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What Foods Are Best For Your Immune System?

Poor nutrition often results from a lack of understanding or misunderstanding. Armed with the right knowledge, people living in the U.S. can make much wiser choices for themselves and their families. Here are some of the most nutritious foods — especially when it comes to fortifying your immune system.

1. Choose Items Rich In Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for your immune system. According to Healthline, Vitamin A is critical to the healthy development of “mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, and gut which help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.” Similarly, Vitamin A plays a large part in the development of white blood cells. White blood cells help filter bacteria and harmful pathogens out of the bloodstream. Foods that are rich in vitamin A include eggs, cheese, meats, seafood, and cod liver oil. Vegetables with vitamin A include sweet potato, swiss chard, kale, carrots, and sweet red peppers. Mango, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and watermelon are among the fruits containing the most Vitamin A.

2. Eat Superfoods

Superfoods contain anti-inflammatory properties and protective vitamins and minerals that help reduce the likelihood of chronic illnesses, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Some of the best superfoods include leafy greens, green tea, and berries, like maqui berries. The maqui berry, for example, decreases chronic inflammation and occurrences of arthritis, heart disease, and some lung conditions. It is a small, purple berry that tastes like a blackberry. It is available in its traditional form or as in maqui berry powders or freeze-dried maqui berry powders.

3. Favor Foods Rich In Zinc

Zinc is an essential nutrient. Zinc helps the body heal wounds and fights off viruses and bacterial infections. Studies show that zinc can help slow age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and that zinc syrup and lozenges help people recover from the common cold faster. What foods contain zinc?

Oysters have the highest concentration of zinc. Other foods rich in zinc include poultry, seafood, red meat, and fortified breakfast cereals. Beans, dairy products, whole grains, and nuts contain some zinc.

4. Vitamin C Packed Fruits and Vegetables

What does Vitamin C do? Like superfoods–such as maqui berries and leafy greens– Vitamin C benefits the immune system in several different ways. According to Eat Right: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vitamin C “is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body.” Similarly, vitamin C promotes the growth of healthy bones, skin, cartilage, and teeth. Vitamin C helps body tissue grow and heal.

While supplements, oranges, and orange juice are the most well-known sources of vitamin C, it can also be found in citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, potatoes, strawberries, broccoli, and red and green peppers.

An added benefit of Vitamin C is its ability to help the body absorb non-heme iron or iron from non-meat sources. Capitalize on these benefits by pairing Vitamin C rich foods with iron sources, like beans, quinoa, and nuts and seeds. For example, whip up a mixture of quinoa, beans, and salsa for an iron-rich and immune system-boosting meal. Iron is important for everyone as it helps fight infection.

A nutritious diet can do wonders for your immune system. Stay healthy by consuming superfoods, like maqui berries or maqui berry powder, and essential vitamins and minerals.

For the highest possible benefit, supplement a healthy diet with frequent exercise and restful sleep. Quality sleep and a healthy diet are mutually beneficial. Eating right helps you sleep better, and sleeping well helps you stick to healthy food habits.