Foods That Can Support a Healthy Immune System

A message from The Stratford Wellness Team

When you eat protein, your body finds amino acids within the ingested protein to help build protein within your body. The custom-made protein that your body produces is used everywhere, but protein is specifically utilized for the immune system to function. An example of proteins that work in your immune system are antibodies (proteins that circulate in your blood and make up key components of a strong immune system). Proteins are also part of interferon and complement proteins that support immune system cells or attack viruses, bacteria, or other foreign substances in your body.
Fortunately, if you are looking to increase your protein intake to help out your immune system, you probably don’t have to look too far from your regular diet. Protein foods such as: seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts are all great sources of protein that you can incorporate into your daily diet.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a little vitamin that doesn’t get a lot of attention but should be on your list of vitamins to keep in mind when thinking about your immune system. Research has found that 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. There are plenty of great Vitamin A sources that you can find right in the produce section including: eggs, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers and apricots. Vitamin A is also most commonly added to enriched cereals or fortified milk.

Vitamin C
Around the cold and flu season, you’ll often see Vitamin C supplements, drinks, and cold anecdotes hit the shelves. So what does Vitamin C do for your immune system? Well, Vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as “lymphocytes” and “phagocytes”, which help protect the body against infection. Low vitamin C levels also have been linked to poorer health outcomes. For example, people who have pneumonia have shown to have lower vitamin C levels and vitamin C supplements, and has proven to shorten recovery time. Eating a regular diet of citrus fruits such as: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, red bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, and tomato juice are all great ways to boost your immune system and help protect your body against certain illnesses.

You’ve probably been given the advice before starting to feel sick to take some zinc lozenges. So how does zinc help your immune system when you get sick? ScienceDaily writes that “zinc helps control infections by gently tapping the brakes on the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation that can be damaging and even deadly.” Zinc can be found in meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds, and nuts.

Boosting Your Immunity Through Diet
Although your main method of defence against airborne sickness should be effective hand washing and avoiding touching public surfaces, boosting your immune system through your diet can also bolster your overall health. By focusing on including a diverse amount of food into your daily eating habits and also limiting the sugar, alcohol, and caffeine you consume, there’s a good chance you’ve better protected yourself against germs.

Thank you and Stay Safe.