As a sports dietitian, I am often counseling athletes on the importance of a healthy diet in maintaining a strong immune system to ensure consistent training year round. Today, I am going to share a second nutritional strategy that has been shown to boost immune health.
Swap unhealthy (saturated) fats in your diet for healthy (unsaturated) fats, which are both anti-inflammatory and immune boosting.
Instead of aiming for low-fat foods, aim to replace sources of saturated fat in your diet for healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which support hormone production and help fight inflammation in order to keep our immune system strong.
More specifically, essential fatty acids (omega-3’s and Omega-6’s) play a role in the production of eicosanoids, a class of chemical messengers involved in your body’s immune and inflammatory response.
These healthy fats can be found in avocadoes, nuts (especially walnuts!), sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds, olives, flaxseed and wheat germ, chia seeds and fatty fish varieties.
About the Author
Kristen Chang, MS, RDN, CSSD is the 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.