8 Essential Tips to boost your immune system with food

This information in this article comes from the Wellness Essentials Podcast we recorded with Sarah Tee, MPH RD LRD with a Masters in Public Health 

You can listen to the whole podcast here!

When it comes to nutrition, there are many ways food can be used to help boost our immune  system and keep it running top notch. According to Dr. Sarah Tee, we can help prepare our  immune systems for the winter months with what we eat. Dr. Sarah shares advice that we all  can use to help tap in to all the glorious immune-boosting benefits we can gain through food. 

Tip #1: Have an Open Mind  

Bring the focus of nutrition back to the simplicity of finding joy in preparing healthy, delicious  foods. Having an open mind helps you have an optimistic approach to nutrition. Rather than  focusing on fad diets or restricting foods, think about adding delicious, nutrient dense foods to  your diet that you and your family enjoy eating. 

Tip #2: Think of nutrition from a holistic approach  

Nutrition is so much more than simply what you eat, it's part of your every day lifestyle. Food,  sleep hydration and gut health, stress levels, environment and deficiencies are all important  factors when it comes to optimizing our bodies and to get the most out nutrition. Think of each  of them as a piece of the puzzle, and together they represent your being. When something is  out of balance, it can affect your whole system. Stay tuned in to your body and what it is telling  you. 

Tip #3 - Eat the rainbow  

Adding a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables is a great way to get in a variety of essential  nutrients. Red foods are loaded with nutrients such as lycopene and anthocyanin, while orange  and yellow foods contain alpha and beta carotene along with immune-boosting vitamin c.  Green foods are full of chlorophyll, an antioxidant with many benefits, including supporting the  immune system and detoxifying your body. Blue and purple foods filled with antioxidants  promoting healthy brain and heart functions, cellular strength, reduces inflammation and  supports your immune system. 

Tip #4 - Incorporate seafood  

Oysters are packed with zinc, vitamin D and b12 and are key fighters in boosting our immune  system. Crab, lobster and muscles are also great options for getting in these nutrients. Here is  a link to a warming seafood stew, perfect for the season. 

Tip #5 - Load up on cruciferous veggies 

Veggies such as, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts as well as other members of this family  contain antioxidants. Broccoli also contains vitamin c and is high in fiber, aiding in gut motility. 

Tip #6 - Get in enough Vitamin D  

Vitamin D food sources is really important to us in the Northern midwest. it's important to get  your Vitamin D levels checked, especially living in cold areas with little sunlight in the winter  time. 

There are foods we can eat to prepare our body and immune system during the winter months.  Salmon, herring, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, milk and oatmeal contain vitamin D.  Even if it's cold out, try to go outdoors when you can. Even a few minutes a day can help your  body synthesize vitamin D. In the winter time, bundle up and go for a family walk around the  park to help boost your levels. 

Tip #7 - Focus on food before supplementation  

When it comes to getting in enough nutrients, look at your diet before adding supplementation.  Eat plenty of colorful, plant based foods for a wild variety of vitamins and nutrients. Think about  it this way, if you're living on protein bars and taking vitamins, you are missing out on key  elements food provides, such as water and fiber. 

Tip #8 - Most importantly, have fun  

Have fun by experimenting with new foods and tastes and by adding variety to your plate.  Make cooking fun for the whole family by experimenting with different flavors. Create opportunities for you and your family to learn about different foods and how to prepare them.  Who knows, you may find a new favorite food that you didn't even know existed. Even if you are shy when it comes to experimenting with what you eat, you can still find new ways to prepare the foods you already love.