Nutrients for Your Immune System
Your immune system helps protect you from various infections, such as colds and influenza, as well as allergies and cancers. To function properly, your immune system requires several nutrients, including protein, vitamins A, C, and E, plus the minerals zinc and iron. Probiotics, which are friendly bacteria found in some foods, are also helpful.
A balanced diet will provide all those nutrients, but to be on the safe side, you can add these ten foods to your weekly meal plan. Each one is high in two or more of the nutrients needed to keep your immune system healthy.
Almonds are easy to find in any grocery store. They’re perfect as a healthy snack and can be added to salads and yogurt. Almonds are high in vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant in your body and helps immune system function. Almonds are also high in iron and protein that are also essential for your immune system.
Avocado is best known for being a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, similar to olive oil, but it’s also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, and zinc. Add avocado slices to a sandwich, make guacamole, or top a healthy salad with cubes of avocado.
One cup raw chopped broccoli almost a full day’s worth of vitamin C, which is essential for immune system function because it helps stimulate the formation of antibodies. Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin A and is a good source of plant-based iron – also good for your immune system.
Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that’s related to cauliflower, arugula, and broccoli. It’s rich in so many nutrients including vitamin A, which is important for healthy skin and mucous membranes. Kale also has plenty of vitamins C and E, iron, and zinc.
Mangos used to be a bit on the exotic side and weren’t always easy to find in grocery stores. But, that’s changed and today they’re available in both the produce and freezer sections of most grocery stores. That’s good because mangos are loaded with both vitamins A and C, plus they offer vitamin E.
Oysters are good for your immune system because they’re very high in zinc and an excellent source of protein and iron. Oysters also have a bit of vitamin A. Try oyster stew for dinner or have raw oysters as an appetizer. You’ll find canned or fresh raw oysters in most grocery stores.
Red Seet Peppers
Red sweet peppers are good for your immune system because they’re high in both vitamins C and A. They also offer vitamin E. Red sweet peppers are also low in calories, so they make a great addition to any meal — add them to omelets or saute them as a side dish.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, and they also offer quite a bit of vitamin C, vitamin E and a bit of plant-based iron. Sweet potatoes can be baked in the microwave or conventional oven and served with a bit of butter or maple syrup.
Tuna is best known as a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, but it’s also high in zinc, selenium, and protein that are all essential for immune system function. Tuna is quite a versatile fish. It can be eaten raw, seared, or grilled, or you can keep a few cans of tuna on hand for sandwiches and salads.
Yogurt is probably the best-known dietary source of probiotics that can give your immune system a boost, but it’s also high in protein. You’ll also get a bit of vitamin A and zinc. Keep your yogurt nutritious by choosing plain yogurt and adding nuts, berries and just a little honey.