I received my B.S. in Exercise and Wellness from Brigham Young University and some of my favorite classes and units were all about nutrition. I have always found food, nutrition, and diet lifestyles interesting!
Now sometimes talking about food can be a sore topic for discussion. This could be for many reasons. Maybe your child is a persnickety eater and you don’t want to hear anything else that your kid ‘needs’ to be eating because it’s a battle you know all too well… a battle you’re constantly losing. Maybe you have a poor relationship with food and a lot of the emotions you feel relating to food are fear or anxiety. Maybe you are so overwhelmed that you cannot fathom adding another item to your “Good Mom List.” (You know that list in your head that you made up with ridiculous high standards that if you don’t meet the mom guilt comes crashing in, enveloping you in negativity and stress… I know other people have this too… right?) ;)
Food is Medicine
Whatever the reason, food can be a sensitive subject, but it can also be a powerful and beautiful topic of discussion. Like what I want to discuss today. Drum roll please… “Immune Boosting Eating.” I probably didn’t need the drum roll because the title gave it away… but I digress.
Proper nutrition and exercise are two of the best ways to stay healthy and boost your immune system. Western medicine is an amazing gift, but there can be natural medicinal properties in fresh foods, too. Below is a table full of food I personally love incorporating into my family’s diet to boost our immune systems. The table identifies the nutrients of each food, and what they can do for you. I also provided some linked resources if you wanted to read further into the nutrition and benefits of each food. *Note they are not listed in any particular order.
My Top 18 Immune Boosting Foods
|Fruit||Kiwi||vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, antioxidants||Skin health, heart health, anti-inflammatory better sleep||LINK|
|Fruit||Orange||fiber, vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and antioxidants||Heart health, kidney stone and anemia prevention, anti-inflammatory||LINK|
|Fruit||Pineapple||vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6||Disease fighting anti-antioxidants, vitamin C, promotes growth and healthy metabolism||LINK|
|Fruit||Blueberries||Fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese||heart health, bone development, disease fighting anti-antioxidants||LINK|
|Fruit||Strawberry||fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folate||Promotes normal tissue growth and cell function, skin health, heart health, blood sugar regulation||LINK|
|Vegetable||Spinach||vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, magnesium, iron, vitamin B2||Fights oxidative stress, help moderate blood pressure, eye health, heart health||LINK|
|Vegetable||Broccoli||fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K||Skin health, anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, may shorten or reduce symptoms of colds||LINK|
|Vegetable||Cauliflower||fiber, antioxidants, choline, sulforaphane,||Brain development, nervous system health, protects against chronic disease||LINK|
|Vegetable||Celery||vitamins A, K, and C, folate, iron, magnesium||Anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, low glycemic index||LINK|
|Vegetable||Carrot||beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, antioxidants||Promotes growth, development, immune function, eye health||LINK|
|Vegetable||Ginger Root||gingerol, fiber, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, folate, magnesium||Anti-inflammatory, fights against bacteria and viruses, brain health, heart health||LINK|
|Vegetable||Garlic||manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium||Prevent and reduce symptoms of colds, protects against oxidative damage, detoxifying benefits, bone health||LINK|
|Mixed Nuts||monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, antioxidants||Protect against LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, promotes gut health||LINK|
|Meat||Chicken||protein, B vitamins, selenium, antioxidants, zinc||Promote physical health/stamina, cognitive health, skin health, heart health, sleep quality||LINK|
|Meat||Salmon||Omega-3 fatty acid, protein, B vitamins, potassium, selenium, zinc||Reduces the risk of disease, heart health, brain health, energy production||LINK|
|Raw Unfiltered Honey||Antioxidants, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, potassium||Fights bacteria, brain health, wound-healing, aids in digestion||LINK|
|Dairy||Greek Yogurt||Protein, potassium, calcium, probiotics, vitamin B12||Brain health, bone health, muscle health, gut health,||LINK|
|Grain||Whole Grain Bread||Fiber, B vitamins, protein, antioxidants, plant compounds||Aids in digestion, anti inflammatory, heart health||LINK|
Making it Happen
It seems like the world is hyper aware of everything we can do to stay healthy and food really is one of the best ways we can make sure our bodies are in prime condition to fight off bacteria, infection, and viruses.
Fresh produce, whole grains, and lean meat makes a huge difference in our diets. I myself am a fan of the ‘Flexitarian Diet.’ I like this form of thinking because it’s a lifestyle that doesn’t cut out any one food group and can be a sustainable choice compared to many of the fad diets out there. Our bodies crave a variety of nutrients and a balance between the food groups. Balance and variety give our bodies the best chance at developing a strong immune system.
Getting the proper amount of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients will not only have a positive effect on your immune function, but will give you more energy, reduce oxidative stress and benefit your overall physical and mental health.
We hope you are happy and healthy! Comment below with your favorite health foods for the family! :)