The best foods to strengthen the immune system this winter

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particle for direct object Influenza and other viruses Grow when it gets colder — and This year is especially bad. Although it is important to stay healthy and Keep your immune system strong It becomes critical throughout the year, especially during these months. If you don’t want to stay in bed all winter, you need to make sure your immune system is up to the task.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to boost your immunity, including changing your diet. Let’s take a look at how your diet can affect your ability to stay healthy and explore some of the best foods for immune health.

Can food boost your immune system?

You Safety system It’s a complex network of cells, chemical compounds, and pathways that all work together to protect your body from infection. The human body is built with powerful defense mechanisms that not only innately repel foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria, but also learn to recognize new invaders so they can do their job better. Cleveland Clinic.

However, to function effectively, your immune system needs your help. This includes a range of supportive behaviors, from getting enough rest and managing stress levels to regular exercise and, yes, getting enough nutrition. Each of these factors are important, but here we will focus specifically on diet.

Illustration of a defense shield against viral cells.

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Malnutrition It has been linked to poor immune health in many studies. Low levels of Vitamin C And January Or ZincFor example, it has been shown to increase inflammation and increase susceptibility to infections. These aren’t the only nutrients your immune system needs, though. It needs a wide range of nutrients to perform at its best.

If you can’t get enough of certain nutrients through your diet, multivitamins can be a helpful supplement. The best way to determine if you have a nutrient deficiency and would benefit from a multivitamin is to consult your doctor.

However, you don’t have taking supplements or eating certain “immune-boosting foods” such as garlic or ginger to boost immune health; Harvard Health. Instead, you can focus on eating a whole diet that contains all the necessary nutrients. This includes:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B6 and B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • iron
  • copper
  • folic acid (folate)
  • fiber
  • Protein (including the amino acid glutamine)

It’s also important to understand the role your gut plays in regulating your immune health. in fact, 70% of your immune system It’s in your gut, and the bacteria that live there have a significant impact on your immune health, according to UCLA Health. This means that not only do you need a diet rich in the above nutrients, but you also need a diet that supports gut health. A gut-healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limits highly processed foods, refined sugars, and red meat. You can also support your gut with prebiotic and probiotic foods, which we’ll talk about in more detail below.

Which foods should I buy for?

Masked people shop for green products in store.

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A A diet rich in nutrients and a healthy immune system According to the Mayo Clinic, it can take many forms. You don’t have to eat a specific set of foods to get everything you need, so you can plan your diet to fit your preferences and budget.

Here are some examples of Nutrient-rich foods For immune system health that you can include in your diet Harvard Health And British Nutrition Foundation:

  • Orange and red fruits and vegetables Like carrots, bell peppers and apricots are rich in vitamin A, which supports skin health. Your skin is a critical first line of defense against infection.
  • Fruits of the citrus family Like oranges, grapefruits, strawberries and tomatoes, they are full of vitamin C, which is one of the most important vitamins for supporting the health of the immune system.
  • Foods rich in iron and protein Such as meat, fish, beans, nuts and fortified grains Healthy growth and function of immune cells.
  • Lots of seeds, nuts, peanut butter and vegetable oils Contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals and boost your immune health.
  • Whole grains, along with many types of meat, seeds and nutsProvides zinc, which aids wound healing and boosts the immune response.
  • Chicken, fish, some other meats, eggs, bananas and avocados contain Vitamins B6 or B12 (and some contain both) are important for the growth and communication of new immune cells.
  • Oily fish, eggs and some fortified cereals and dairy products Contains vitamin D, which appears to support a better immune response.
  • Bread, rice, quinoa, oysters and dried fruits They are rich in copper, which is an important booster for immune cells.
  • Green vegetables, berries, oranges, nuts and seeds It contains folate, which helps in the production of new cells.
  • Foods with active culture Foods like kefir, kombucha, kimchi, fermented vegetables, and some yogurts are considered probiotics because they add to the good bacteria in your gut.
  • Garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus and seaweed, along with many fruits, vegetables and whole grainsfoods are considered prebiotic because they contain fiber and oligosaccharides to feed and support your gut bacteria.

As you can see, there is some overlap in this list and many foods provide multiple nutrients that support immune health. A balanced diet, good rest, plenty of exercise, and habits that reduce stress are all key components to building a strong immune system.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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