Making changes to your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your immune system. We’ve identified three changes that, according to research, are the most helpful for protecting our bodies.
Incorporate more whole plant foods into your diet
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the single best thing you can focus on is incorporating more whole plant foods like fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds into your diet.
These foods are rich in antioxidants and can help decrease inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation can suppress your immune system and is associated with numerous health conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
What’s more, whole plant foods contain nutrients that can help ward off harmful pathogens. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of vitamin C, which can help us get over a common cold much faster, and studies suggest that being deficient in vitamin C can actively increase the likelihood of infection. Because our bodies don’t produce vitamin C, we have to get it from our diet. Foods like citrus fruits, kiwis, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are all great sources of vitamin C.
If that weren’t enough reason to reach for the fruit bowl, the fibre in plant foods feeds the healthy bacteria that lives in your gut. Having a healthy gut can improve your immunity and lower your susceptibility to illness.
Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats and protein
It’s also important to eat enough healthy fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids) and protein. Healthy fats are associated with a decreased risk of diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and can help your body fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.
To ensure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, try to incorporate foods like salmon or chia seeds into your diet. Protein is also important for healing and recovery, so you should try to include foods like seafood, lean meat, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and nuts and seeds in your diet.
Try eating fermented foods
Finally, try eating fermented foods regularly. Fermented foods are packed with probiotics, which improve the health of your digestive tract and can make it easier for your immune cells to distinguish between normal cells and harmful cells.
Multiple studies show that people who regularly eat fermented food have a stronger immune response, so foods like miso, yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut are always good to add to the shopping list.
Miso in particular is very healthy – so much so that one of the world’s premier wellness destinations serves it for breakfast.
For more healthy eating tips, you might want to visit the diet and nutrition section of our website.