Immune Boosting Nutrition
Why the foods you eat now are more important than ever
It's no secret that we are all trying our best to stay safe and healthy in this time of uncertainty. Most of our routines have been turned upside down and you may feel like you are stuck in a funk. Getting back to some kind of schedule is hard, but absolutely necessary for a strong mind and body. If your diet has taken a back seat while you figured out how to survive the new "normal", it's time to pivot towards re-gaining control to get yourself healthy now and for the future!
A key part of maintaining your health is your immune system, which may be taking a lot of abuse in current life circumstances. Things like chronic stress (of any kind), intense work demands, changing environments and exposure to pathogens can compromise your immune system, many of which we are all facing day by day.
Let's get to work :)
1. Whole Foods
Eat a whole-food-based diet rich in protein, colorful veggies, quality carbohydrates (including fruits) and healthy fats. This is our general rule to follow for everyday nutrition. Concerned about not having access to fresh produce/groceries? Frozen/canned veggies, fruits and proteins are still great options! Here is your chance to take the extra time to read your labels-the the fewer ingredients the better. AKA frozen broccoli should have one ingredient on its list: broccoli.
Add more nutrients to your diet that can boost your immune function.
•Vitamin D: Get outside! 15 minutes of morning or late afternoon light on your forearms, chest, and face provides your body with adequate levels of vitamin D. Fatty fish, mushrooms and egg yolks also have small amounts of vitamin D
•Healthy Fats that contain fish oil &/or omega 3 fatty acids: oily fish, flax, chia, hemp seeds, olive oil, avocados, nuts
•Vitamin C: red/green peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, oranges, brussel sprouts, berries, pineapple, mango
•Magnesium/Zinc: leafy vegetables, bananas, meats, shellfish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds whole grains
•Calcium: milk, seeds, yogurt, beans/lentils, whey protein, dark leafy vegetables, almonds
3. Gut Health
Check your gut health: Our gut microbiome consists of trillions of different species of "good" bacteria that line our digestive tract and is one of our body's first lines of attack for foreign particles that have entered the body. They also help to digest our food and produce some other health-promoting nutrients such as short-chain fatty acids. A healthy gut is imperative for a strong immune system and a generally healthy body.
Probiotics: Aim for 1-2 servings of healthy-bacteria rich foods each day.
•Dairy: yogurt, cheese
•Fermented vegetables & soy: pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh
•Soy sauce, kombucha
Prebiotics: Aim for 1-2 servings of prebiotics each day as well. (Prebiotics are the food for the "good" bacteria in our gut). The best whole-food sources of prebiotics are those with fiber included.
•Vegetables: asparagus, garlic, leeks, onions
•Starches: barley, beans, oats, quinoa, wheat, potatoes, yams
•Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, citrus, kiwi
•Fats: flax and chia
And lots of it! We recommend 60-72 ounces per day.
Get outside and move. EVERY DAY!! We cannot stress the importance of movement enough. Not just for your "physical" body, but also for your mind.
7-8 hours per night is ideal
7. Reduce Alcohol
Alcohol can promote inflammation in the gut and throw your "healthy bacteria" off balance.
Follow a structure and a timeline every day to keep you in a routine and don't break it! Plan and prepare your meals so that you show respect to your nutrition. This is a perfect time to get your iPad, tablet, phone, or laptop out and follow along with the great chefs in the world! Most "good cooks" you know, learned from someone else, so there's no shame in learning from the pros!! There aren't exact measurements or amounts because we don't believe nutrition has to be exact, especially right now. As long as you are intentional about being a little better every day, you can't mess this up!
If you are struggling, reach out to me!! We have five Precision Nutrition certified coaches as part of our staff and we will guide you appropriately :)