Eating for Immunity

When you think about getting sick, you think about all the advice your parents gave you as a kid: don’t go out in the cold without your jacket, get plenty of rest, and wash your hands. You might not be thinking about eating food to strengthen your immune system.

Did you know that foods such as oranges, red bell peppers, broccoli, yogurt and almonds can help boost your immune system?

Oranges and other citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, which helps cells in the immune system do vital tasks to keep you healthy. Instead of grabbing a cookie as dessert, try an orange! Or, in the morning, enjoy some orange juice to help get your daily dose of Vitamin C. Foods other than citrus that are high in Vitamin C include red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, cooked cabbage, broccoli, cantaloupe, and pineapple. Additionally, it’s important to remember that Vitamin C is water soluble – it doesn’t stay in your body for long periods of time. So, you need to replenish your Vitamin C levels every day!

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Fruits and vegetables are most commonly associated with good health, but what about shellfish, legumes, and dark chocolate? These foods all have Zinc in common – a mineral important to the immune system’s development and function.

Plus, foods like almonds, chia and sesame seeds, avocado, spinach, asparagus, and olive oil are great sources of Vitamin E, and are all make great toppings for a healthy and immunity-boosting salad!

Finally, especially in these cold months before the arrival of Spring, be sure to get your Vitamin D. Vitamin D is something that we primarily get from the sun, but we all know it’s been hiding lately! Vitamin D enhances the immune response, so it’s important to get enough of it! You can find it in sources such as fatty fish (salmon and tuna), egg yolks, and fortified dairy products, and fortified soy milk, cereals and juice.

 

by Marketing & Wellness Manager at Loyola University Dining, Lindsay Winn
and Parkhurst Dining Dietitian,  Alicia Koloski

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