in these nutrients. 

Tip #5 - Load up on cruciferous veggies 

Veggies such as cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts, as well as other members of this family, contain antioxidants. Broccoli also contains vitamin C and is high in fiber, aiding in gut motility. 

Tip #6 - Get in enough Vitamin D  

Vitamin D food sources are really important to us in the Northern Midwest. it's important to get your Vitamin D levels checked, especially living in cold areas with little sunlight in the wintertime. 

There are foods we can eat to prepare our body and immune system during the winter months.  Salmon, herring, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, milk, and oatmeal contain vitamin D.  Even if it's cold out, try to go outdoors when you can. Even a few minutes a day can help your body synthesize vitamin D. In the wintertime, bundle up and go for a family walk around the park to help boost your levels. 

Tip #7 - Focus on food before supplementation  

When it comes to getting in enough nutrients, look at your diet before adding supplementation.  Eat plenty of colorful, plant-based foods for various vitamins and nutrients. Think about it this way, if you're living on protein bars and taking vitamins, you are missing out on key elements food provides, such as water and fiber. 

Tip #8 - Most importantly, have fun  

Have fun by experimenting with new foods and tastes and by adding variety to your plate.  Make cooking fun for the whole family by experimenting with different flavors. Create opportunities for you and your family to learn about different foods and how to prepare them.  Who knows, you may find a new favorite food that you didn't even know existed. Even if you are shy when it comes to experimenting with what you eat, you can still find new ways to prepare the foods you already love.