I’m a bit of a germaphobic, I admit it. But I hate being sick. Hate it. So I do everything I can to avoid coming in contact with others. I’m THAT lady who carries antibacterial hand cleaner and I use it often. I wipe down my carts when shopping and I avoid door handles at all costs.
So far my germ-avoiding tendencies have served me well and despite forgetting to get the flu shot, I’ve managed to avoid it thus far. With the number of flu cases growing by the day, it’s getting harder avoiding the flu so I thought it was time to rethink my strategies and maybe add some more tips to my arsenal of tricks.
Luckily, I received an email today that had some great information beyond just avoiding people. These tips include boosting your immune system with good nutrition.
Tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to Boost Your Immunity with an eating plan full of nutrients well-recognized for their roles in building a person’s immunity:
- Protein is part of the body’s defense mechanism. Eat a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protects you from infections by keeping skin and tissues in your mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory healthy. Get this immune-boosting vitamin from sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, milk, eggs or foods labeled vitamin-A fortified, such as milk or cereal.
- Vitamin C protects you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. Include more of this healthy vitamin in your diet with citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, or red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.
- Vitamin E works as an antioxidant neutralizes free radicals and may improve immune function. Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified foods, sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower or safflower oil, hazelnuts, peanut butter or spinach.
- Zinc helps the immune system work properly and may help wounds heal. Zinc can be found in lean beef, wheat germ, crab, wheat bran, sunflower seeds, black-eyed peas, almonds, milk and tofu.
- Other nutrients including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron and copper, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, may influence immune response also.
The great thing about improving nutrition is that beyond fighting off illness, it can also help protect your from other health problems like arthritis, abnormal cell development and cancers, and allergies. Plus, if you do get sick, having a healthy system will help you get well faster. At least that’s why I’m hoping for because as I write this I notice my nose and throat feels funny. Here’s hoping it’s lack of sleep and not a rouge germ that made it through my germ barrier!
Want to learn more about Disease Management and Prevention? Check out www.eatright.org, where you can find a free download to encourage children to wash hands their hands properly – Hand Washing Maze.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. To locate a registered dietitian in your area, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.