With the arrival of colder temperatures in the winter months also arrives cold and flu season. While it may seem like getting sick at some point is inevitable, there are many nutritional strategies that can be applied (year round, really!) to boost the strength of your immune system and decrease your chances. Today, I am going to share the first of many top nutritional strategies that have been show to boost immune health.
Consume a diet that is adequate in overall calories, balanced among the all three macronutrients, and rich in nutrient dense foods.
Chronic calorie deficit over time, whether through failure to meet needs or intentional dieting for weight loss, can lead to impaired immune health in that it decreases the energy available to support normal bodily functions. Calorie deficit without careful consideration of diet quality can also lead to insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals related to immune health, including vitamins C, E, B6, A and D, Folate, Iron, Selenium and Zinc.
Aim to include not only fruits and vegetables with each meal, but also quality lean proteins and whole grains too. A few high antioxidant foods to consider in boosting immune health include grapes, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, nuts and seeds, any dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables, beans, fish and whole grains!
About the Author
Kristen Chang, MS, RDN, CSSD is the current current President of the Southwest Virginia Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, an adjunct instructor for Virginia Tech and Radford University and the owner of the nutrition private practice, Real Food For Fuel, LLC.