Even though winter will soon be over, the cold and flu season is still here to stay for several more months. Because of this, many people are taking steps to keep their immune systems in good condition. The health of your immune system will depend upon several different factors: your overall health, your age, and your diet and lifestyle.
While you cannot control those first two things, you can control what you eat. But what should you eat to maintain optimal health? Read on to learn what vitamins and minerals can boost your immune system (and what foods you should eat to get these nutrients).
Food is Your Best Source
Did you know that your body doesn’t always properly absorb nutrients from vitamin supplements? While taking a daily multivitamin is a step in the right direction, you should also try to satisfy your nutritional needs with the food you eat. Of course, most people are not going to sit at their kitchen table and count out exactly five servings of fruits and vegetables, every single day. Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take to boost your immune system through food.
Vitamins and Minerals
A few of the key immune-healthy vitamins and minerals include vitamins C, E, D, and A, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and iron. This might sound like a lot of nutrients to consider, but you’ll be relieved to know that they’re all found in everyday foods. For example, vitamin C can be found in oranges, limes, grapefruit, spinach, kale, and bell peppers. Vitamin E can be found in abundance in nuts and seeds. Milk, cereals, fatty fish, and orange juice is a good course of vitamin D. Finally, vitamin A is common in carrots, cantaloupe, and squash.
For folic acid, be sure to eat at least one serving of whole-grain products or certain green vegetables--peas for example.
When it comes to iron, most people think meat. Fortunately for vegans and vegetarians, you can get iron from plenty of plant-based sources, including kale, beans, and almonds. Zinc, too, is often associated with meats like crab and poultry; however, you can also get healthy doses from foods like chickpeas and yogurt. Last but not least, you can depend on garlic, broccoli, and barley as a source of selenium.
Little Good Choices Add Up
Making healthier food and beverage choices will go a long way in improving your overall health. Boosting your immune system can be as simple as eating your leafy greens every day. It can even replace a meal and be especially filling if you get creative with your choice of ingredients.