June 16, 2019 3 min read
By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
There are plenty of medications to help alleviate cold and flu symptoms, but what simple things can you do to preventillness in the first place? Lifestyle habits like exercise and eating well have been shown to boost immunity. Certain foods can help keep your immune system in tip-top shape. Learn about some of these immune-boosting foods below.
Much of the research around boosting immunity with diet has to do with how food changes the bacterial makeup of the digestive tract. What we put into our body directly impacts how well we can fight off illness. There’s a huge link between gut health and overall health, and certain foods can be especially beneficial for immunity.
Foods that are popular in the standard American diet — often characterized by being high in sodium, sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol — promote inflammation and negatively impact gut health and the immune system. On the other hand, minimally processed, whole foods — especially fruits and vegetables — are high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals that work against inflammation and help the body fight illness.
Furthermore, deficiencies in micronutrients like zinc, selenium and vitamins A, C and E can reduce your immune defense, making it important to eat foods that offer these nutrients.
You might already enjoy many of the above foods; if not, they can easily be added to your routine. Eating a wide variety of immune-boosting foods may have you enjoying a healthier year ahead, with fewer colds and illnesses.
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