Good nutrition is essential for supporting a strong immune system, which will protect you against seasonal illness such as the flu or Coronavirus. To help protect yourself against illness and for immunity boosting benefits, include these nutrients consistently into your daily diet:

  1. Protein
    Protein plays a role in the body’s immune system, especially for healing and recovery. Eat a variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and nuts and seeds.
  2. Vitamin A
    Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs or foods fortified with vitamin A.
  3. Vitamin C
    Vitamin C helps protect you from infection by encouraging antibodies and boosting immunity. Include more sources of this healthy vitamin in your diet by consuming citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato or foods fortified with vitamin C.
  4. Vitamin E
    Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and improves immune system function. Obtain adequate vitamin E in your diet with consumption of fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils, hazelnuts and peanut butter.
  5. Zinc
    Zinc helps the immune system work properly and assists with wound healing. Zinc food sources include lean meats, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.

Additionally there are other nutrients that may influence immune response and play a role in a healthy immune boosting diet, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron, as well as prebiotics and probiotics.

*Disclaimer: obtaining these nutrients from foods is preferred, so be sure to speak with your healthcare provider and/or a registered dietitian nutritionist before taking any immune-boosting supplements.

Ashley Osterman
Director of Nutrition Education
Healthy Steps Nutrition
www.growyournutritionbusiness.com

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Research References:

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Thurnham D, Northrop-Clewes C, McCullough F, Das B, Lunn P. Innate immunity, gut integrity, and vitamin A in Gambian and Indian infants. J Infect Dis. 2000;182:S23-S8.

Lerange A, Cheroutre H. Retinoic acid and retinoic receptors as pleiotropic modulators of the immune system. Immunology. 2015;34:2016.

Pino-Lagos K, Guo Y, Brown C, Alexander MP, Elgueta R, Bennett KA, et al. A retinoic acid–dependent checkpoint in the development of CD4+ T cell–mediated immunity. J Exp Med. 2011;208:1767-75.

Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb Y, Varvara G, Murmura G, Saggini A, Caraffa A, Antinolfi P, et al. Role of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2012;27:291-5.

Gruber K, Rink L, Calder P, Yaqoob P. The role of zinc in immunity and inflammation. In: Calder PC, Yaqoob P, ed. Diet, immunity and inflammation. Woodhead Publishing Series in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition; 2013:123-56.