By: Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN
Having a good immune system has never been so important. As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on our lives, you may be more concerned about your immune system than ever before.
And you should be concerned! But luckily, there are plenty of ways to boost your immune system.
Let’s look at 5 steps to improve immunity.
Step 1: Protect Yourself from Bad Microbes
Whether it’s Coronavirus, harmful bacteria or otherwise contaminated surfaces, you need to protect yourself!
- Wash your hands
- Wear a mask
- Practice social distancing
- Keep hand sanitizer handy
- Don’t touch your face
These things lighten the load on your immune system.
Step 2: Eat Good Microbes
Yes! Your body needs good bacteria, in the form of probiotics, to keep us healthy. In fact, your gut and immune system are closely linked. Taking care of your gut can help you take care of your immune system!
You get good probiotic bacteria in tons of foods:
- Pickled Foods
- Soy Sauce
- Probiotic Tablets
Include these foods often to get good bacteria and fuel a healthy immune system.
Step 3: Get Vitamin C Daily
Have you ever been told to take Emergen-C when you feel sick? Despite the common belief that large doses of vitamin C shorten a cold, this actually doesn’t work.
What does work is getting enough vitamin C every day.
So, should you go and buy a vitamin C supplement? No need!
You can (and should) get most of your vitamin C from your diet. Here’s a list of great vitamin C foods to include daily at multiple meals:
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Snow Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
What’s even better is that most vitamin C-rich foods can fit with a weight loss diet!
Step 4: Eat an Immune-Boosting Diet
The best immune-boosting diet is one that gives you all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you need. By giving your body a well-rounded healthy diet, your body can function at its best.
What’s included in an immune-boosting, healthy diet?
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains and high-fiber starches (i.e. potatoes with the skin)
- Beans, legumes, nuts and seeds
- Fatty fish (i.e. salmon, tuna, trout)
- Lean proteins (i.e. skinless poultry, eggs, lowfat dairy)
All these foods play their own special role in your overall health. Learn more in our Dietitian’s Guide to Healthy Eating.
Step 5: Eat Your Antioxidants
Antioxidants fight against harmful substances that stunt immunity and promote disease.
Before you go loading up on pricey antioxidant supplements, however, know that you can find antioxidants in everyday foods!
Antioxidant-rich foods can be found right in your grocery store and don’t have to be expensive.
Include these foods regularly so you can give your body antioxidants to fight disease:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green Leafy Vegetables
- Dark Chocolate
COVID-19 is Scary, but You Have the Tools
No one is 100% safe from COVID-19, but take these steps for better health.