Stay Healthy this Fall!

When the season begins to change so does the weather. As we fall into fall many of us tend to find ourselves a little under the weather. During this time of year, it becomes important to take care of your immune system and supply the body with foods that will support your immune system as it fights infection by viruses or bacteria.

Nutrition plays a major role in keeping the immune system healthy. If you are deficient in certain nutrients, your immune system may not respond as quickly or as effectively to invaders. Being malnourished has a negative impact on the immune system. This can include being over nourished (overfed), and undernourished (underfed). If you are undernourished, your body does not have enough vitamins and minerals to use for building immune cells, which prevents the immune system from functioning at its best.

Recently, research has discovered that excessive intake of certain nutrients can also negatively influence the way your immune system responds. These include:

  • Sugar: Eating too much of this sweet substance can reduce immune cells’ abilities to eliminate harmful bacteria.
  • Alcohol: Frequent alcohol intake can deplete nutrients from the body and reduce white blood cell count, making it more difficult to fight off disease.
  • Fat: Certain types of dietary fats can increase or decrease the inflammation immune response. Unhealthy saturated fats have a tendency to trigger inflammation, whereas polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, do not.

The specific vitamins and minerals needed to maintain healthy immunity include zinc, selenium, iron, copper, vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; folic acid; and omega-3 fatty acids.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are said to have a hand in preventing certain diseases and boosting an individual’s immunity. The most common antioxidants are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zinc, and beta carotene, all of which can easily be found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants play a fundamental role in protecting cells from free radicals and keep them functioning normally.

Use this handy chart for an idea of some antioxidant-rich foods that you can include on a daily basis.

 

 

Vitamin C

Zinc

Beta Carotene

Vitamin E

Food Sources

·

  • Oranges
  • Bell peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy vegetables

·

  • Cashews
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Black beans
  • Shellfish
  • Red meats

·

  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Butternut squash
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Almond butter
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Vegetables oils

 

Given that so many different nutrients are involved in immune function, the best way to ensure a healthy immune system is to eat a varied diet.  Include different brightly colored fruits and vegetables on a daily basis in order to get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.


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