We don’t expect to get the flu or a cold during the summer, but according to reports from the CDC, Center for Disease Control, we are just as liable during the summer to get the flu and colds due to the ongoing supply of microorganisms in parks, swimming pools, and yes, at home. So, in order to be prepared for what might come, it is important to know what foods will bolster your immune system.
When your immunity is strong, harmful germs often meet a swift death, but when it’s low, foreign invaders, such as viruses, can grow unchecked. Eat right! A well balanced diet provides plenty of immunity-enhancers such as vitamin B6 (in bananas and whole grain cereals), vitamin C (citrus fruits), beta carotene (in deep green and orange vegetables) and zinc (in seafood, poultry, and eggs). If you are not getting enough nutrients in your diet a multivitamin supplement can help. Please check with your doctor or certified professional about the use of vitamins and what might work for you.
In addition, even more studies have shown that you need to be positioned or just mindful of what your current body weight is. Why? Because your body will perform or operate very sluggishly if you are even 25% above your ideal weight. Cells respond poorly at the very time that you could use some boost to fight disease process. This, while it may seem a little like a downer, does help to explain why overweight people get more infections and heal more slowly than those who are slimmer. But, no fear, with adequate planning for what you are doing, you can be prepared, healthy, and avoid common drains on your immune system.
And, yet, adding some dietary fat can be good. You can bolster your immunity by eating plenty of higher fat fish; as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and bluefish, which contain helpful fatty acids known as omega-3s. Fish oil capsules, as well, can help to block your body’s production of a chemical that triggers harmful inflammatory reactions. Dietitians recommend eating fish twice weekly for now instead of taking supplements might have better results.
Except during periods of extreme colds and general illness involving a higher body temperature, vigorous exercise increases your strength and lowers stress levels. Even normal daily stress can result in more frequent colds and other health problems. But we know this, and many people just learn to live with these ongoing problems without thinking about what they could do to make it better.
So, do yourself and your family a favor: eat right, exercise more, and cut out any bad habits— and you will sail through the season without a single illness.
Foods that bolster the immune system:
- Wheat germ
- Sunflower seeds
- Brussels sprouts
- Peanut butter
- Green Peppers
- Acorn squash
- Sweet Potatoes
I also like to suggest a simple antioxidant and immune protective lozenge available at all
pharmacies called, Wellborne, or Airborne. Taken daily during difficult times will help to protect
the mucous membranes of the mouth and gastrointestinal system almost immediately.
Written by Rita Larsen, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Nutrition Educator & Diet Counselor
Rita is certified in Positive Psychology, University of Penn; has a BS in Dietetics from Kansas State University; and an Internship and Masters at the Indiana University Medical Center.Schedule a Nutrition Consultation