The food choices you make can help you feel more energised and focused, but what some people may not realise is they also have a profound impact on your immune system. Incorporating certain foods into your diet can boost your immunity and help you feel your best.
“In today’s uncertain times, it’s important now more than ever to maintain a strong immune system,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. “By eating mindfully and adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet, you’re making a positive step to support your overall health and wellness.”
Blatner recommends incorporating these five foods into your diet to support your immune system:
Bell peppers: A colourful addition to your plate, bell peppers are rich in vitamin C. In fact, the vegetable has two to three times more vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C is crucial for immune health because it increases the white blood cells that fight off infection. For the most vitamin C, it’s best to eat them raw or just lightly cooked.
Eggs: Eggs (particularly the yolk) contain vitamin D that can help the immune system resist viruses and bacteria. But it’s important to keep in mind that not all eggs are created equal. Some eggs have six times more vitamin D, and 10 times more vitamin E compared to ordinary eggs, plus protein, folate, lutein and omega-3s, which play key roles in immune health.
Yoghurt: Yoghurt contains probiotics to support a healthy gut, where many of the immune cells are found. Yoghurt is also a good source of zinc, a mineral that helps to make white blood cells to fight infections and control inflammation. Choose yoghurt without extra added sugar and consider pairing it with antioxidant-rich fruits like berries.
Spinach: Not only is spinach packed with vitamin C, but it’s rich with antioxidants and beta carotene that act as an anti-inflammatory and help protect against sickness. It’s best to mix it up, sometimes eating spinach raw and sometimes lightly cooked since some nutrients are higher in the raw version and some are higher when lightly cooked.
Turmeric: Curcumin gives turmeric its signature yellow colour and is responsible for its immunity benefits. A natural anti-inflammatory, curcumin has been shown to enhance immune cell activity and improve antibody responses. Though it’s most used in curries, turmeric is also delicious in smoothies, soups or sprinkled on cooked vegetables or eggs. Aim to eat it with black pepper to increase its absorption by up to 2,000%. -BPT