The topic of immunity is currently front-of-mind on a global scale. In my micro world, I've been getting asked lately about which nutrition strategies are most effective for boosting the immune system at home. While we can't avoid exposure to all health threats, by infusing the body with key nutrients and maintaining the integrity of our gut health, we better equip ourselves to face this season.
(VITAMINS A, C, E)
Antioxidants are your free radical fighters. They’re your defenders against foreign invaders that may compromise health.
Vitamins A and C can easily be derived from colorful fruits & vegetables
Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and avocado
Coffee, dark chocolate and honey are also loaded with antioxidants. Thank God right?! We use Wedderspoon Raw Manuka Honey everyday at home to boost our immune systems...and to add sweetness to our tea, yogurt parfaits & in many of my recipes.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
(Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium)
Vitamin D is best absorbed from the sun but it can also be obtained from foods like yogurt, egg yolks, and fatty fish like salmon
"Studies have shown that people with Vitamin D deficiency are 11 times more likely to get a cold or flu..." -Dr. Mark Hyman
Zinc is an important mineral for maintaining immune cells and cooling inflammation (essentially the culprit for all illness). Zinc can be increased in the body by consuming red meat, chicken, shrimp and lentils
Magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body and is particularly important in promoting gut-health as it helps intestinal muscles to relax. A supplement like Calm is an easy way to introduce magnesium to the body.
PREBIOTICS, PROBIOTICS & FERMENTED FOODS
Consuming 'good' bacteria helps us maintain the integrity of our gut microbiome. Pre and probiotics can be supplemented (I personally take Seed Synbiotics daily), but they can certainly be obtained from food as well.
Probiotics & fermented foods: yogurt, soft cheeses, sourdough bread, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, miso and tempeh
Prebiotics that feed probiotics: garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, oats, apples and bananas
Fiber feeds gut bacteria and helps provide bulk to contents of digestive tract to keep things moving appropriately.
We need 25-30g of fiber per day.
Most Americans only consume around 15g.
Where there is fiber, there must also be water. Staying hydrated is essential for gut-health, making it essential for overall immunity. Aim for at least 1/2 of your body weight in oz daily.
Fiber-rich foods: Grains, beans, fruits and vegetables *particularly dark leafy greens, avocado, broccoli, berries, lentils and popcorn
THREATS TO GUT HEALTH
Gluten – can be irritating to the lining of the intestines, causing discomfort due to bloating
Processed foods – cause inflammation & disturb the gut microbiome
Excess sugar – can increase intestinal permeability
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER AT MEALTIME
In addition to being rich in immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals, these meal options are rich in protein, fat and fiber which help reduce cravings for carbohydrates (sugar) throughout the day.
YOGURT PARFAIT with banana slices and granola. I recommend plain full fat yogurt, preferably from grassfed cows. My favorite gf granola by Purely Elizabeth contains probiotics.
WARM GLUTEN-FREE OATS with diced apples and nut butter. You could also add a scoop of clean protein powder to your oats for flavor. I use Orgain Protein (my code KMARIAS30 will get you 30% off your first order)
VEGGIE EGG SCRAMBLE with avocado
Lunch & Dinner
GRILLED OR BAKED SALMON with asparagus and a side salad dressed with good olive oil
CHICKEN OR TUNA SALAD mixed with red onion, bell pepper and avocado mayo. Dip with celery, seed crackers, serve over mixed greens, apple rounds or cucumber slices.
BEEF TACO BOWLS made with grass-fed ground beef cooked with garlic and onion in avocado oil. Serve with quinoa and top with diced tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, avocado and raw grass-fed cheddar.
If you have any questions, I can always be reached by email or @kristenmariasrd on instagram.
To your health,