Can Your Diet Boost Your Immunity This Winter?
Hippocrates, the Father of Modern medicine, has been accredited with the statement, let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
In other words, he realized well before current nutrition knowledge that what we eat has an impact on our health in both a preventative and causative way. With cold and flu season quickly approaching it may be time to begin thinking of ways we can improve our immune systems through the foods we eat.
Foods contain many compounds that can improve our immunity. These include well-known nutrients like vitamin C and potassium to lesser-known elements such as phytonutrients. Each of these work at antioxidants in the body to help rid it of free radicals, reduce damage by these toxins, and to strengthen our overall health and body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.
Immune Boosting Nutrients
Cysteine Containing Foods
Chicken soup is a popular food to turn to when you are feeling under the weather. It is effective for more reasons than the love your mom puts into making it. Chicken contains an amino acid known as cysteine which works to reduce the symptoms associated with sickness and improve our immunity to the germs that cause the illness. It works by breaking up mucus, acting as an antiviral and reducing inflammation. Each of these aspects help to mitigate cold and flu symptoms and speed up recovery.
Polyphenols, carotenoids, lignans, isoflavones, and flavonoids are plant compounds, specifically fruits and vegetables, that give them their colors and protective benefits known as phytonutrients. These compounds work in foods to keep them safe from elements and process the nutrients they need such as light and water. When we ingest them, they work in our bodies to bring about benefits as well.
Foods that contain many phytonutrients include bell peppers, carrots, berries, and grapes. Making a large pot of vegetable soup with chicken broth can be a very effective means of improving your immune system during the winter months. Hot teas also contain a fair number of polyphenols, a class of phytonutrient, which act as antioxidants in the body. They reduce inflammation and are antiviral making them ideal for immune boosting needs.
Foods that provide vitamin D include: fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon.
The essential vitamin for women
Codeage Women’s Fermented Multivitamin is a premium formula made with real whole foods, organic herbs and fermented essential vitamins for optimal hormonal health, energy and digestive support. We’ve also included your daily dose of boron and omega-3 from micro-algae for enhanced cardio health as well as a synergistic blend of probiotics and enzymes for digestive health and wellness.
Vitamin A is an important vitamin for its role with bone growth as it helps stimulate bone-building cells called osteoblasts. Other functions of vitamin A include the formation and maintenance of teeth bones, soft tissue, white blood cells, the immune system and mucus membrane. Vitamin A palmitate or retinol palmitate is a form of vitamin A known as a retinoid (retinol) which is a bioavailable form of vitamin A meaning it can usually be used and absorbed by the body more efficiently than other forms of vitamin A. Vitamin A palmitate can also play a role in several areas, including your eye, skin and the immune system.*
We have also added vitamin B into Codeage Women's Fermented Vitamin. Vitamin B is great in helping you body convert food into energy. It is hard for people to get this vitamin unless they are including red meat in their daily diet. Vitamin C cannot be produced by the body and so it is essential to add this nutrient through supplements. It is however found in many fruits and vegetables and gives your immune system the energy it needs to live good lifestyle. Vitamin D is great for our bodies to absorb calcium and maintain healthy bones. Lastly, vitamin E is available in many healthy foods, however it is hard to get enough through a daily regimen. We have added vitamin E to protect and nourish your skin.
Immune Boosting Foods
Our bodies need certain nutrients to be adequately fueled. Going into any season, whether flu or otherwise, should lead us to consider how we can use our diet to improve our health and prevent sickness. By adding in these foods just a few times a week, once or twice a day, you can give your body a much-needed head starts to avoid sickness this winter.
It is no secret that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and known to improve immunity. What is not always clear is how this vitamin is so impressive in this area. Vitamin C increases white blood cell production which are essential for fighting sickness and infections.
Foods high in vitamin C include oranges, limes, clementine’s, and grapefruit. Daily vitamin C consumption is necessary for health because the body doesn’t store this vitamin meaning it is lost daily.
Garlic & Ginger
These two common household spices can be easily added to just about any recipe and are great for immunity. Ginger decrease inflammation, the root cause of sore throat and sinus issues. The Sulphur content of garlic gives it many benefits in the way of immunity and chronic illnesses.
While spinach contains a high dose of vitamin C, which we know is important for immunity, it also contains antioxidants such as beta carotene, which play a role in immune health. The vitamin benefits of spinach are released and more easily absorbed by the body when it is lightly cooked, much the same with broccoli.
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables to keep your immune system stronger.
Final Thoughts of Food and Immunity
It is not uncommon to hear the excuse that healthy foods are more expensive. This may be the so in some cases but when you are sick you may miss work, pay for doctor visits, and fill prescriptions. These expenses, and others, add up quickly and often outweigh spending a little extra on immune boosting foods to prevent these illnesses.
Not only will you potentially avoid sickness this winter, but you will feel and see the effects of eating a more balanced diet during this time. It may lead to a long-term healthy diet pattern that you enjoy. Make it fun by finding new ways each week to integrate some of these immune boosting foods.