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Keeping your immune system fine tuned

With COVID-19 making its way into every headline recently I think it is important to educate on essential nutrition for a healthy immune system!

I will be focusing mainly on foods to keep your immune system healthy but overall make sure you are:

-washing your hands often

-getting adequate sleep

-managing stress

-staying hydrated

-moving your body

Vitamin C: is one of the biggest immune boosters! Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and tangerines as well as strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. It is really important to eat vitamin C rich foods every day because our bodies do not store it.

*try adding a salad with strawberries or citrus to your regular routine for an extra vitamin C boost!

Vitamin B6: supports biochemical reactions in the immune system. Foods include chicken, tuna, salmon, green vegetables and chickpeas.

*try adding chickpeas to casseroles or salads, crisp them up for an added crunch.

Vitamin E: is an antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Nuts, seeds and spinach are all good sources.

*try sprinkling sunflower seeds, chia or hemp hearts on salads, casseroles, toast or eggs.

Selenium: is an antioxidant that helps to lower oxidative stress to reduce inflammation and enhances immunity. Foods containing selenium are brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, lentils, spinach, cashews, mushrooms, meat, chicken and fish as well as milk and yogurt.

*try adding mushrooms to casseroles, egg dishes and salads

Zinc: is a mineral that helps to keep the immune system strong by helping with wound healing and supporting growth and development. Foods include meat, shellfish, dairy, eggs, nuts, legumes and whole grains.

*make sure your bread’s first ingredient listed is “whole” to make sure it is indeed a whole grain product.

It is very important to eat a variety of colors. There are so many micro-nutrients found in different colors of fruits and vegetables and no supplement can contain all of the benefits of eating whole foods. Your body not only absorbs but also uses vitamins and nutrients better when they come from actual food. It is questionable how much of a vitamin you are actually getting when you take a supplement and there are no regulations to evaluate quality or assess effectiveness.

Allow yourself to browse the next time you are grocery shopping and pick out something different in the fruit and vegetable area. Try a new color by picking out a new fruit to add to your smoothies. If you really don’t like it you probably can mask the flavor, reap the benefits and not be wasteful at a minimum. At least that is my philosophy :)

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