Your immune system is your body's natural defense system that helps fight infections by attacking germs that cause diseases. There is no magical formula for fighting germs or building a better immune system, but there are some actions you can take to help to ensure you are at your peak form when germs come to fight.
Eat Real Food
Being in top nutritional form may help you fight illness and/or reduce the amount of time you are sick if you do get sick. When you eat whole foods, meaning any foods that occur naturally and are not processed, your body breaks down the food and uses the vitamins and minerals contained in it to keep you healthy. Most vitamins are not produced naturally in the body and need to come from food, which is why a healthy diet is so important. In addition to giving your body the vitamins and minerals it needs, adding fruits and vegetables into the meals you eat will give you fiber, which is another important element to health and well-being!
Here are some nutrient dense foods you can eat to keep your body and immune system healthy!
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is an important immunity booster and, thankfully, relatively easy to find in yummy foods. Vitamin A is found in canned and fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce (PIZZA!), carrots, milk, and eggs.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a known supporter of the immune system, among other benefits. Your body does not produce its own Vitamin C but needs it. The only way to get Vitamin C is through the food you eat. Foods rich in Vitamin C include:
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is found in fresh and frozen green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, peanuts, sunflower seeds and almonds.
Zinc: Zinc is a known contributor to health and immunity. Foods rich in Zinc include:
Sometimes it can be difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. If your diet is lacking necessary nutrients, talk to your doctor about giving vitamins and supplements a try.
Wash Your Hands
The most important thing to do to fight germs is HAND WASHING and good hygiene. If a germ comes on board, hand washing regularly is your best defense. If you cannot wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. Try not to touch your face, mouth or nose unless your hands have recently been washed and be conscious of what you touch.
Exercise helps with immunity too! Taking a walk, run or any exercise that helps to raise your heart rate, helps you sweat and release toxins and burn fat that helps you move and feel better!
If you are not getting enough sleep, your body becomes depleted of both energy and vital nutrients. If you are not getting enough sleep, take a look at making adjustment in your sleep schedule. Find ways to remove things from your to do list and relax. Sleep is often overlooked as an essential part of human life and is a critical component to having a healthy immune system.
Rather than offer you ONE specific recipe, we offer ways for you to sneak fruits and veggies (vitamins and minerals) into foods you love and eat every day:
Buy more fruits and vegetables when you go to the grocery store. Little known fruits and veggies that go with anything and are almost always available at the grocery store include:
Leeks - wash, chop, roast or add to omelets, pasta or rice
Fennel – roast, braise or stew with chicken
Mushrooms – slice thin, sauté for longer than you think until golden. Add to rice, sandwiches, pork, pasta, red meat, etc.
Bananas – freeze, blend or slice into oatmeal or yogurt
Beets – Roast, boil, slice and top to salad, rice
Potatoes – boil, roast, sauté and top with yogurt, herbs, spices
Carrots – put in food processor and add to ANYTHING
Herbs – parsley, cilantro, dill and other fresh herbs go great with vegetables and pack large amounts of vitamins and nutrients in their own right.