Eat These Foods Now to Boost Your Immunity
The more nutrient-dense foods you can get in daily diet, the better. There are five significantly potent immune-boosting nutrients that will give your body an extra wall of defense.
Zinc is a well-loved mineral in the immunity world. It nourishes and supports the innate (first defense) and adaptive immunity (long-term, has memory). Zinc is a cofactor for over 200 enzymatic reactions within the body, with many of these being immune dependent mechanisms.
It supports the thymus gland in adaptive T-cell production/regulation and acts as a free-radical scavenger. We love zinc as it supports against viruses and bacterial pathogens and promotes healthy function and integrity for our white blood cells: macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, T-cells and lymphocytes.
Food Sources: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, egg yolks, seafood, oysters, beef.
Vitamin A comes in many different molecular structures, retinyl palmitate is one of the most abundant forms and retinyl esters are found mainly in animal products such as eggs, liver, fish oils, milk, and butter. Plants provide us with the precursors to Vitamin A in a carotenoid form, this proceeds to further biochemical reactions to make Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is excellent for skin and gut integrity, which is our first line of defense from the exterior pathogenic world.
Food Sources: Orange colored fruits/vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables: papaya, squash, carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, and pumpkin.
Vitamin D is best sourced from UV sunlight, it is obtained through 2 pathways: activation within the skin and through the diet. If you receive adequate levels of sunlight, usually you would not need to supplement vitamin D.
Unfortunately, many of us live in rather gloomy climates where supplementation is vital. Vitamin D has been shown to significantly regulate immunity and to support auto-immune conditions. This wonderful fat-soluble vitamin also enhances the first defense system mechanisms against pathogens and improves our immune systems; targeting, natural killing and detoxification processes.
Food Sources: Eggs, liver, fatty fish, and butter.
Selenium is an essential trace element found in high quantities within immune tissues such as the spleen and lymphatics. It has been shown to regulate innate and adaptive immunity, particularly against virulence of viruses, sometimes these can be harmless but without sufficient selenium, they can mutate into more powerful and detrimental forms.
Selenium can improve response times and increase natural killer production (pretty much helping your immune systems army prep for full force).
Food sources: brazil nuts, alfalfa, organic meats/eggs, onion, garlic, and broccoli.
Extra tips for nutrient immune support:
Make a batch of organic bone broth and drink 1 – 2 x cups per day
Add in an extra nutrient-dense super green juice (kale, turmeric, ginger, lemon, cucumber, and celery)
Ensure you’re getting 2L of filtered water per day
Have 1 x source of probiotic-rich foods per day (sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso soup or yogurt), if you think this is difficult to fit in, I would highly recommend taking a good quality probiotic.