Ensuring you eat a balanced diet will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs for a healthy immune system. A balanced diet includes eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, wholegrain cereals (if you don’t have a gluten intolerance) dairy (if you don’t have a lactose intolerance) and meat or vegetarian protein sources. Consuming these foods on a daily basis will ensure that you are meeting all of your nutritional requirements required for a healthy immune system.
However certain nutrients are vital for an optimal immune system, and these include:
Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in abundance in fruits and vegetables. It is a significant nutrient for boosting immunity and may help to slightly reduce the severity and duration of a common cold.
Food sources include: broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, kiwi fruit and oranges.
Zinc is a very important mineral needed for a healthy immune system. However, it is paramount that you keep to the recommended daily requirements and the upper level of zinc (through supplementation), since exceeding this may, in fact, suppress the immune response and result in unwanted, negative side effects.
Food sources include: meat, poultry, seafood, legumes, lentils, cereals and dairy products.
Probiotics and prebiotics work together to maintain a healthy digestive system. Prebiotics are the non-digestible component of food, which feed the "friendly" gut bacteria. A high fibre diet is naturally rich in prebiotics and this will help to obtain the health benefits of probiotics.
Best food sources: garlic, asparagus, artichokes, legumes, bananas, wheat and oats (avoid if you have a gluten intolerance).
Probiotics are microorganisms and the "friendly" gut bacteria, and provide many health benefits, such as improving the intestinal microbial balance. Research has demonstrated probiotics can also, help boost the immune system.
Best food sources: fermented foods such sauerkraut, miso, kefir and yogurt.
Also, some of the most significant “contributors” to a healthy immune system, in addition to a balanced diet, include: consuming at least 2 litres of water a day (ideally filtered), moderate cardio and resistance exercise and reducing stress.
Adopt these changes and your immune system will thank you!