By Elena Epstein
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy immune system is to focus on eating foods packed with the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
“There is no magic immune-boosting pill or food, but a well-balanced eating plan that includes a variety of nutritious foods from all of the food groups will help give your body the nutrients it needs to support your immune system,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Wesley McWhorter, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
McWhorter recommends the following nutrients to help support a healthy immune system:
- Beta carotene is found in plant foods, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, mango, broccoli and tomatoes.
- Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, bell peppers, and strawberries or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some breakfast cereals.
- Vitamin D is found in fatty fish, eggs and milk and 100 percent juices fortified with vitamin D.
- Zinc tends to be better absorbed from animal sources such as beef and seafood, but also is in plant-based sources such as beans, nuts and seeds.
- Probiotics are “good” bacteria that promote health. They can be found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt and in fermented foods such as kimchi.
- Protein is found in animal sources such as seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs and plant-based sources such as beans and peas, soy products, nuts and seeds.