Want to Boost Your Immune System? A Healthy Diet is an Important Start


Want to Boost Your Immune System? A Healthy Diet is an Important Start

Eye-catching headlines like “The Top 10 Immune Foods” and “15 Foods to Boost Your Immune System” are all over the Internet, magazines and social media. 

You may have even added one of these many “immune-boosting” foods to your grocery list— berries, apples, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, garlic, green tea, almonds, salmon, oysters, yogurt, miso, ginger, turmeric — the list goes on. 

So are there single foods that can make your immune system work better? 

In reality, it’s not a single food, but rather healthy foods included in your usual, everyday eating that makes the difference. 

Balanced eating to maintain good health, prevent malnutrition or deficiencies, and address health issues related to over-nutrition all play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. 

According to the Oxford dictionary, immunity is:

“The ability to resist infection or toxin by the action of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells.” 

We develop immunity starting at birth, and the specific antibodies we have depends on past exposures and immune response. Those at the highest risk and more likely to have a compromised immune system, are people with chronic health issues, the elderly, infants, and those suffering from protein and/or calorie malnutrition. 

People who have a disease that directly impacts the immune system, and those with malabsorption or diseases that increase nutrient requirements are also at high risk for poor immunity. 

For the rest of us, a great working immune system is built-in. You see it in motion if you catch a cold or have allergies. 

Since good nutrition is tied to overall health, it makes sense that a balanced, healthy diet ensures the immune system is working at it’s best. 

Rather than a specific food, focus on daily eating with less processed, lower fat protein sources; healthy fats; whole grains and grain products; legumes; lower fat dairy or dairy alternatives; nuts and seeds; and ample servings of fruits and non-starchy vegetables. 

Limit or avoid foods with anti-inflammatory properties as these are taxing on the immune system. This includes foods high in sugar, unhealthy fats, high salt/sodium foods and processed foods—especially highly processed items. 

Do an inventory of your “usual diet” or track what you eat. 

How does your food intake stack up to a balanced, healthy diet? 

Identify the easy chances for improvement. For example, changing a candy bar snack to a fruit and nuts snack. And it may be those immune-boosting berries, or better yet, any kind of fruit you like or have on hand, and are most likely to eat. 

Look for other ‘easy’ opportunities: a sandwich on whole grain bread, spaghetti squash instead of pasta; fish instead of steak; a home-cooked meal instead of fast food. 

Make an easy plan based on weekdays: Meatless Monday, Seafood Taco Tuesday, Whole-wheat Wrap Wednesday, Homemade Thursday, Friday Favorites, Super Salad Saturday, Slow Cooker Sunday. 

Develop your own healthy reminder meal theme plan. We all want to stay healthy and have our best immunity, especially in this COVID-19 environment. 

Awareness of hand washing, social distancing, sanitizing our environment and staying current on vaccinations are essential components. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential too!

If you would benefit from a personal plan and support to boost your immune system and achieve your health & fitness goals, simply call us or send us a message to 714.262.4003 and let us know so we can be in touch with you right away. 

Bo, Matt & Stevie 

Owners & Coaches of RECOUP Personal Training