COVID-19 cases appear to be dropping in the US, but experts say they could pick back up at any time – especially as new variants take hold. Staying home as much as possible, maintaining social distance, regular handwashing, and wearing masks are the best ways to protect ourselves until most of the population is vaccinated.
Eating a nutritious diet can support our immune systems to help fight off illness, as well as reduce the risk of serious complications if we do get sick.
Here are some ways to support your immune system with food:
- Eat a variety of vitamin C containing fruits and vegetables every day. Good sources include peppers, tomatoes, berries, broccoli, citrus fruits, and spinach.
- Boost the absorption of iron by eating iron and vitamin C containing foods together; for example, add berries to iron-fortified cereal; or include peppers and tomatoes in bean dishes.
- Obtain adequate protein in your diet. Most people associate animal foods with protein, which is true. Eggs, beef, fish, poultry, pork, and shellfish all provide protein, as do soy-based foods (edamame, tofu, soy milk, or soy nuts). Beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and quinoa, are also good sources of protein.
- Add whole grains to your diets such as oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, farro, barley, bran cereal, and quinoa for adequate zinc and fiber.
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps keep mucous membranes moist which helps protect the lining of our lungs and gut from harmful bacteria. Aim for at least 6 to 8 cups of water daily.
- Get enough vitamin D in your diet through dairy products, fatty fish, or dietary supplementation (if needed).
Here are 2 delicious recipes to support your immune system and your taste buds. Enjoy!
Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS, RD
Have you gotten away from eating healthy since COVID-19 hit? I can help you find simple ways to get back on track so you can feel better again, have more energy, enjoy eating, achieve your personal best weight, and maintain it with ease. LET’S TALK. I look forward to speaking with you.