It’s never too late to give your immune system key nutrients it needs to perform on high speed. Whether it's Covid-19 or the seasonal flu, here are my top 7, inexpensive, shelf-stable & easy immune boosters to add to your diet daily.
Include a few servings per day! Consistency is key.
1. Omega 3’s:
1-3 tsp whole chia seeds or ground flax seeds
2-3 oz canned salmon & sardines (trust me, they’re delicious)
1 oz or ¼ cup walnuts (Pro-tip: keep seeds/nuts in freezer so they last)
Supplements: safe doses range from 1-4g per day. Look for supplements that are third party tested for purity purposes. Pharmaceutical grade supplements can be recommended during client consultations.
2. Vitamin D:
Diet: limited sources include salmon, sardines, sun-dried mushrooms, & fortified products. Check the nutrition facts label and look for products with at least 10% DRI for vitamin D or higher.
Supplements: Many individuals require supplemental doses of vitamin D to bring levels into normal range. It's a good idea to ask your doctor or dietitian the amount that you need. Maintenance doses can range from 1000-3000 IU. Ensure supplements are third party tested.
Sun exposure: SPF 8 or higher blocks the conversion or vitamin D in the skin. Many need 20-40 minutes or sun exposure 2-3 times a week.
3. Vitamin E:
¼ avocado (Pro-tip: for proper storage keep pit in avocado, squeeze lemon juice and place in fridge wrapped. Avocados can also be peeled, sliced, tossed with lemon juice, and placed in freezer in a container)
1 Tbsp almond butter or 1/4 cup almonds (keep whole nuts stored in the refrigerator)
4. Beta Carotene
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup frozen kale
1 cup sweet potatoes
1/4 cup dried apricots
1 cup winter squash (kabocha, butternut, acorn)
Pro-tip: to maximize absorption, cook these foods and pair with a source of healthy fats like olive or avocado oil, nuts & seeds, avocado, egg yolks, fatty fish
1/2 cup canned baked beans
3/4 cup fortified cereals
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds/cashews
5 oz yogurt
1/2 cup canned chickpeas
6. Vitamin C:
1 cup frozen broccoli
1 cup frozen bell peppers
1 cup frozen berries
7. Pre & probiotics:
Probiotics or “good” bacteria, can be ingested through foods or supplements, to colonize in the gut and crowd out the “bad” bacteria that would otherwise cause illness & infection. Increasing good bacteria has been shown to help treat inflammation, reflux, diarrhea, aid in digestion/cardiovascular function & even cancer prevention. Prebiotics are food for the probiotics. Without the proper food, it’s difficult for probiotics to survive.
Probiotics: fermented veggies like Kimchi and Sauerkraut, Yogurt & Kefir (Top quality brands: Siggi’s, Fage, Stony Field Organic, Lifeway Kefir), Kombocha, certain cheeses that have NOT been heated (Gouda, cheddar, blue cheese), probiotic supplements (When choosing, look for a label that clearly outlines the type of bacteria, the product's shelf life, the number of bacteria, storage instructions.
Prebiotics: Jicama, bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, beetroot, fennel, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, soybeans, chickpeas, & whole grains
* If you are taking medication or have an underlying condition, ask your doctor or dietitian before starting a supplement regimen. Pharmaceutical grade supplements can be recommended during client consultations.